My family’s kitchen floor is dotted with dried oatmeal crumbs, pieces of cheese and this particular morning, the shepherd from our Christmas nativity set (which during the Christmas season has quickly become my son’s new favorite toy).
I used to sweep this lived-in kitchen every morning after my 1-year-old finished eating some of his toast and oatmeal and dropping the other half on the floor. He thought that was hilarious.
Even though sweeping the floor only took a moment or so, it was still a moment away from what I really wanted to be doing — playing with my son. And, I noticed that every piece of cheese that left his small hands and hit the floor made me cringe. It was another thing for me to pick up. So, I put the broom away and put a towel under his highchair. Problem solved.
This new attitude got me thinking. What else can I solve with a simple towel, figuratively speaking? So often, we (especially us mommas) try to be all things to all people. We try to have quality meals with our kids but also spotless kitchens. Is it all really possible? Maybe living with imperfection is the answer. It allows us to enjoy our kids and our lives and not feel guilty when things aren’t picture-perfect.
So, I’ve decided to proudly share my imperfections. Here goes (deep breath): I spread jam on my son’s toast and then use that same knife as a mirror to put on my mascara. I occasionally feed my family McDonald’s for dinner and don’t feel guilty about it. I even use my scarf to wipe my son’s runny nose. And then wear that scarf to work.
Here’s a secret: Although my eyelashes may not have triple the lash power, they look OK. My son is still alive, even after eating fast food once in a while. My co-workers didn’t run from me in disgust when I showed up wearing a scarf that has seen better days.
The other day, my husband and I were cleaning the house, getting ready to celebrate Christmas with some friends. He gathered up my catch-all towel in search of a covert hiding place so our guests wouldn’t have to look at it. I stopped him. This towel may not be pretty, but it represents where we are in our lives right now. Someday that towel will be put away permanently, but until that day comes, I’ll live with it in my kitchen. In fact, I’ll enjoy the fact that it has become part of our house and our lives. Along with the dried oatmeal and cheese. And the shepherd from the nativity set.
Maggie Sonnek works in the marketing and communications department at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. She lives in St. Louis Park with her husband and 15-month-old son.