I’ve come to accept that I’ll never be the perfect mum; the one who makes quinoa bliss balls for her kids to take to the park and is strict about screen time. But I am a ‘good enough’ mum. And by that I just mean I go to bed at night knowing I’m not completely stuffing up my kids; that they feel loved and are also happy.
Here are six ways I’m a ‘good-enough’ mum with everyday tasks and why I think cutting corners just makes sense.
1. Making dinner
I know some families have a sit-down meal together every night. But in my house, my boys eat something simple like boiled eggs with smiley faces drawn on them at 5.30 pm. I’m over the dinner battles, and I also don’t feel that sitting down together to eat is great family time. It’s too stressful! So I make them healthy food I know they’ll eat, like salmon and veg, and then my husband and I eat the same thing after them.
I’ve also come to the realisation that making their little tummies wait until daddy gets home is a recipe for tantrums. The earlier I can feed them, the earlier they will go to bed (I hope).
2. Allowing screen time
I used to stress about about how much screen time my kids had. Then I started to relax about this. They get plenty of outdoor time, running around the house with each other and also with their friends at kindy. I also read to them and we do craft and the like.
TV is my ‘get sh!t’ done time. I need it, so rather than feeling guilty about this, I allow myself to use it to my advantage. It’s a time to make phone calls, get some work done or just have some much-needed down time. Yes, the TV is sometimes my kids’ babysitter, and I’m OK with that.
3. Playing with my kids
I feel SO guilty when I don’t want to play with my kids. I love them to bits and I know this time of them wanting to make pretend cupcakes with me is precious and will be short lived. It’s just that I always have one hundred other things that I feel I SHOULD be doing instead.
The ‘good enough’ mum in me chooses to strike a compromise. She does both. I may never get to the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list, but I’m not missing out on sharing in their childhood. I play with them, set them up with an activity and then get on with the things I need to do, before getting interrupted and starting over. But hey, that’s just mum life.
4. Doing the washing
I rarely see the bottom of the washing basket because I never get around to folding ALL the clothes and putting them away. I have learnt a good shortcut when it comes to this though, which saves my sanity each morning. If I just fold and put the boys’ clothes away, instead of tackling the entire basket, I’m not as flustered when I need to get them dressed because clean clothes are where they should be.
5. Getting the kids to bed
Some nights my kids sleep in their day clothes and I also skip bath time occasionally. I’ve learnt to prioritise bedtime over getting everything else done beforehand. Some nights we just run out of time, but as long as it’s lights out by 8pm, then I’m fine with them waking up in yesterday’s clothes.
6. Being the healthy mum
I am definitely just ‘good enough’ at this one. I try to make dinners healthy every night and I always have the fruit bowl stocked, but I know I am not the baking type and so we always have packaged snacks in the pantry. I usually grab a banana and packet of popcorn for them before we dash out the door. But I reckon as long as I’m on top of the dinner and fruit thing, I’m doing OK. Right?!