I remember back to the days of being a new mom.
Even though I had months to prepare, it still all came as a shock. I think I was in denial at the end – even though Mister Man was born two days late, I still hadn’t packed a hospital bag when it was time to go. I refused to admit I was in labor for the first six or so hours.
I will admit to sending my husband back to our house three times to bring back just the right outfit for Mister Man to wear home. I hovered over the Pack and Play, unable to eat the lunch that had been ordered for me, when he first came home.
The second I heard or felt anything that resembled the need for a diaper change, I hustled over there. I think I went through over thirty diapers that first day. And seven outfits. That perfect outfit to bring him home in didn’t last long. He spit up on it. Or maybe he just drooled on it, I forget which.
That pattern continued the second day we were home, which was difficult for me. Because I’d had to have a C-section, I wasn’t allowed to climb stairs more than once a day. I ran out of outfits rather quickly that second day and had to ask my in-laws to fetch me more.
I’m pretty sure I did three to four loads of laundry a day that first week, hoping against hope that nothing would stain. I went through more bibs in a futile effort to help the outfits last just a little longer. I was driving myself insane.
And I was quickly miserable.
I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep his outfits clean. I would change a diaper only to have another dirty one within a matter of moments. It was a Sisyphean task, and I was way down near the bottom of the hill, miserable and frustrated.
It took a full week, maybe a little longer, because I decided that maybe there was a better way – for me. Maybe I didn’t need to have him perfectly clean at every moment of the day for both of us to be happy.
Slowly, I learned to give him a few minutes before changing the diaper – and I stopped going through five or more diapers an hour. The outfits? I started changing them only when they were egregiously dirty – something that would bring him discomfort, rather than focusing on presenting him as the perfect baby.
And wow did my stress level go down. It was the perfect scenario for all of us. I didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to be good enough for us. And you know what? I was.
That isn’t to say I won the war that day. I still struggle with maintaining happiness with finding what’s good enough for us – and me. It’s hard for me to not aim for perfect, something my mother always pushed me towards and aimed for herself. Rationally, I know I can’t be everything to everyone, but emotionally, it’s hard to let go.
So what’s good enough in your life?
In the interest of full disclosure, this post was inspired by the book “Good Enough Is the New Perfect” by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple as part of From Left to Write, a book club where we write posts inspired by books rather than book reviews. I received a copy of the book to enable my participation in the book club, but there was no compensation involved, and all opinions expressed are my own.
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