I have spent most of my motherhood feeling inadequate, wondering when I was going to ever be a "real" mom whose kids are happy and well-adjusted, whose house is always spotless, who lovingly prepares wholesome meals made with organic, all-natural ingredients, whose children gobble up those meals with smiles on their faces while thanking me for a job well done. I've held on to this idea that every day needs to be stimulating, filled with crafts and songs and stories, lots of giggles and laughter, and no tears. I've been shamed into thinking that TV will rot my children's brains and that I need to spend a minimum of 23 hours a day directly engaging them.
What was I thinking??
Somehow, recently, I've had an epiphany. I am not perfect. It's ok for my children to watch tv. In fact, our days run much more smoothly when the boys start out with a little Curious George, have some breakfast, then watch some Cat in the Hat. That's our routine. While some people would cringe at the thought of letting their children start the day with (gasp) TV, I've come to realize that in our house, we NEED to start out that way.
Also, my house is not spotless and I'm ok with that. Actually, most people who come over don't even realize it's not spotless. Has it really taken me almost seven years to see that people come over to see me and not criticize my house? I have much more important things to do than to mop my floors and scrub my toilet. While I do like to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, I've learned that only robots and people without small children keep their house spotless on a daily basis. And if their house just does happen to be spotless, I can guarantee some other part of their life is imperfect.
Here's the way I see it: I have ten "energy points" to use every day. If I expend all my points keeping my house clean (a spotless house is worth 10 points, by the way), then I don't have any left over for time with kids. If I spend 9 points in taking care of and connecting with my kids, then I only have 1 point left over for cleaning. If I spend 5 points slaving over a stove and making a delicious meal, and 3 points playing with the kids, I only have 2 points left over for a quick clean up of the kitchen.
Get it? It's all in the points. All those other moms out there have the same amount of points as I have. And we each choose to spend our points in different ways. The way we choose to spend them is based on our needs for that day, and can easily change from day to day. My point choices are no better than your point choices, and yours are no better than mine. At the end of the day, we've all used the same amount of points.
So, don't fret if your house is messy and your kids are happy. And don't fret if your kids are messy and your house is spotless. And don't fret if you forgot to do a craft with your kids today while your friend did twelve educational activities with her kids.
And if your friend does educational activities with her kids and feeds them homemade real food meals and volunteers at the homeless shelter and has a perfect house and works out five hours a day and reads interesting books, then she clearly has a maid.