(Carter, 1 week old)Call me crazy, but I want to be perfect.
I want to keep my house perfectly clean and picked up- organized to a fault, of course.
I want to put healthy and nutritious meals on the table for my family, tempting even Addison's picky appetite.
I want to always keep up with the laundry and have fresh smelling, folded clothes arranged neatly in the appropriate drawers.
I want to get up every two to three hours to nurse my newborn and not feel the lack of sleep.
I want to be able to entertain and stimulate Addison appropriately every minute of the day- and be present for every second of her many therapy appointments.
I want to cuddle my son and speak soothingly when his dark eyes widen in terror at the sight of his sister.
But truth be told- I fail at that list. Constantly.
There's nothing like having a brand new baby to remind you how exactly imperfect you are. You picture the ads from the 50s of the housewife dressed to the nines, vacuuming her floor while simultaneously rocking her baby to sleep and cooking a five course meal (OK, maybe that's not an ad, but it's the general concept). Todays "50s ad" is the blogs. Do you realize how easy it is for some blogs to always picture their lives as perfect? their children dressed to a fault in the latest fashion, sitting neatly in a row while working on various crafts to boost their intelligence level. Nothing is ever out of place- everything is perfect. Blogs can be so deceiving- showing only the slice of life that the writer chooses to share.
This week I have been striving for my version of perfection, working diligently during the blessed time that the kids are asleep to fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, wipe down the bathroom, vacuum up the worst spots- housewife survival. But today, the lack of sleep was just catching up with me, and while Grandma had Addison and Carter was fast asleep, I ignored the disaster that needed my attention and took a long, leisurely nap.
Ah, a nap. A nap to a mom with a newborn is like a tall glass of cool water to someone stranded in the desert-after consuming too much salt and hiking 6 miles in the heat.
I enjoyed my nap appropriately and then arose when Addison was back and Carter cried to be fed. I nursed Carter while Addison watched signing time in her crib and relished in feeling somewhat well rested for the first time all week.
I took Carter into the living room, placed him in his swing, went to retrieve Addison, warmed up a cup of coffee and was about to collapse back on the couch and watch Addison play- just enjoying my children. Still wearing my hot pink pajama pants and looking exactly like someone who had been kept awake all night, I was surrounded by overwhelming clutter and an unvacuumed floor. You can imagine my surprise when I saw a wonderful couple from church standing on my front porch with a meal for us.
I vaguely remembered emailing that they could drop it by any time (right after I forgot a chiropractor appointment and received a phone call from a therapist that I forgot to call back) and I blushed as I looked around at my house and invited them in as graciously as possible.
My imperfection was now on display.
As they put the delicious looking meal in my kitchen, crumbs lined the countertops, empty pop cans sat on the butcher block, a bag of breast milk storage containers had been liberally spread across the floor by Addison, 10 bottles sat by the sink that I had retrieved from under Addison's crib that morning....
I was embarrassed. Clearly I was a failure.
After a nice visit, they left, and I tried to sort out why this was bothering me so much.
After all, one week ago today I had a brand new baby. Both of my children were clean, dressed and fed. I had limited time and had chosen a nap over the pick up.
Why was I being so hard on myself? I know that I needed that nap to keep my sanity. Was imperfection really failure or just my reality?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that while having a new baby is challenging me past what I thought I was capable of- I will learn and grow and adapt to my new normal. I will be able to keep up with my house again soon.
But meanwhile it's OK to having a learning period. It's OK to adjust. It's OK to be imperfect. It's OK to need help from other people.
To the lady in the 50's ad with perfect hair and makeup while doing housework with one hand and cooking and mothering with the other- you are fake. You are not real. Stop making me feel inferior.
Sometimes doing the best you can is the new perfect. Nothing more. Nothing less. And you grow and learn, rising to the occasion of life.
Why is it that as moms we're so hard on ourselves? Why do we expect the perfection that we see on TV shows and read about in other people's blogs? That's not real perfection- it's made up, supported by television crews, millions of dollars, and advance planning to give that illusion of perfection. We're all just doing the best we can, stretching ourselves to our next level of achievement.
So here I am. Imperfect. But happy. and blessed beyond what I ever thought possible. I'm letting go of the guilt and enjoying these moments. After all, the clutter and laundry problems will always be there...but my sweet little newborn and spitfire toddler won't.
Speaking of perfection, I tried to get a good sibling shot with their "big sister" "little brother" shirts...clearly they were aiming for perfection as well...
To the couple who brought us the meal: the brownies were the most amazing brownies I have ever tasted. Clearly, every brownie rule was followed. Truly, those brownies were perfect. Thank you. (-: