It’s no shock if you’ve been following along for a while or if you know me…I like organization. I like things in their place, events planned down to the minute and tidy surroundings. It’s just a part of my life that brought either joy or anxiety…
…Until I failed.
You see, I listened to everyone’s warnings about not getting too attached to a birth plan. Although it annoyed me, I got it. It made sense to me. There are so many variables with birth. Too many options, room for changes. If one little thing changed it could turn the whole experience around. My mind wrapped around that and I wrote down a few things I preferred to happen, but kept myself open to any and all possibilities.
I didn’t do the same with the expectations of myself as a mother. My own expectations. I wanted to do everything the way I thought was best. That’s fine and all, but I set my bar very high. I didn’t listen when other new moms talked about how hard it was. I was going to be different.
It lasted a few years.
I was able to check breastfeeding my kids off my list. I made my own pureed baby food. I had a system to plan weekly meals, buy groceries, and keep up with the laundry and weekly house cleaning. I made completely homemade meals each night. I even printed pictures each month to keep up with the hundreds I took each day. I had goals. I thought I had it all figured out.
I had a lot to learn.
This thing happened. They got older. They got older and started sports and swim lessons and school and going out with friends more. They started playing harder, making bigger messes, needing me less, yet more. I started volunteering to help at school and other areas. My mom plan suddenly wasn’t running so smoothly. I couldn’t keep up. I was physically, emotionally, mentally drained and I wasn’t helping anyone like that.
For a long time I felt defeated. I felt like I failed. Laundry piled up, unwashed. Dirty dishes stayed in the sink. Toys were all over the floor. The bathrooms need a good cleaning. The thing is, I wasn’t home much anymore. When I was home, I was usually exhausted, but still trying to keep going. I felt like it was my only job, why couldn’t I get a handle on it? It just wasn’t working.
Ashamed, I finally talked to my husband about my (self- perceived) failure.
His quick, easy, immediate response? Don’t do it all. Do what matters. Simple. If it comes down to spend quality time with the kids vs. anything else, kids win. Every single time. I had to change my mom plan. I had to change my mindset. I was trying to do it all and in doing so, that made everything I did harder and made me spread so thin I was breaking under the pressure.
It’s hard to admit this. I wanted to be the mom who could do it all and still come out looking fabulous, but I’m just not. You know what though? I’m so glad.
I’m glad because now instead of rushing through dinner to start cleaning up, I’m sitting at the table with my family, talking and laughing and seeing their funny orange peel smiles. Instead of folding towels I’m having tickle wars. Instead of picking up toys just to have a clean floor, we’re actually playing with them. Instead of spending an hour cooking every night, sometimes we stay outside longer and have cereal picnics in the backyard…and it’s ok.
It’s ok to let go of a plan. It’s ok to admit something didn’t work. It’s ok to let things go. They’re not going to remember a spotless kitchen table. Right now they don’t care if the towels are folded just right or if we have every food group on the plate each night. They will think of the fun, the experiences, the laughter. That’s what I want for them…and me.
I’m so glad my plan failed because when I’m older and thinking back to these precious days, I want to see all the messy chaos and sticky handprints and popsicle faces. I want to remember their eyes looking into mine with smiles. I want to remember them running and chasing bubbles or fireflies.
The stuff. Life. It gets done. It always gets done. It may not be as often or as thorough. A text might not get an immediate response, a family sock sorting party might need to happen, a few take out meals ordered now and then, but it’s always ok.
If you’re struggling or your mom plan isn’t going quite like you imagined…learn from my “failure”.
Don’t do it all… just do what matters. ♥️