Why I’m Not Going to Win Any Mother of the Year Award
Well, honestly, the list would be so long and who has time for all that right now? I’ll just give you the crowning jewel moment of the week and we’ll leave it at that, OK? So Wednesday I was in back to back meetings (with some of you even, nice seeing you!). Then I made a stop at the Registry of Deeds and decided to run an errand while I was out instead of rushing back to the office. Big mistake.
As it turns out, yesterday was a half day for school or “Wacky Wednesday” as they call them. My oldest came home from school on the bus and Mother of the Year that I am not, I was not here. So the school starts calling me, but as the number was unknown and it was coming through as a work rather than personal call, I decided to let it go to voicemail.
Fortunately, the school got a hold of Bari, DGVE law’s Funding Coordinator, who then called me directly. I raced to the school feeling horrible and my daughter confirmed it for me by telling me how sad she’d been when I wasn’t home and how it was “the worst. day. ever!”
Good Enough Is the New Perfect
I’m a “good enough” type mom. Well now I am. Oh sure, I too started out wanting and damn near killing myself while trying to be perfect. I read every single parenting book out there. I researched all the baby “gear” to death. I literally wrote a treatise (a solid 10 page document) on how to properly care for my baby, (you know, the one I neglected to receive home off the school bus the other day) which I am fairly certain not one of my children’s caregivers actually read the whole way through.
I made all the baby food and mini kiddie cupcakes for preschool class parties from organic foods from scratch. We learned baby sign language. We went to classes and learned to sing songs that I could not even pretend to like, but believe me I tried! Then at some point, maybe about 3.5 years into my experience as a mother, I had a great awakening.
I realized that in trying to be perfect I was often (not always, but enough that I noticed) making myself perfectly miserable. It was around then that one of my nearest and dearest friends only half-jokingly told me that her goal as a mother was to do her best for her children so that someday she would not be their primary topic of conversation in therapy. She was my good-enough-mom inspiration.
There are days when I am the best mom in the whole wide world! I know this because my children occasionally tell me so and I trust and value their totally unbiased, worldly opinions. There are other days, this past Wednesday for example, when I’d just like a total do-over. I am confident I could be a fantastic mother, wife, friend, housekeeper, cook, lawyer, business manager, friend and still take time to take really good care of myself by eating healthfully, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly. And I am and I do! Just never all on the same day, which I’ve come to accept is good enough.
And hopefully my daughter won’t be in therapy someday talking about the time her mother forgot her half day and wasn’t home to welcome her off the school bus. I’m sure I’ll carry that mothering faux pas with me to the grave, along with all the others. For now though I’m finding tremendous solace in the book “Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood” by Hollee Schwartz Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie.
About a year ago, Hollee, interviewed me about working in a dedicated home office. Later, she interviewed me again about my path to creating DGVE law. I am proud to have been interviewed and featured briefly in this groundbreaking book. I think Becky and Hollee have done a brave thing peeling back the curtains, examining, and naming the problem that until now had no name for Gen-X professional-mamas.
This is definitely a must-read book for those of us raised on Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me, who internalized the “you can do anything you want to do” motto of the day without the cautionary realism of “just not all perfectly, all at once.” If you want to get even deeper inside my head, pay particular attention to the parts about Becky as we seem to have been separated at birth. Pick up a copy for the mama(s) in your life who have / had / are taking a break from / took a break from / have scaled back on their professional careers while raising their young children.
Wishing you and the amazing mothers in your life a very healthy, happy, blissed-out-mommy-moment-filled kind of weekend and a restful, restorative, gratitude-brimming Mothers’ Day,