I’m a different Mom to my third and fourth child than I was to my first.
With my first child, as soon as he came home from school, I would open his book bag, excited to go through his folder and see what he did that day, what informational notes the teacher sent home about what they were learning and homework for the week. I would see that in a week, he would have a Christmas tree that needed decorated, and we would have it done in 2 days. I would also have read that on Monday the kids are supposed to bring slippers to school, so I would have gone out that weekend to buy him some slippers (which I think I remember doing 5 years ago).
With my third child, I opened his book bag for the first time this Sunday evening at 9:30pm, after he had gone to bed, only to have a note reminding us to decorate the Christmas tree and bring it to school on Monday, along with a pair of slippers. I frantically ran up and searched his closet in the dark, knowing perfectly well there weren’t any slippers in there. Oh well. Maybe he will be willing to bring one of his sister’s pink slippers? I laid the blank Christmas tree paper out on the breakfast table next to the glue, scissors, and markers so he can quickly complete his Christmas tree while eating breakfast in the morning (as if I don’t have enough trouble dragging him out of bed just to get dressed in time for school).
I feel disappointed in myself. I used to be so organized. I used to always be 15 minutes early for every appointment, and now I feel like I’m always a few minutes behind. With my first child, we would read 10 books for his Kindergarten book list in 2-3 days. For my third child, it takes us a few weeks to fill up that list. It’s not that we don’t read every night. It’s just I run out of time and energy to bring the books downstairs, remember to write them on his list, then put them back upstairs where they belong. That’s not as bad as the fourth child that brought the wrong “letter” show-n-tell to his lessons all of last week thanks to me helping him pick them out.
Today I listened to one of my favorite top coach’s Youtube videos talking about how he tries so hard to do his best, but he always thought his best needed to be better. Yes! I feel like I am going at 110 percent…I feel like I am the best parent I can be… I feel like I work so hard to keep up on the kid’s homework, doctor/dentist appointments, practices, games…I feel like I give it my all to try to stay organized and keep the house clean…I feel like I give my best at work and in my businesses. Yet, I constantly am telling myself I’m not doing enough. I need to do better. My best isn’t the best it can be. My best isn’t the best it NEEDS to be.
Here’s the fine line. I think it is awesome to work on yourself. I think it is great to work on your mindset, constantly grow with your parenting skills, always strive to improve you. That isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually really good. However, we have to realize we will never be 100%. We need to be satisfied with giving our best every day, even if it is not quite as good as we want it to be. Because giving your best, and then feeling like a failure at the end of the day is not acceptable. It’s not a way we want to live. My 5 year old is loved. He gets his homework done (just maybe the morning it is due instead of a week ahead of time). He may not have slippers at school, but he has the personality that he probably will shrug it off and have fun anyway.
My third and fourth child are definitely raised differently than my first two. It may not meet my expectations, but I have to be okay with just doing the best I can with where I am in my life. Let’s learn to be proud of how we survive minute to minute, keep up on our crazy daily demands, get back up when we fall down, run in the door “just on time” instead of 15 minutes early, and how we adapt to our failures and turn them into successes (like give myself a pat on the back for checking his bag tonight instead of checking it 10 minutes before the bus comes in the morning like I usually do).