Last week, my child’s preschool teacher helped me see a new perspective. She was talking about taking our kids outside in the winter to play in the snow. She recognized that it often took so much effort to find and get all the snow gear on that it was tempting to skip going outside altogether. If one day, we only got outside for five minutes, it was still better than nothing! Maybe those five minutes would turn into an hour. Or maybe they would only last two minutes. But we shouldn’t let the mentality of “It’s all or nothing” hold us back. A little bit of play outside was enough to get some fresh air, a change of perspective, and some time for fun memories.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned with each child’s addition to our family, it’s that sometimes a little bit is enough. A little bit of time, a little bit of energy, a little bit of money …things get thin when we’re spreading it out among four children. I used to try to do it all – elaborate baby books, homemade baby food, yearly photo calendars, a well-organized and clean home, homemade dinners each night. So much of my quest for perfect domesticity has gone out of the window, and I’m slowly making peace with it.
It’s not that I’m letting go of standards, but I am learning to let go of perfection and the guilt that comes with it when I fall short.
So I’m getting used to the idea that a little bit is enough. I might not have time to make a full dinner, but if I make a little and buy a little, that’s good enough. I might not have time to dedicate a full day of “mommy and me” time to each child, but if I can spend a few minutes of undistracted conversation or play with each child each day, that is enough. I might not have time or energy to clean the whole house, but if I can clean the kitchen or put away all the laundry, that is enough for now.
The truth is, I’m just not in a season of life when I can cross everything off my list….and I don’t see it getting any easier in the future either. There are so many moving parts and demands on my time and attention. It’s enough to make it through the day alive with four little ones in my care.
I recognize that I don’t have to do everything because I can’t do everything. However, I can try to do a little of everything and let all those little things add up into something bigger.
So maybe today I won’t get a full shower. But a little bit of dry shampoo and mascara is enough to feel pulled together.
And maybe we won’t have three totally healthy, homemade meals. But we got a little fresh fruit and vegetables in there somewhere today, and that’s enough.
Maybe I won’t exercise for a long time, but if I run around a little outside and get some fresh air with my kids, that is enough.
And maybe we won’t get outside for long. But if we get out enough to catch a few snowflakes on our tongues, it might be the one thing my kids remember most about the day.
And maybe I won’t be able to clean up the whole house the way I’d like it to look. But if we made our beds so that they are cozy for bedtime stories, that is enough.
And maybe there are a million things at the end of the day I wish I had gotten to, but if I enjoyed the small moments that made up the day, that is enough.