This is a guest post from Rachel Meeks, who once wrote at Small Notebook. 💛
I have a lot of ideal goals at the beginning of each day. There’s so much inspiration everywhere I look, and my list of projects, ideas, and new things to try is a mile long. Some days I can only spend time on one or two extra things, or three if I’m lucky, in addition to my everyday responsibilities. I want to cook healthy meals. Keep a clean, comfortable home. Play with my daughter and do fun things with her. Why do I so often feel like I fall short in my role?
I wish I had it all together, but there are some days when I very clearly don’t. And that’s fine. For all of my good intentions, there will never come a day when I can cross every single item off of my to-do list. I can accomplish several things, but just not at the same time. If the kitchen’s sparkling, there might be toys in the living room. If the toys are picked up, the dining table could be cluttered. I’m learning to be okay with that and to find a different way to measure the day’s success.
I don’t want to be a supermom who can do everything. It sounds exhausting. Thankfully, there’s a positive side to all of my shortcomings:
1. Flaws help people relate to you. Who would you rather talk to about a problem — someone you know will understand, or someone who would never have messed up so badly? One of my mentors said that it wasn’t until she started sharing more about her family’s struggles that other people felt comfortable opening up and sharing with her too.
2. Making mistakes teaches your children that they can make mistakes too. If we had to do everything right the first time, we would never attempt anything. I love watching my little girl run around with her arms flailing and squealing with joy. I don’t know how many times she fell down while she was learning to walk. I want her to be willing to dive right in and try new things without expecting to do them perfectly. Letting your kids see you make mistakes teaches them how to react: do you get mad and upset, or do you fix it and move on?
3. Imperfections make you more authentic. Be real. I’m not suggesting that we should dwell on our faults and failures, I just don’t want to hide them. Is there anything better than honesty?
4. Admitting your mistakes strengthens your relationships. Asking for and receiving forgiveness is an important part of true, lasting relationships. Being willing to let others help you develop community, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Sometimes people won’t know how to help unless you ask.
5. Overlooking shortcomings shows your family that they are more important than things or agendas. I like how it’s okay to break a glass or to have extra laundry because of spills and stains. When my child runs to me, I want to scoop her up and hug her, not stop to ask “what’s that on your shirt?” I like when she wants to help me wash dishes, even though it takes twice as long and I end up soaked in soapy water.
6. Mistakes give you something to laugh about later. My husband loves to tease me about all the times I’ve set food on fire while cooking. I like to remind him about the time he stuffed so much cilantro into the disposal that it erupted, and he had to go after it with a plunger. We both laugh about when he drove away with a cup of coffee sitting on top of the car.
7. Inadequacies can inspire. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything went smoothly all the time? Perhaps, but it would also start to be pretty boring. That’s why we love stories about the underdog, makeovers, and an unlikely hero. Being in a place of need gives you the golden chance to see a difficult situation redeemed and hope answered.
If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need anything. I think God designed us to be imperfect so that we can depend on him. Maybe we are perfectly imperfect. It’s grace that covers all of our deficiencies. If we understand that, then we can extend more grace to others.
Being perfect is something that I will never attain, no matter how hard I try. I still want to bless my family with clean laundry, good food to eat, and fun experiences shared, but I’m no longer striving for perfection in all of it. There’s a freedom that comes with “good enough”, and instead of being perfect, I can learn to be generous, compassionate, kind, and loving. Those things will make a far more lasting impact on my family.