How did we get here??
I have a distinct memory of leaving the hospital with her in her baby carrier and feeling shocked that they simply let us walk out the door. With a baby who’d only just been born?! The twenty minute drive from the hospital felt like an eternity, and I gritted my teeth when we hit a pothole.
We arrived back at our drafty village colonial and put the baby carrier down on the living room rug. My husband went to turn up the heat because we knew babies couldn’t yet regulate their temperature. I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I just stared at the little face (was she asleep, I couldn’t quite tell).
The straps of her carseat were a bit askew, and I was pretty sure we hadn’t fitted them properly. We had her bundled up in so much winter gear, what if she was overheating in there?? (After all, babies can't regulate their temperature, right?)
We’ve come a long way since that day. It took a while, but I finally stopped searching online for that singular instruction booklet with her name and DOB on it. I learned (and learned again) about being a “good enough” parent, how to let things go, how to say sorry and how to have a sense of humor. I'm still working on all of those, for the record.
In particular, it has taken me a long time to let go of the notion of “doing it right.” My internal “Evaluator” showed up frequently with feedback and sweaty palms. I eventually learned to send her outside for a smoke (to calm her nerves). She still shows up regularly, and I've learned to have fun with her. She rolls her eyes or throws up her hands in mock disgust - and then turns and head back out the door. I take her less seriously and as a result can take myself less seriously, too.
The pandemic has been a great exercise in lowering expectations. School has been not ideal, but good enough, seeing family outside and at arm's length has to be good enough, too. Applying to colleges without being able to visit - good enough. Getting into bed at 8:30pm so I can have some alone time - good enough.
I am no longer afraid that I am going to fail my children by not providing them with adequate opportunities or adequate layers. And when my daughter complains that the house is cold, I tell her to figure something out because I have no intention of turning up the heat.
Where do you find yourselves tripping over your own expectations? What can "good enough" offer you in this moment?
Jessica Curtis is a professional life coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.