I went to a movie last night. I love movies. But since the trio arrived, I rarely get to see them. This year I’ve only seen two (so sad)…….so, last night, after Bray got home, I went to see a movie I had really wanted to see even though critics trashed it.
In one scene, in this movie about a frenzied working mom, the husband and wife were fighting. She’d been running late from work and he had to go to a business meeting, so he called a last minute babysitter who fell asleep watching the kids. The wife was furious. The husband was too. And during the course of the fight, the husband said, “sometimes okay is good enough.” No, the situation wasn’t perfect. But it was okay. Everyone survived the snafu.
The statement really struck me. I am a competitive person, and the person I’m the most competitive with is myself. I’m always competing against the impossible standard of what I “should” do or be as a mother and wife and attorney. I’ve dreamed up what the perfect picture should be and I constantly fail. No matter how hard I work, I can’t achieve this unrealistic goal. However, my competitive nature tells me if I just tried harder and slept less and did more then I could meet it. Eventually. And the real failure would be to stop trying to achieve that goal.
We women are terrible at this. Somehow, somewhere, we get an individualized notion of what perfect is and often feel horribly off the mark. One of the things I’ve been beating myself up about lately is cooking. I actually love to cook. I have no time. I throw something together for the kids when I get home but Bray and I often dine on cereal or watermelon or wine and crackers. It’s pretty pitiful. I know LOTS of other moms who cook. Lovely beautiful healthful dinners for their family whom they clearly love more than I love mine OR I WOULD FIND TIME TO COOK DINNER! I’m working on it. My friend is making me a crock pot set of recipes to help me out. But I feel like a failure. I also hate my figure. I’m not naturally a lean person. I have to work my tail off and eat like a mouse to get fit. And I did that from last September to this June and then I took a break. I was exhausted from 5 am boot camps and spinach salads with grilled salmon. So I took a few months off boot camp. And I ate cupcakes and pizza and chicken enchiladas (these are the most delicious foods, it is hideous that they are so full of calories). And I’ve gained 10 pounds. (Truthfully, it’s more like 12. In three months.) I get so exhausted from all the working out and watching everything I eat, but I know if I want to be a fit mom and wife then that’s the only recipe that works. It’s dispiriting.
But what if okay was good enough sometimes? What if I don’t cook dinner every night but cook it a couple times a week? What if I’m permanently one size bigger than I want to be? What if I can’t be the kids’ room mom because I can’t juggle it and work? What if I buy fruit already cut up at the store instead of creating my own display for their Halloween party? What if the counter has mail on it? What if okay was, well, okay?
Would I be less stressed? Would I be a happier mom? And easier wife? In this same movie I mentioned, the husband remarked one time out of frustration, Things are never quiet, they’re never still. We don’t ever just sit and talk. You never laugh at my jokes. Everything is so rushed.
Do you have that house? I do. I know that frenzied energy can be tough on my kids, on my husband. What if I temporarily stopped making lists I can never complete? What if I removed that idealized notion of a wife and mother and attorney and put in its place a realistic model, a wonderful model, but an achievable one? Let me encourage you, if you struggle with competing against perfection like I do, to join me in loosening our standards just a smidgen so that everyone enjoys life and home more.
Luke 10 – “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Matthew 11 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 127 – Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.