Have you ever classified yourself as a mom? Are you a crunchy or a helicopter mom? Do you get hands-on, or are you a totally laid-back mama? Does hot mess or perfectionist ring a bell? Maybe you’re a WAHM, SAHM, or a career mom.
Last year I had to put a name on my particular parenting style. So after giving it a lot of consideration, I decided to label myself as a “good enough” mom.
*Just kidding. I don’t have time to actually sit alone and ponder such deep thoughts. A good friend mentioned something about she was good enough one day, and it stuck with me.
Good Enough Mom Definition
As a good enough mom to three kiddos under 6 years old, I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m also not completely crappy.
Honestly, my goal in life is to keep the kids fed, somewhat dressed, and have them be decent tiny humans. If I can accomplish most of that, then that’s good enough for me.
Standards for a Good Enough Mom
As a good-enough mama I actually have some standards. I mentioned them above (get them to take bites of their food, and wear—at the very least—underwear when they’re playing out in the front yard. Oh, and I’d like them to be respectful), but here are a few ways I actually practice what I preach.
Good Enough Mom on Food
Now, I love a home cooked meal just as much as the next mom; I mean, I sell Pampered Chef, for crying out loud, but as a Good Enough Mom, I truly believe that Chick-fil-A is a gift from heaven. The simple fact that I can eat a meal in peace and quiet (and even sneak in a milkshake) while my kids play in their always clean, somewhat sound-proof little glass box, is proof that there’s a God.
Oh, and if the workers at CFA know your name, where you like to sit, and the fact that you want three Chick-fil-A sauces with your meal, just embrace it. That doesn’t mean that you go there too often. No, that just means that you’re loyal, and loyalty is a great thing.
Good Enough Mom on Cleanliness
I know smelly and messy kids are frowned upon in our society, and while my kids love tub time, we always seem to rush that routine, so instead of it being all cute and Instagram worthy, it’s just chaotic with lots of water everywhere.
That’s why I love living in a place with perpetual summer, because I totally consider running through the sprinklers and playing in the kiddie pool out back a bath.
Good Enough Mom on Food (again)
Let’s go back to food for a hot minute. Even though my kids were breastfed and baby-led weaned, and despite the fact that they could practically devour broccoli, green beans, and carrots when they were younger, doesn’t mean jack right now.
Why? Because kids eventually grow up and have a mind of their own, and the minds of my children quickly turned into, “I hate any food that isn’t cereal or cheese.”
Y’all, I pretty much jumped for joy when I saw my daughter eat a single pea—A PEA!—from her fried rice. That momentary giddiness turned into a disappointed sigh when she spat it out two seconds later. #parenting
Good Enough Mom on Childcare
How else am I a good-enough mom? Oh, this is a good one: Moana and Daniel Tiger are my favorite (free) babysitters.
Do I even need to explain this one? Moana has the most beautiful, magical, calming music, and Daniel Tiger is the mom I wish I could be—he teaches them all the things, has catchy songs to make them remember the lessons, and he can get them to sit still and not move a single inch for 23 minutes.
God bless you, Daniel Tiger.
Good Enough Mom on Having Everything Together
I’m the good-enough mom who routinely forgets something in her purse/diaper bag. I’ll either have a diaper, but no wipes. Or snacks, but no extra diaper. Or five pieces of gold fish at the bottom of the bag, and one wipe left, but no change of clothes for the blowout that just occurred from the three year old ‘potty trained” toddler.
It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll have exactly what I don’t need when I need it the most. Thank goodness for other moms around me who actually have their life together, and help a lady out when she needs it the most.
Good Enough Mom when I’m Out in Public
If my kids have meltdowns in the middle of the store—wait; I mean when they have meltdowns, I leave them there, and let them ride it out, while reminding them that there’s no crying in Target (I mean, seriously?!). And yes sometimes I even take a picture.
Should I take them out and remove them from the situation? Probably. But I refuse to change my entire plans just because they lose their poop over not being able to keep a stuffed unicorn with them in the cart.
Nope. They can keep crying, and people can stare.
I’ll continue explaining the situation to the kid(s) in a calm manner (while gritting my teeth and sweating profusely), and I’ll work on distraction, but I won’t leave the cart right then and there and go back later. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If I’m out in a store with all of my kids, there’s a good reason for that, and I don’t have time to repeat that trip (and another meltdown) again later.
Good Enough Mom on Letting Them Win
Basically, I’m prepared to lose several battles. Full disclosure: I can be a pushover. Sometimes I just don’t even want to deal with the crying, fighting, and arguing that comes from not giving into something. So they win, again. Just don’t tell my kids that, because I want them to at least have some sort of allure that I hold authority.
But Sometimes YOU Win
But here’s the exciting part of being a good enough mom: some days you totally rock everything.
As a good enough mom, there are days when I totally feel like I’m winning this parenting thing.
It’s the days when they’re magically perfect little angels and actually say please and thank you to everything under the sun, or days when they all fall asleep and take a nap at.the.same.time.
It’s the moments when they play with each other, and I don’t have to scream, “no” for the hundredth time. Sometimes they’ll eat everything I make for them, and even ask for seconds.
I take those days to recharge and fill my cup with more patience and grace.
We’re All Just Winging It
Since I’m pretty much just making up this motherhood and parenting journey as I go along, some days we have ice cream for dinner, and we let them stay up too late (and pay for it when we actually try to get them into bed).
Some days I actually have a Pinterest craft go as planned, and I say “yes” more often than I say, “no.” And while I wish every day was like that—that every day was magical and picture perfect—I have to remember that being good enough means being good enough for them and for me.
Parenting is hard, and it’s not always cupcakes and rainbows.
Good Enough Mom Wishes
I wish I had more patience.
I wish I had more grace.
I wish there weren’t days where all five of us have cried before 9 am.
I wish we did more crafts (and I really wish I actually liked craft time instead of dreading it).
I wish I didn’t yell and lose my temper.
I wish I had more one-on-one time with the kids.
I wish I could stop time and savor these early years instead of wishing them away.
I wish, I wish, I wish.
Some days I wish I could be a better mom, instead of just a good enough mom.
But until wishes start coming true (or I magically turn into someone else), good enough will have to be okay with me.
It’s not perfect, and it’s not horrible, it’s just good… and nothing’s wrong with a little good.
Okay, mamas. Your turn. Spill it….what kind of mom are you?
Special thanks to Chrissy Walther (based out of San Diego) for the photos
A version of this post was originally published on the San Diego Mom’s Blog in October, 2017