In a culture of pristine social posts and perfect parenting, what ever happened to ‘good enough’?
We were driving home from lunch after church, and I recognized her immediately.
She’s a local blogger, and she caught my eye because she was wearing heels and a fancy dress at a park.
A few feet away, a professional photographer snapped photos of her as she made exaggerated goggly eyes at her baby, and sported an inflated grin. The little girl wore a freshly-pressed monogrammed outfit and a blank look on her face. The woman’s husband stood off to the side, holding several bags and looking lost.
‘Is this what we’ve come to?’
It was all I could think.
Don’t get me wrong. I fully support this woman’s effort to make a living for her family, and I also enjoy her blog. I find it fun, relatable and upbeat. This is not about tearing her down.
(And, let’s be real. I’ve also hired photographers to take images of me for my blog that I later share on social media.)
But seeing it from the outside, I’ll be honest.
It made me sad.
Is this the Motherhood we are promoting today?
Is this the Motherhood that we have to do? With fake smiles and lost husbands and professional photographers?
Is this really It?
And, is this the Motherhood that our daughters will be pressured to live up to?
Seriously, what is This?
These days, Motherhood is perfection. Motherhood is big white smiles and perfect topknots and kids in matching outfits on a bright pink wall. Motherhood is perfectly lit and perfectly staged and perfectly… fake.
What ever happened to ‘good enough’?
Lately, I’ve been thinking more about what I put out there.
Is it truly authentic? Or is it just pretty with a tiny side of real?
The truth is, prettier photos get more engagement. It’s just a fact.
So again, I don’t share this story to degrade another blogger, or in any way take away from her story.
It just made me think… what is this thing that we are doing when we blog about our lives as moms? Do we share what’s real? Or do we just share what’s pretty?
And in the interest of more likes, shares and follows, do we delete the ugly because it doesn’t get us where we want to be?
What if the ugly is where the lesson was? Why do we need to cover it up?
It’s ironic that as I was thinking this, it was time to share about my favorite Lily Jade bags. Lily Jade makes designer diaper bags that don’t look like diaper bags. I’ve had a long relationship with this company, and I love them because they truly support women, and they have always encouraged me to be authentic and real.
Let’s be honest. I was hoping for a glamorous, semi-candid image with my Lily Jade bag, that showed me looking effortlessly happy, well-dressed and poised. But as we know, that doesn’t usually happen for me, and this shoot was no exception.
As fate would have it, that week, all 4 of our kids were sick. Some had barf, some had snot, all of us were going crazy.
By 7am on the first day they all stayed home from school, when it dawned on me that Clorox wipes and barf buckets would be my fate for the day, I’ll be honest. I was pissed.
I just wanted to get away.
I just wanted to be alone.
But I couldn’t.
Immediately, as I harnessed my thoughts, I felt shame.
‘My kids need me and I can’t believe I’m so selfish that I’m actually mad about that.’
But you know what? That’s REAL.
And even though I wasn’t a perfect mom and didn’t get out of my pajamas that day or even put on a bra, I did what I could.
I was good enough.
It wasn’t a perfect day. But we all survived, so it was good enough.
I didn’t make a homemade dinner. But leftovers were put in the microwave, so it good enough.
We didn’t get dressed. But we were warm and comfortable, and it was good enough.
There was nothing post-worthy about this day. Except that it was good enough.
Can we focus more on being good enough instead of being perfect?
Just like our parents in the 80’s threw us in the playpen and turned on the Jetsons. It was good enough.
Just like they told us to go play outside and not come home until the street lights came on. It was good enough.
There’s no trophy for making organic dinners and never yelling at your kids. (Of course, I won’t lie. I wish I did those things. But I don’t. And I’m good enough.) Some nights, putting hot dogs on a plate and calling it dinner is just good enough.
My Lily Jade bags are also ‘good enough’ but so much more. First of all, they’ve outlasted my kids. Again, they are diaper bags but they are also high-quality, seasoned leather so I use mine to take my laptop to Starbucks, or bring book fair catalogs to the PTA meeting. (Just kidding, I don’t go to PTA meetings. I really hope to someday, but I haven’t yet. #goodenough) Most of them have a shoulder strap and also convert to backpack style so they’re great for trips to the zoo or amusement park.
So that’s what I wanted to share.
You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be good enough.
No day needs to be perfect and happy and big white smiles all day long.
Real life is whiny kids and snot and barf and selfish mom moments.
And something tells me you might need a little more ‘good enough’ in your feed.
Good enough to make them feel loved.
Good enough to keep them alive.