I have to be a short cut mom. I have five busy kids, I work full-time from my home, I teach fitness classes, my husband travels every week for work, we both serve at our church… I guess it might look like an impressive list. Still, I know some of you out there are thinking, “I could totally top that!” You are the reason the phrase, “I don’t know how you do it all.” was invented.
When a friend who had 3 children but was contemplating whether to have more asked me, “How do you do it all?” I didn’t have any genius answer for her. I just laughed and said, “I don’t know.” She continued, “I’m mean, I can’t imagine making 6 beds every morning and folding and putting away clothes for 7 people.” Then I understood. She assumed that I truly “did it all.” I didn’t have any problem setting the record straight.
“I’ll tell you how I do it all… I don’t!! I don’t make my kids beds for them, I don’t always fold their laundry. I could do all that if that is how I wanted to spend almost ALL of my time, but I choose not to.”
Her eyes got big as if it never occurred to her that she could cut corners like that. “So, there are some things that you just decide to let go of?”
My reply…”You pretty much HAVE to if you want anything other than, Here Lies a Good Housekeeper, on your gravestone.”
I told her about the time I decided I was going to be a “good mom” and keep the house completely clean and have homemade dinners on the table every day. It lasted 1 week, maybe less than that. I felt like all I did the entire week was cook, clean, and sleep. Yes, it was nice to have a clean house and meals every night but the tradeoff wasn’t worth it. I wanted to accomplish more than keeping a clean house.
Now, it’s not like I let everything go to pot but I had to decide what I could let go of and still feel like I was doing alright. I had to find my “good mom sweet spot.” A sink deep enough to hide dishes in it and at least one clean bathroom for guests may not be someone else’s idea of ideal, but if it was acceptable to me.. then it was MY”perfect.”
Admittedly it took practice to become happy and guilt-free with my perfect imperfectness. Thankfully, I learned a lot of my short-cuts from other moms. At first I would start judging when I would observe a mom take a short cut I never thought of, but in the next moment I would realize how smart she was. Seeing other moms let go gave me permission to not have such high and unrealistic expectations for myself.
Oh the freedom! If I accomplish nothing else by writing this I hope it gives you permission to give yourself a little break and realize that a perfect mom is one who knows what doesn’t need to be perfect and feels no guilt about it!
I didn’t quite confess all my shortcuts to my friend because I didn’t know if her heart could take much more. But since you can gasp as you read this and I’ll never know; I’ll go ahead and tell you.
Have I confessed too much? Is your heart ok, or are you thinking of short cuts I’ve totally missed? My list could go on a lot more but there are some secrets I must keep. My work isn’t done if you haven’t decided that there are some things you can let go of.
Is there something that causes you guilt?
Is there something you only do or care about because of someone else?
Do you HAVE to go to bed with an empty sink because that is how your mom did it, or you have a friend that “always” has her daughter’s hair in the cutest Pinterest up-dos and you should be a better mom like her? Are there things that cause you stress and frustration and if you REALLY thought about it, you don’t TRULY care about them? Or maybe caring about them isn’t worth the cost?
I can’t tell you how joyful and liberating being a short cut mom can be! Now, If you truly love all that stuff that I love taking short cuts on, by all means keep doing it!!! More power to ya, and I raise my broom to you! But if you have a bad day or life throws you a curve ball don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet some imaginary Facebook/Pinterest standard. Life is more forgiving than you might think:)
Every now and then I look around at my mostly kinda clean, imperfect but perfect for me house and start going down the “I should do better road.” When I do that I think of something someone told me once. It was a friend who stopped by my new house and wanted a little tour. I had to warn her that the boys’ domain would be a mess. I found myself getting a little nervous and making excuses and her reply was, “Oh, Amber, you have way to much talent to be spending your time cleaning boys’ bedrooms.”
Why yes, yes I do! And so do YOU! Short cut moms unite and lets start being proud of our perfect imperfectness!
I know, I just did a post about the best mom in the world. I…16 May 2017