When my dear husband and I were searching for our first home, we had a list of amenities that we hoped our house would have. This included things like a family room to house all of the children we were going to have, an attached garage, a basement, a fireplace, and a mudroom.
After checking our budget, looking at many houses and crossing things off that we were resigned not to have, we did get one thing on our list. Our 1100 square foot ranch did indeed have a basement.
Not too long after that, we were expecting Eldest Son to show up on the scene. He was going to be the cutest little baby on the planet, sleep all night, eat like a champ, be content and good-natured.
After a really awful pregnancy, colicky Eldest Son was born four weeks early and was up all night, not interested in food and seemed perpetually pissed at the world.
But, boy, was he adorable.
I always envisioned our little family to be busy, active and engaged. We would introduce our new baby to all sorts of activities and have a social life for ourselves. We would be like those families on television. After all, hadn’t Mrs. Cosby had all those children and keep up her law practice while her comedian husband doctored those in need? Plus, she was in a book club and was involved in social welfare.
Back then, I counted a successful week as one where I didn’t have to take a day off work because my child was sick, we ate marginally well, the laundry was clean but in baskets all over the house and we got 5 hours of sleep a night. Mrs. Cosby was a complete fraud.
So, as you can see, I had extraordinarily high standards when we were newly married and then starting our family. I also had very little insight. I couldn’t quite figure out why I was frustrated all the time. It could have been the lack of sleep. Or the fact that I started work at 7:30 am and had an hour drive to work. Or the fact that my house looked like a Babies R Us truck crashed into it and dumped its contents all over. Or a combination of all of those things.
In order to deal with all of the things that go along with having babies, new husbands and being a working mom, I had to do something drastic.
I lowered my standards.
That’s right, folks. I had to let go and admit that my house was going to be dusty and I was going to be really, really tired. And, maybe, someday, I would have a mudroom.
Things have improved over the years, but I still have a tendency to search for perfection. In my mind, my house should be perfect, we should have tasty yet healthful meals and all of the kids’ homework should be done before 7 pm. That way we can watch reruns of “The Brady Bunch” together. We should also kneel before our beds at night and pray.
You can probably guess that this scenario never, ever happens.
However, as part of my “It’s okay because I’ve lowered my standards” attitude, I’m concentrating on the fact that we have three healthy kids, we were able to keep our house through an awful economic recession, and God knows that I care even if I don’t pray 24/7 is good enough for me. This attitude is a process, but I’m working through it. I’m going to have it down pat by the time Youngest Son is 18.
I still haven’t given up on my mudroom, however. A gal has to have some dreams and something to which to aspire, after all.
Hamburger Helper, anyone? I made extra!