School is starting up for most of us which means cold & flu season will soon be upon us, followed shortly by the threat of lice and let’s not forget the endless string of fundraisers. Our twin boys began kindergarten last week and I have already learned some valuable lessons just one week in!
1) Those pants you bought for your son online weeks ago in 6 colors because he once said he liked them? Yeah, those aren’t gonna fit at 7:54am the first day of school. He will have ripped off the price tags, you will have already washed them and your other kid will have gotten ketchup all over the receipt. You are now stuck with $67 worth of pants that don’t fit and your kid will end up wearing those pants that are too tired and sad to even donate. You know, the ones with the faded knees and a sucker permanently adhered to the inside the pocket for his first day of school. That’s okay – you tried!
2) That perfect blend of healthy & hearty or sweet & savory lunch you carefully packed for your kid that peanut, gluten, fat and taste free? Yeah, that will come home untouched - except for the thermos that is now without a lid and a missing ice pack - if it comes home at all. That’s okay – you tried!
3) When you reminded your kid before school that he needed to turn in a note that you signed? Yeah, they forgot because they are 5 and have the attention span of a gnat. If you want something done right, do it yourself! Stop reading this and go check his backpack for more surprises! That’s okay – you tried!
4) That moment you were so sure of another mother’s name that you called out to her from across the school yard and waved but got no response and wondered why she didn’t like you? Yeah, that’s because her name is not “Meg”, it’s “Anna”. She also just may not like you. *But knowing her name surely helps. That’s okay – you tried!
5) That day you thought you had signed up to provide carrots for the entire class but you didn’t notice the sign actually said “Purple carrots” for “Purple snack day” so you only brought in regular orange carrots and ruined “Rainbow snack week” for 52 kindergartners? Yeah, now you know purple carrots are a thing and are rich in antioxidants and pair well with chicken dishes because you Googled it after the fact. That’s okay – you tried!
6) That day your kid told his kindergarten teacher that his mom was crabby because she slept on the couch so she didn’t get blood on her new sheets? Yeah – that teacher laughed with you, not at you. She has a couch and a period too. That’s okay – you tried!
7) That afternoon you arrived an hour early for school pick up in hopes of finding a good parking spot but ended up being 12 minutes late to collect your kids because Richard Marx’s “Right here waiting for you came on the radio and that piano part is so soothing and you fell asleep? Yeah – you’re gonna need another cup of coffee and some Metallica for those days. That’s okay – you tried!
There’s a theme here: “That’s okay – you tried!” Many of us parents are learning as we go. Even when our kids are grown adults, we’ll still find ourselves facing new challenges, achieving new victories, gaining wisdom and for some of us, muffin tops. We hide behind our computers making comments on parenting threads we wouldn’t dare say to someone face to face, we post the good, the great and the best of our day on Facebook and leave the bad and the ugly for conversations at dinner with our spouse. We expect too much of ourselves and not enough from others. We do this every day as if we are on autopilot. Give yourselves a break from striving for perfection! Embrace the messy moments and the bad DIY haircut attempts. Savor the unflushed poop and the dirty laundry deposited on the floor just 4” outside of the hamper. Life is too short to try to erase all the imperfect stuff. All of it matters because it’s the big AND little things that are woven into our story. You are you and I am me and that’s okay – we tried.