Moms are always trying to tell themselves that good enough is good enough, but deep down, most of us don’t really believe it.
I’ve found in my years on this planet that many women have a tendency to be harder on themselves than they’d ever be on any other human, animal … mineral? It seems we know what we're capable of when we're at our best, and anything short of that isn't good enough.
That's why mothers are so interested in finding balance, because we want to learn how to feel happy and fulfilled, to stop expecting so much from ourselves, to understand (to believe) that we can't do it all. We want to feel good about “good enough.”
I get why we need a healthy way to look at life and parenting ... we have a ton of responsibilities and roles and demands. I could fill every waking minute doing something necessary, whether it be for my home, my kids, my marriage, my job, my life or my world. However, when I'm not accomplishing something, which is more often than I'd like to admit, I blame me. I can't rationalize it with balance or the “good enough” argument.
I tried, but I couldn't. I tried to be OK with taking time for me, with allowing myself to be good enough, but it just didn't work. A little voice in my head would remind me that the people who do great things are the ones who don't accept "good enough."
In my world, “balance” is a dirty word.
To me, "balance" has become this term that represent homogenizing your life. It implies you've settled for being happy with giving 50% across the board, nothing more than equally mediocre at the roles above. I know, it's supposed to be healthier and freeing to have balance, but I'd rather strive to be that superwoman and fall short, than not attempt to be her at all.
As a mother, wife, writer, marketer, housekeeper, cook, dog walker, nurse, decorator, puke-cleaner-upper, friend, litter box cleaner, secretary, chauffeur, daughter, team mom, cheerleader - I find myself making choices every single moment of the day. A - does the dog get a walk? Or B - do I let him out in the yard and get to shave my legs in the shower? A - do I snuggle when I put my kids to bed or do I get some writing done? Or B - do my kids get a home cooked meal or do they order pizza with Dad while I (dare I say) have dinner with a friend? A - do we bond over a board game? Or B - veg in front of the Biggest Loser?
The answer is C: all of the above. I choose all of them.
See, I feel I should be able to do it all and not choose between A and B. I know, I will always fall short (in my own eyes) by choosing C, but I choose it anyway. If I'm being the best mom I can be, I probably can't be the best wife or writer or daughter or friend, but it won't stop me from trying.
I read what other people write about balance, expectations, happiness and giving themselves a reprieve and it all sounds hunky dory, inspirational even. Sometimes, it makes perfect sense, I feel changed, enlightened, ready to be easier on me... until I do something unforgivable, like mindlessly play Word With Friends for an hour - and when I’m done I feel ashamed.
I could've spent that hour reading, or cleaning, or working, or connecting with the hubs, or learning to cook shrimp scampi on YouTube, or making tomorrow's lunches, or checking all the pens in the house for ink (anything remotely productive). Balance attempted, reprieve denied.
I realize my self criticism may seem insane to some, but I bet many of you know exactly where I'm coming from. And frankly, I'm tired of the normal how to be happy fare anyway. Find your inner peace, put everything into perspective, stop expecting so much of yourself, shed the superwoman complex, let the guilt go...
I've given up on trying to find balance, because I know no matter how compelling the argument is, I will continue to second guess the choices I make, and I will also continue to hold myself to a higher standard.
I’m not saying I’ve found the answer to the whole self-acceptance thing. I haven’t. I’ve only realized that for me, the idea of accepting good enough isn’t good enough. I can only hope that traits that make the concept of balance so off putting to some people, myself included, are the same traits that lead us to do great things.
Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog, is the humorist behind the award winning, The Suburban Jungle.com. Join her … and the INSANITY on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.