I've been feeling kind of....something lately.
I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was. It seemed to be a combination of things, really. Winter means too many cold days inside. Which means lots of time for the kids to trash the house, and little time for me to clean it. Which means I start to go a little batty.
And then I start to look around.
At the mess. The one I just cleaned. At least, I thought I did. And the socks. The ones I just matched. At least, I think I did. And the toilet. The one I just scrubbed. Well, OK, maybe I was wrong about that one.
Tired of looking at the mess, I look in the mirror instead. What is wrong with these pants that they shrink every January?
Did I mention that our Christmas lights are still up?
It's now February. Another month and I think people will stop expecting us to take them down. They'll just start referring to us as "Those people on the corner".
So then I start thinking about how my housekeeping is clearly not good enough. And neither is my sock matching. And my toilet scrubbing...well, let's not even talk about that.
My Christmas undecorating skills are obviously lacking. And those pants...well, it's clear to me now that even my shopping skills could use some work. Why do I keep buying the same pants if they shrink every single winter?
In short, none of it is good enough.
This isn't just me, though. As it happens, I've talked to lots of moms who aren't good enough. Their houses are too dirty. Their children are too loud. Their laundry is too piled up. And somehow, it's all their fault.
Ladies, I think it's time we took a page from the men's handbook.
Don't get nervous. I don't mean that we should start scratching any part of our body we feel like scratching, in public, while burping loudly and spitting out the car window.
I mean that we need to stop aspiring to perfection, and start settling for good enough.
I have to admit. For the most part, I tend to be OK with good enough.
(Mainly because I know I'm not good enough to be a perfectionist).
For a time, I can accept the piles of laundry, and the mismatched socks, and even the shrinking pants.
Until I can't anymore.
But when I can't take it anymore, I really can't take it anymore.
I tell myself that I stink at housekeeping, and sock matching, and toilet scrubbing.
I mean, I can't even keep my pants from shrinking.
But at least I'm not the only one who feels this way. So we women listen to each other, and we commiserate, and we support each other.
But when it comes down to it, we don't really help each other. In fact, we often do the exact opposite, because when we invite other women to our house, we clean it first. We scrub the toilets. We put the laundry away. Maybe we even match the socks.
All the while looking at the clock, wondering why in the world we ever invite people over anyway.
And then we do the worst thing of all. We suck it in, and put on our incredibly shrinking pants, pretending that they didn't shrink at all. And then our friends arrive, and we remember why we invited them over.
Because we love them. And they keep us sane. And they make us laugh.
Except that we can't really laugh.
Because our incredibly shrinking pants are incredibly, unbelievably tight.
But what do you think men do before they have another guy come over?
They don't scrub the toilets. They don't match the socks. They don't even care that they haven't taken the Christmas lights down in time for the Super Bowl.
They put on pants.
And here, ladies, is our lesson.
So let's just stop.
Let's stop trying to be perfect. Let's stop telling ourselves there must be something wrong with us that we can't achieve it.
Let's stop driving ourselves insane.
And let's start aiming for good enough.
And please, let's stop pretending that the incredibly shrinking pants didn't shrink.
So next time you come over, forgive me if I sweep the crumbs off the counter instead of scrubbing it.
It's good enough.
And you might notice that my kids' socks are mismatched.
They're good enough.
And if you look closely, you may notice that the comforter was thrown hastily over the bed, with the sheet in a ball underneath it.
My kids are happy. And fed. And mostly dressed.
That other stuff?
I'm working on reminding myself how little it really matters.
The way it is is good enough.
The same goes for me.
And for you.