Chasing Perfection

A few days ago I sat down and talked to another stay at home mom—a wild thing since both of us are usually so busy chasing our kids that talking in complete sentences seems out of the question.

We talked about being perfect and about how much pressure we feel to do everything—a little because we fear the outsider’s perception that we’re doing nothing. This mom is uber-involved in church stuff, makes cookies from scratch and ices them with three carefully blended icing colors, washes every sheet in her house weekly, wears hot boots and a scarf to the playground… The list is a mile long.

But even as she achieves more and more she feels more and more inadequate. She has difficulty looking at a Martha Stewart magazine without feeling like she’s not the housewife she should be.

I get that. I look around and see all these women doing incredible things. I see a mom making her kids’ clothes or another mom making fudge on Monday morning or still another mom in size four jeans with perfectly manicured nails and gorgeous hair, and I start beating myself up about the fact that London doesn’t have any dress shoes and I made dinner out of a bag last night and I haven’t taken a shower in two days.

Sometime after London was born I decided that I just couldn’t continue comparing myself to people. And beyond that, I couldn’t compare myself to the perfect mom in my head. I decided to stop chasing perfection and to start being me.

I have never felt more liberated.

I do not keep an immaculate house. I keep a clean house. And I feel great about it.

I do not make food for fellowship meals. I’m just not that woman. Other people are—Awesome for them. But it’s more than I can do right now.

I don’t make dinner from scratch. I do make dinner—every night we don’t have plans. And I feel excellent about that.

I’ve learned that doing as much as I can do is plenty, and that reaching beyond my grasp just hurts.

I don’t ever want to be chasing something—an ideal, an achievement, happiness… I think of Ecclesiastes, and I realize that chasing happiness is a guarantee never to have it.