I forgot it was Who Hair Day at school during Dr. Seuss week. I only remembered when I saw the little girl down the street, when she came over to play with the kids after school. She had a really cute and wacky up-do. And then, in that moment, I remembered. I felt sick to my stomach. I called Garret at work in a panic. “OMG, I forgot it was Who Hair Day today!!”. He said “They didn’t care”. The kids knew it was who hair day, they didn’t want to do it. I was speechless.
Here I was, going into a full-blown freak out mommy meltdown because I missed a “special” day. A day they didn’t care about. I can laugh about this now, but it got me thinking…..
How often do we put additional pressure on ourselves to remember everything? Why do we think we have to do it all? And what are the consequences of trying to be perfect? Who are we really doing it for? And, why do we continue to do this to ourselves?
This week they had Rock Star Day at school. And again, I completely forgot about it until I woke up that morning.
There we were, digging through the clean (but still not folded) clothes in the laundry basket, searching for an outfit. Then, I felt it again. That little twinge that says “you suck at this”, “you almost forgot again”, “you really need to do better”, “why aren’t these clothes folded?”. At 6:00 AM I managed to pull together a super cute rock star outfit for one of our two kids. The other one could care less.
After the dust settled, and the kids got on the bus, I sat for a moment to reflect on what just happened again. Somewhere, underneath all of this, is the thought that I’m going to mess up. That I am messing up. I keep forgetting about these “special” little days, and I’m making it mean something. Am I really going to screw my kids up because I missed Who Hair Day? Am I a bad mom because I almost forgot Rock Star Day? Do I suck because the laundry isn’t folded? The answer to all of these questions is NO.
Here’s the deal, I am a good mom. No, I am a great mom. I love my kids with all my heart. Missing Who Hair Day does not define me as a parent, or as a person. Having clean, unfolded laundry sitting in a basket does not mean that I suck. It simply means we are living life and haven’t folded laundry yet, that’s all. It means we have a lot going on, and forgot to write these “special” days in the calendar. That’s it. We are human. Shit happens.
The real issue is within me, this idea that it needs to be perfect. That I should be perfect. The thought that I should be able to do it all, and do it seamlessly. Where does this come from?
Trying to be perfect at anything doesn’t work. It doesn’t work when you’re trying to diet. It doesn’t work at your job. It doesn’t work in marriage. And, it definitely doesn’t work when trying to parent. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing. It’s an illusion. Those of us who try to achieve something that doesn’t exist, find ourselves screwed….all of the time. We only hurt ourselves by trying to live up to imaginary standards.
I am not perfect. It’s taken me a long time to be okay with that. I am learning that I don’t want to be perfect. There’s way too much pressure trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. Besides, there is valuable wisdom to be learned from my mistakes.
So, let’s cut ourselves some slack today. Give yourself a round of applause for all the things you do. I’ll be doing the same.
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