Frankly, I’m not a fan of who I am when I’m stressed.
Pushy, bossy, short, distant, run-you-over-to-get-the-job-done kinda crazy-focused… Even when I have the best of intentions; those to create a perfect memory, a perfect day, a perfect meal, a perfect trip, a perfect photo, a perfectly tidy home… I’ve finally realized that no one is happier because of the perfection I’m trying to create. If anything, we’re all left a little more frazzled and less connected!
As women, especially moms, we seem hardwired to try and meet everyone’s needs and expectations, often at the expense of meeting our own, missing out on what truly means the most to us.
On top of that, living in constant perfection mode puts us in a state of adrenaline that’s definitely not good for anyone working on getting healthy!
When I think how silly our pursuit of perfection often is, I think of this scenario that happens all too often:
You’re having a rare, truly special family moment. Everyone’s happy and laughing and enjoying themselves. Then you decide you want to capture the moment. So you ask the kids to squeeze in for a pic, and smile. But as kids do, they get distracted and it’s practically impossible to get THAT picture! So you get irritated, you lose your cool, telling them “I can never get a decent picture! “. Your outburst catches their attention for a second so they give you a forced fake smile. Not exactly what you were going for so you call it quits and go back to what you were doing only to realize the mood has changed. The moment you were so enjoying has passed. The memory tainted almost by your freak out. And for what? To get A perfect picture of a fake “perfect” moment only to lose the real perfect moment.
This is something I’m working on.
“Good IS good enough!”
My biggest lessons as of lately, and now daily intention, is being more present and less “perfect” in all that I do.
I’m proud to say that my latest go-to motto is “Good, is good enough”. These simple little words have given me so much freedom. Freedom to be imperfect, freedom to let go of the fear of being criticized or compared, freedom to let go of the little things, the things that don’t really matter and allows more time for those things that do. I now proudly say, without fear of judgment, that I work every day to do what makes me happy, with very few exceptions, without concern of what others think. As a mom & a wife, I now know this is the most unselfish thing I can do. A big part of that means that instead of being the household manager and planner/facilitator of all things for my family, I now get to be PRESENT and enjoy the little moments.
A huge learning moment for me was when I asked Ellie, my then 4 year old, one Saturday morning “What do you want to do today, where do you want to go?” I expected to hear something like: “Let’s go to Timmy’s for breakfast and then go to the market and play at the park.” Instead, what I got was “I just want to stay home and play with mommy and daddy”. This really caught me off-guard. Weekends were always a time for us to do special, memorable, “Instagram-worthy” things together as a family. Hanging around the house would in no way fit the bill. It would almost be like a wasted weekend in my mind. A weekend that wasn’t lived.
But what my 4 year old taught me that day is that happiness is simple. It doesn’t involve fuss, rush or stress. What she wanted was simply ME! Present, attentive, playful and connected. Not the crazy mom who tries to create perfect memories by getting them dressed just so, racing against the clock to do a bunch of activities with them only to rush home and get them fed and in bed for naps, only then to collapse of exhaustion and stress. I’m learning to unwind, let go, enjoy a slower pace. A pace where I have time for snuggles, playing snakes and ladders, and dance parties to some Elvis classics before we break for a late lazy morning brunch of waffles and watching My Little Pony. We do a lot less now but the time we spend together is much sweeter, more memorable and I’m so much more happy for it, and so are the kids.
An amazing book that inspired a lot of this reflection for me was Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist! In the book, she talks about the importance of slowing down, tuning in to what’s truly important to you, stripping away the outside noise & distraction, and concentrating on/prioritizing the things that are at the core of what’s important to you and your happiness. It’s about tuning into yourself, your needs and meaningfully connecting. And also staying away from doing things that aren’t important. Learning to NOT say YES when you really mean NO. Not for the sake of appearances, what others think, feel or expect of you either.
This has been such a life-giving revelation to me. And with that, I realize that the greatest gift I can give to myself, my family and the world really, is to work on making ME happy! It’s truly the only thing I actually have power over. Only I can make me happy. Just like only you can make you happy. And if we focused less on doing what makes others happy and more on pursuing our own happiness, following our pull, we’d all be in a better place and be better people and parents for it.
As women, we take on so much! And if on top of all the stresses, you’re also struggling with your health, making changes to slow down and working on your happiness can be key to healing. I know it was for me.
And if you’re looking to get healthy, you’ll love my freebie that I created with easy tips to help you get started! You can grab your copy of my Starter Sticky Note below.
Finally, if this post has helped you in any way, my hope is that you share it, so other mamas struggling out there may also find the relief that comes with realizing that being present, instead of perfect, is the path to happiness & health.
Happy Healing 🙂