I need to make dinner. But before I can do that, I need to clean off the counter, which means the piles of dishes next to the sink need to go into the sink, but wait, there isn’t any room for them because it’s already full of (you guessed it) dishes! I could put them in the dishwasher, but that needs to be unloaded first, and then I see the handprints all over it and am reminded I need to dig out the stainless steel cleaner to clean the front of it along with the fridge, and if I do the fridge, I need to pull all the papers stuck to it, and, frankly, I’m not entirely sure what to do with them—it’s why I stuck them on the fridge in the first place.

Everywhere I look, there is something that needs to be dusted, mopped, picked up, or put away, but nothing can get done until something else gets done first, and all it is getting done one-handed while balancing a baby, all while listening to the shouts of “Mom, watch this!” (And no, a simple glance won’t suffice, this needs rapt, undivided attentionfor the fifth time.) 

RELATED: What Do Stay At Home Moms Do All Day?

It’s like mom life is some alternate version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but instead of being a whimsical children’s book, it’s an anxiety-inducing nightmare. The frustrating part is that this isn’t me. Not even a little bit. I am a struggling perfectionist. (Though you wouldn’t know this by looking at me because I present as a hot mess.)

If it’s within my control, I need it to be perfect. If there is a goal to be achieved, I am going to over achieve it. And I am going to do it all at once. No interruptions, no stops, no breaks. Get. It. Done. is my mentality. 

So the fact that I can’t keep my house perfectly tidy consumes me. I can always see my visual to-do list. When I’m sitting on the floor playing Go Fish with my son, I’m looking at the dust on the baseboards that needs to be wiped down, and then I think about the back of the bathroom cupboard that needs to be organized and wiped out, and of course, whatever clothes my son has left by the tubs needs to be washed, oh, and that means I need to face my mountain of laundry which might overtake Everest as the world’s highest peak. One thing leads to another, and I can never keep up, I can never do it perfectly, and I can never start a job and finish it without interruption, so why start at all? 

RELATED: Sometimes I Want To Scream, “Does Anyone See Everything I Am Doing?!”

It’s a tough cycleone I want to breakand I think I just had a breakthrough thanks to the kindest human ever with something that sounds so simple it’s ridiculous that it was groundbreaking for me: It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be peaceful. 

The crayons don’t need to be put away in a show-stopping rainbow gradient, they just need to be put away in their multicolored, chaotic glory. The shoes on the shoe rack don’t need to be put away Papa bear, Mama bear, and Baby bear styleall nice and neat on their own shelfthey just need to be on the shelf and out of the entryway. I don’t have to do all the laundry in one day, a basket a day is probably enough to keep us all smelling nice and in clean clothes. 

Just breathe, take care of the one thing that is destroying your peace of mind most, and then walk away. My house, your house, is meant to be a peaceful place to live, not a perfect place for strangers to parade through and view. Peaceful over perfect. Good enough, is enough.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

April Allred

I'm an English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. The latter two are my favorite titles, and the former two my childhood dreams come true. Though I don't have a green thumb, I'm a hopeful gardener and can usually be found outside.

I Know My Friends Aren’t Bothered by My Messy House, but I Am

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Sad woman by laundry pile

My house screams at me. It screams to clear off the kitchen counters, to put away the clean clothes, to organize the shoe collection in our entry, to gather up the scattered toys, to sweep the crumbs up, to place the throw pillows back on the couch, to clean off the table—you get the idea. Everything in my sight speaks volumes to the state it does not want to be in, for the chaos it is imposing.  Keeping home is a labor of love and never of balance for me. Everything that is cleaned, made, or organized will always get...

Keep Reading

Stop Worrying if You Are Enough and Simply Give What You Can

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother doing dishes with toddler

Have you ever doubted yourself? Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes?  Am I a good enough parent? Wife? Friend?  Have you ever felt the pressure of all of the demands of daily life piling up on you and thought, I can’t do it all. I can’t be everything everyone needs me to be right now. It’s just not possible.  I’m just not good enough.  I know I have.  When I think back to when the kids were little, when I had nursing infants and toddlers wandering around the house getting into this and that, so often it...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama, Trust You’ve Given Them Enough, Even When it’s Not Everything

In: Motherhood
Little boy holding mother's hand, black and white photo

I always catch myself wondering if I am enough. If I’m doing enough for my children. If the things I do are the right things. If sometimes I’m too strict, like when I don’t let them have screens during the week. Or too relaxed, like when I don’t ask them to make their beds every morning because it’s easier for me to do it instead. I know I’m not always present. Some days I hear them ask “Mommy?” three times before I put down my phone and listen to what they have to tell me. And some nights at bedtime,...

Keep Reading