Saturday, April 09, 2011

Good enough is the new perfect: the book

It seems like the more I'm on my game at work, the less I shine at motherhood. And it isn't about time at the office versus time at the dinner table. I get home at a decent hour, but I've been so focused on ideation and creation and presentation that I seem to have misplaced my mommy mojo.

You see, Josh left to review a show last night and both girls were up late, fighting sleep and in tears two short hours after I was bragging about how easy they were to a prospective babysitter. And today I earned parenting demerits from Josh for making Buckeyes batter before lunch, for failing to get A to nap, and for letting the kids play at the park too long.

Good thing perfect parenting is overrated. In their new book Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood (out April 19th), Becky Beaupre Gillespe and Hollee Schwartz Temple, the work-life balance columnists for the American Bar Association Journal, interview dozens of working women and comb through hundreds of surveys to determine what makes us happy. The answer, not surprisingly, is that the "good enoughs" among us are happier with our jobs, our spouses and our children than the "never enoughs." And while in our culture of perfectionist overachievers "good enough" is often interpreted as "you suck,"between the demands of our children, our jobs, our spouses and our own personal needs, something has to give. And it shouldn't be our happiness. Because you know what they say, if mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

Fortunately, I am happy. One of the hardest things about Josh and my gender-role reversal is I have to accept that--through practice and familiarity--he has become the more adept parent. He knows our children's routines and can read their moods better than I can. The bonus points I earned from breastfeeding and baby soothing (especially late at night) have long since expired.

My happiness comes from hanging up my supermom cape and realizing that my kids are thriving regardless of whether or not I'm packing every lunch, volunteering as room mom or watching them at swim practice. Not only that, I have obligations that take me away from my family multiple evenings a month. But I refuse to feel guilty about maintaining my friendships, nurturing my passions and staying fit. 

That said, I need to re-master the bedtime routine if I'm even going to qualify as a "good enough" mom.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book at no cost. I was not required to write about it and all opinions expressed are my own.