One humid August day in 2009, "Slacker Mom" was born. Here's the original blog post that started me on the road to embracing my inner slacker -- and the concept of "good enough."
I have always been an over-achiever: straight A's in school; top scores on standardized tests; a stereotypically driven, Type-A perfectionist. During my first year of college, my roommate called me a "wacko-spaz-joiner," referring to my habit of taking on too many projects, clubs, and classes. (She didn't mean it as a compliment, but now it's a running joke between us.) She was right, and I was sleep-deprived and over-extended, but that didn't stop me. Why not give your all in everything you do?
I had no concept of "good enough."
Fast forward ten years, and I'm teaching gifted children in San Diego while working on my Masters in Education. I sit on four school committees, volunteer for three different organizations, have a full social calendar, freelance for a major publishing house, hit the gym at 8 o'clock every night, and throw regular gourmet dinner parties (with the same roommate, by the way). Still sleep-deprived and over-extended and perfectionistic, but busy and active and involved and happy. I think.
Now, 23 years after the original "wacko-spaz-joiner" comment was made, I realize that I am STILL that girl: the one on all the school committees, saying yes to every volunteer job, driving two kids to four different activities (EACH) every week, designing and sewing costumes for the ballet company, and cooking the second-grade Thanksgiving feast while recovering from major surgery, making cookies for the preschool graduation from scratch, wanting to have it all, wanting to do it all -- wanting to do it all perfectly.
And my two little girls (at barely 5 and 7, still babies) have a tired, stressed out, sleep-deprived, over-extended, perfectionistic mom who falls asleep reading Goodnight Moon at 7 p.m.
And my husband may have a home-cooked meal every night, but when he goes to bed alone, I'm still up for hours, working on the school-emergency phone tree directory, or the Christmas newsletter, or the family vacation scrapbook.
And, worst of all, I've started seeing perfectionistic tendencies in my seven-year-old.
So, after being inspired by my best friend, Nina, I introduced my kids to "Slacker Mom." She visits a few times a week. She serves oatmeal or popcorn for dinner and leaves the beds unmade to take them swimming. Sometimes she even plops them in front of the TV with pizza! On the couch! My kids ADORE Slacker Mom. They ask for her regularly.
Slacker Mom Says... it's perfectly acceptable to serve frozen chicken nuggets for dinner now and then. Just warm them up first. And no one says the house has to be immaculately clean and styled like a magazine spread. A little dust is good for the immune system, right? Who cares if the beds are made, as long as the kids are healthy and happy? It's time to let it go, time to let go of what doesn't matter so that we can focus on what does matter: spending time with our families and having time for ourselves as well. It's about balance. Why do we only get whatever is left over after we tend to kids, house, work, volunteer obligations, our husbands? Why can't we take care of ourselves as well as we take care of everyone (and everything) else?
Welcome to Slacker Mom. She'll let you off the hook.