The other day after our babysitter came over, I was quickly getting Joshua ready for bed. As usual, I could not find the matching sleep shirt to his pajamas pants, so I decided to leave him in his t-shirt that he had already worn all day. It was a rather hideous color and pattern combination. "When my other kids were little, this would have bothered me," I said to the sitter. "I used to be organized," I went on, and I saw the skepticism in her eyes.
If you only have known me post-third child, you would assume that I have always been "relaxed on details," which is a nice way of saying, "a disaster." It is hard now to imagine a time when I had the luxury to worry about intricate things. I think at this stage, with a 9, 5 and 2 year old, I simply get through the day. To look at the big picture or sweat the small stuff is overwhelming.
I cringe now to think that I used to judge mothers who came to the park with sippy lids that did not match the cups, or kids with hair uncombed. I am now that mom. Things rarely match, at least one child always has something unkempt-looking going on, I frequently forget drinks, snacks or wipes in our bag, and we have made more than enough scenes with public tantrums. (My secret to surviving those is to not make eye contact with anyone and get to the car fast!)
So while we are at it, here are a few other confessions. My kids watch more TV and play more Wii than they should. My 2 year old has seen shows and movies that I never would have let my other children watch at this age. We frequently eat oatmeal for dinner because I am too tired to cook. I never feel guilty when I go out and leave the kids with a sitter (a euphoria I used to think was impossible to achieve). I sometimes make up elaborate excuses for why we cannot paint (or do moon sand, or some other messy endeavor), simply because I do not feel like getting into it. I have been late to school pick up on more than one occasion, and I never bring homemade treats to the bake sales.
So there you have it. I would say overall I am still the mother I want to be, but I push the limits of what I previously would have considered acceptable. In most ways, this letting go of perfection is a positive force. I think I will continue to go with it. I am sure someday I will return to my more organized way of thinking, but I don't look forward to it as much as I thought I would. There's something quite lovely about the chaos of sweet, sticky-faced boys that surrounds me. It fills my heart the way having things "just so" never quite could.