Most days when I wake up, my list is far longer than what I’ll have time for in the next 24 hours. I know you can relate. There’s always something else we need to do, want to do, have to do, meant to do…and it never seems possible to check everything off before adding a whole host of new to-dos to the pile.
For the most part, I’m motivated by tasks and the prospect of crossing them off. As someone with a perfectionist-type personality, nothing feels better than seeing the check marks down the line or crumpling up a completed list to toss in the trash. When I’ve crossed something off, it’s only because it’s completely finished–no half-done chores for this girl. That is, up until a year or so ago. It only took me the better part of 28 years on this earth and several years in the workforce to figure out how to best manage my time, to “multitask” (if that’s truly possible), and to plot out a course of action that would leave me satisfied with my movement forward at the end of the day.
Not even just mommyhood, if I’m being realistic, but pregnancy and being a vessel for a tiny human being…then growing into a blimpish sort of shape that only felt more and more surreal until…experiencing the most physically challenging feat of my life (though I loved it!) and then suddenly becoming a parent (to a tiny and loud and needy little person who demanded all of my attention at every hour of every day for a good number of months). And then there was the whole part about being overjoyed and overwhelmed by nearly every nuance life had to offer for a while, until things started to adjust back to a new normal–you know, the one where work was suddenly home and home was suddenly work and I never had to put on makeup or nice clothes if I didn’t want to (but I wanted to!), because there was really nowhere I needed to go. Then, living room walls and time cuddled on the couch with our precious bundle started to close in on me a little bit, because they were mostly all I saw and did for those first few weeks (months) as a new mom and THAT was overwhelming in a different way.
Did I even keep lists at this point? I’m trying to remember. And yet I recall so very little. Thank goodness I blogged so much in the wee hours then :)
So where does that leave me now, this much further on down the road? With an amazing almost-one year old, a life that has settled into itself (in some ways) over the past number of months, and a bajillion lists that I’m trying to cross off and accomplish and achieve because I feel so much like myself again after all this time and this is what I do. Or is it?
Turns out, life right now isn’t nearly as much about lists and all as it is about being present in the moment, about being “mama” when Henry needs me, about being a wife who can listen and a homemaker who manages to keep things mostly tidy (but sometimes, not as much as I’d like). There are one hundred and one to-do’s in my head as I write this, and none of them are on paper. I’m trying to admit to myself that writing them down would be a little easier (because my memory is not 100% of what it was pre-munchkin), but in my mind, writing them down commits me to them–and that’s a whole different stress altogether.
My grand conclusion? I continue to need to work on my ability to be ok with GOOD ENOUGH. For me–and perhaps some of you, it’s an art that I’m nowhere near perfecting. Good enough feels like settling…because it is. But settling, when it brings peace or calm or less heartburn, is actually a good thing, right? I’m just still working on embracing that fact.
Someone is having a birthday next week, and with it, I’m feeling the need/responsibility/burning desire to celebrate him in the grandest way possible, as any mama does when her baby turns one. No doubt it will be a day surrounded by people who love him and who can hardly believe a year has gone by because they’ve watched him change and grow right alongside me. And certainly, the party we’re throwing will be full of fun things and cake and good food and such, but the details in between might just have to be…whatever they are by then. This admittance doesn’t mean I’ll be trying less over the next week to prepare, but it does mean that I’ll be making the effort to ease the stress that undoubtedly could accompany such an undertaking for someone like me.
I’ll be taking a few more deep breaths, that’s for sure. And working hard to keep the right amount of perspective in the mix as I go: Henry will only remember how we loved him in this season–not how perfect or imperfect the celebration of a certain birthday turned out to be.
Oh, the art of good enough. I’m chasing after you…just as soon as I jot you down on my list ;)
p.s. Stay tuned! Birthday details are underway, and this space is gonna fill up with them if I can help it!