I found this idea posted over at Working Mother. I tweaked it to make it a bit more applicable to me. Got rid of some of the “shoulds” that I don’t really care about.
“We working moms continue to torment ourselves about doing more—and doing it perfectly—in every area, from parenting to marriage to housekeeping to career advancement. But we need to fight this desire and realize we are doing it all, just not all at once. Sound unrealistic?” – Annie Finnigan
Almost Perfect I work really hard school – using my preps and lunch to get things planned and assessed. I know my curriculum in and out and try make my tasks engaging and differentiated. I do my fair-share of extra curricular coaching (Sound of Music, say what?), offer support to other teachers when I can and work my butt off to communicate effectively with parents. I also put in some time once Eli (and Rob) are asleep maintaining my class website and preparing lessons. I keep on top of work-related emails and PD opportunities.
But I should be getting to school earlier and staying later, keeping my classroom cleaner/tidier and keeping my markbook organized. I should also be thoroughly lesson planning and loop planning more diligently, spending more time creating inspiring lessons and celebrations, and maybe arranging some sort of field trip. I should do more co-planning and team-teaching and professional research – and maybe even help “spruce” up the school a bit to make it more welcoming.
Chill out! Relax. You are a superstar (and preggo for crying out loud!). You spent many years before children building a great reputation and are continued to be used as a model for others. Give yourself a break! If anything, you should applaud yourself for being able to just “wing-it” and not plan too much at home.
2. Kid Time
Almost Perfect I spend lots of time playing lions, monsters, peppa pig family, giants and race cars down on Sesame Street. We play hide & seek, and snuggle and giggle and chase. We play outside, play with friends and make art together.
But I should be spending even more moments with with Eli, and not try to convince him to watch a movie while I try to nap. Take him on more epic adventures outside and leave out more invitations to play. I should document the fun things we do together more often and practice his fine motor skills (ex. write his name like other 3-year-olds I’ve seen)
Chill out! Stop comparing yourself to other mothers. They have strengths, but also weaknesses (they just don’t tend to post beautiful pictures of those things). Also – you spend lots of moments (including nighttime snuggles) – and they all count. You don’t have technology in his face and aren’t forcing him to play or practice things he doesn’t enjoy doing. He is loved. And he knows it.
3. Personal Health
Almost Perfect I don’t sit down at school. I do DPA with my kids. I chase Eli around the house and up stairs.
Others think I should be doing more to get into better shape— yoga, cycling, tennis, weights… We should probably also cut back on the amount of times we eat-out at restaurants… but I don’t want to.
4. Love Connection
Almost Perfect Rob and I go out for the occasional dinner and party and mini getaways – thanks to my parents and our great babysitters.
But I should be making sure we have a date night once a week and some intimate time every day. Be better, kinder. Do more random acts, be more spontaneous and be a better listener.
Chill out! Figure out how much couple time is really “enough,” and do your best to commit to it.
Almost Perfect I do the laundry, bathrooms, general tidying and toy patrol. Rob does garbage and dishes and vacuuming. Eli is good at setting and clearing the table and putting toys away. It seems never-ending, and how we spend most of our weekends. It’s like brushing your teeth while eating an oreo.
But I should be keeping a squeaky-clean house like my mom does. Learn to tidy up every night before bed, learn to love folding laundry and doing dishes.
Chill out! Hire that cleaning lady.
6. Me Time
Almost Perfect I spend time alone driving to and from work. I stay up later than Rob and Eli to try to sneak in some reading or drawing or list-making. I have band practice every Thursday (from sept-may). I sometimes sneak out for coffee with friends or a book club meeting. Does taking a shower count?
But I should be spending more time painting, blogging, nurturing friendships, drawing, exploring my town, reading, writing, singing, dancing…
Chill out! Schedule a date with yourself once a week, and put it on the calendar. Drop one errand or do one less chore. Taking time for yourself is not selfish – it will make you a happier, more balanced person and a better wife and mom.
Do you have any “shoulds” in your life?