The False Fantasy of Just Right

I don’t know about you, but every holiday I struggle with the stress of making things just right for my children. This Halloween has been no exception:

Picking out just the right pumpkin to carve and set out on the front porch for all the trick or treaters to enjoy.

Scouring Pinterest for a treat that would be just right to send to the preschool Halloween party.

Getting that perfect photo of the three of them lined up in their just right costumes.

As Christmas approaches I search for the perfect presents for each of my kids, and decorate the house in a way that will create lasting memories.

In my mind I have a version of what just right looks like. The only trouble is, things rarely work out that way. The pumpkin sits out so long that it turns to mush before the big night. The costume I spent so much time getting ready itches my toddler and she’d just as soon wear the same one from last year.

On Christmas morning I burn the cinnamon rolls and the perfect present didn’t get shipped in time. My just right fantasy is quickly replaced with a reality that’s a little messier and not exactly as I’d planned it.

Today one of my favorite bloggers and writers, Jon Acuff, gave me a reality check about the false idea of perfection when he wrote this:  “Tonight, take your kids trick or treating, not your phone. Don’t miss a moment with your kids cause you’re busy documenting it for strangers.”  Sometimes I get so caught up in documenting my kids’ lives that I’m not really present for them.

After all, my my children’s version of just right, my being there is the only thing that really matters.

More by Mary Lauren:

Toddler Fashion File: We Love Leg Warmers!

You Asked, I Answered: How Can I Get My Toddler to Listen?

Halloween Costumes Inspired by Children’s Books

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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