22 March 2010

Sometimes "Good Enough" Is Good Enough

Before I had my little girl, I compiled a mental list of parenting practices that I would never partake in. They included:

    * Never using the TV or movies as a babysitter.
    * Eating mostly organic foods.
    * Making sure my daughter did not exist on a diet of chicken nuggets, mac n' cheese, and hot dogs.
    * Not resorting to bribery to get her to do something.
    * Using positive parenting practices.

Then, I had my daughter. One by one, my vision of being a paragon of parenting virtue shattered:

    * When I'm desperate for adult conversation during dinner, I've been know to pop in a Clifford The Big Red Dog DVD for her to watch while I chat with my husband and friends.
    * Organic-only was breaking my budget, so I do some organic and some "regular" food.
    * We always have an industrial-sized box of chicken nuggets in the freezer, hot dogs in the fridge, and mac n' cheese in the cupboard.
    * She's getting a fabulous present if and when she gives up her paci.
    * Calmly saying, "oranges are not for throwing" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily as shrieking, "Stop it right now! Don't throw! What are you thinking!?"

I used to beat myself up over this stuff, especially when I heard about parents who only allow 30 minutes of TV a week, or families who assiduously research preschools and their curriculum (I signed up for the preschool with the open spot -- sight unseen). But then I spoke with my therapist about it, and she uttered five words that have become my mantra: Sometimes "good enough" is okay.

The tension in my shoulders melted. Really? Good enough? Not perfect? Not 100% all the time? The  more I considered this approach, the more it made sense. I could be tensed and stressed about making dinner, proper discipline, and having a clean condo, or, I could let go of my expectations, relax, and probably be a happier mama and a more enjoyable companion for my husband.

We're all pulled in so many directions each day with demands from spouses/partners, children, work,  family, and friends, is it really necessary to judge ourselves so harshly?  I don't think so.

This is an original DC Metro Moms post. EvonneY also blogs about navigating the fine balance between self, mother, and wife at Arlington Mama. PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbowen/ / CC BY 2.0


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