With seven children there is no way I can attempt to be a perfectionist, in any area, which is a blessing in and of itself. Over the years I’ve learned something about doing your best, smiling when it works, and laughing when it doesn’t. And mainly that’s because I’ve learned to be a B+ person.
I’m not talking about being a B+ in vital things like fidelity in marriage or honesty in transactions, etc. But definitely things like, how nicely the children fold the towels; or how manicured my lawn isn’t; or how beautifully my chicken pot pie did or didn’t turn out for the community function.
Years ago, this great quote from The Challenging Child author Stanley Greenspan simplified the situation:
“For the first time in [parents’] lives, they face a situation where it is suddenly impossible to get an A or A+ in every subject at home AND on the job…Yet if a parent is to be fair to everyone, and not end up neglecting either children, spouse, or employer, she may have to consciously strive to do only a good-enough job. In real life, being a healthy nurturing parent to our children sometimes means that, depending on family and work circumstances, you may have to deliberately stop short of your best in order to ensure that your spouse and children get their fair share.”
A good-enough job.
As mothers, that will more often than not be our final happy place, and one that we can feel good about. When we are caring for so many so frequently—children, spouse, extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.—not doing it perfectly means we’re likely doing it very well, and enjoying the process.
So celebrate your good-enough self and your B+ side this week. If you’re doing your best and meet with less than stellar results, say, “That’s okay,” or “It will have to do,” or my favorite, “Oh well.” Laugh a little, smile a lot and pick it up again tomorrow.