Today I showed up at preschool without a Valentine’s party box.
Sure, the preschool said we only needed to bring valentine cards for the kids to distribute. I did what I was told. And I failed.
I walked to the van and my eyes welled with tears. I should have known better. How did all the other moms just know to make a box? Maybe the newsletters we missed while in Australia said to make a box but the Facebook announcement was different? My mind raced.
I knew that Olen did not care one bit. He thought he was attending a birthday party and had no idea what his clearanced Ninja Turtle cards were all about. He skipped into his classroom hoping for cake and punch, with no inkling that his mom was carrying a bag full mommy guilt. I smiled thinking about the fact that my blondey would not be hard on his mom (thank goodness this wasn’t a party for the detail-oriented firstborn- oye!).
As I processed the emotions I was feeling, I thought, “Why can’t I just be happy that he’s happy?” That I’m a good enough mom to feed him breakfast and put on his shoes and make sure he has clean clothes and signed Valentine’s Day cards. The expectation is never from the children, it’s from me.
If your struggle is against perfectionism, Motherhood will often feel like a cruel joke.
The house will never be fully clean or organized and tufts of cat hair will blow across the living room like tumbleweed.
The kids will demand every.single.toy. they see during a 60 second commercial break.
Some one will have to pee when you’re already 20 minutes late.
Your jeans may never fit correctly..and you’ll find a bill that you missed under a pile of permission slips, coupons and overdue library books.
Then, you’ll show up at the Valentine’s Party without a shoebox decorated in construction paper and glitter stickers.
I used to think that these were the things the older generation should have warned us about, but they didn’t. The guilt. The battle. The struggle.
I’ve determined why they didn’t:
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
The kids get raised and the years pass by and we all make it out in one piece (including many pieces of gray hair).
The hard stuff is over and we rest in the fact that we gave them full tummies and Bible stories and love.
We move on from wanting a clean house to a dirty one. To kids that call us on every single drama, to kids that call us once a week.
Perfectionism is the beast of motherhood. And we’ll either beat her or she’ll squash our days and our dreams and our children. We can’t make our children live under a battle of our own.
So here’s to average motherhood. To remembering that we can’t do it all and be it all. That little kids sometimes need disappointment to build character. That moms need grace. That it will all get done someday. And that, if the preschool says “no need to make a Valentine box,” don’t make one. No need to make the other moms feel bad. 😉