Stop Trying To Make It Perfect; Make It Good Enough

I step out in front of the full-length mirror and lather my entire body in cocoa butter lotion, staring at the unrecognizable shape in front of me. I find three small stretch marks underneath my belly button and feel guilty for even noticing.
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7:22 a.m. - I wake to the sound of toddler whimpers streaming through the monitor. Untangling my legs from the pregnancy pillow, I awkwardly hoist myself out of the covers, trying not to grunt. I remember it is Monday and realize I am 30 weeks pregnant.

7:31 a.m. - I inhale waffles on the couch while my 2-year-old watches an episode of Curious George that he has seen approximately 47 times. I check my email and prepare a mental to-do list for the day (write blog post, schedule midwife appointment, edit photo session, clean bathroom, exercise?). He asks if he can watch more George and I feel guilty at how quickly I say yes.

8:28 a.m. - I ungracefully heave my leg onto the vanity chair and grab my dry body brush, carefully swiping it up the right side of my body in long strokes. I wonder if it's really doing anything to help the cellulite on my thighs and choose to believe it is even though I see no progress whatsoever. In the shower I cannot see my toes, which makes me feel claustrophobic. I step out in front of the full-length mirror and lather my entire body in cocoa butter lotion, staring at the unrecognizable shape in front of me. I find three small stretch marks underneath my belly button and feel guilty for even noticing.

8:51 a.m. - My toddler puts a headband on his forehead and climbs up into the vanity chair. He grins gleefully at himself in the magnifying mirror, admiring every inch of his own face. I am jealous of his confidence, his carefree attitude, the way he loves his own reflection. I feel guilty for not loving myself enough, and for being too obsessed with my maternity spanx.

8:57 a.m. - He dumps an entire cup of bobby pins on the floor. I yell; I feel guilty for yelling. We're late to meet friends at the park. I make him clean up every last bobby pin and surprisingly, feel no guilt at all for that.


1:32 p.m. - I create a turkey sandwich large enough to feed three people, complete with a generous helping of Cheetos and chocolate chip cookies. I add a handful of pre-cut apple slices (for the baby) and polish off the entire plate in four minutes. I feel guilty for loving naptime so much.

1:42 p.m. - I check emails, again. I bounce around between 12 open tabs in my Internet browser attempting to do 28 things at once. I write and edit and read and tweet and pin and email and wear all of my hats in two-minute spurts: Writer! Photographer! Editor! Blogger! Content Manager! Freelance extraordinaire!

I think about all the other moms out there doing what I'm doing -- establishing their made-up dream job during naptime in an attempt to help pay for diapers and fulfill themselves creatively. I think about all the other moms trying to "have it all" and "lean in" and I wonder if they are all as tired as I am. Probably. I mentally fist-bump those mommas before grabbing another chocolate chip cookie in their honor.

2:47 p.m. - He's awake. More Curious George. More guilt.

3:35 p.m. - We go the gym for our Fun Afternoon Activity, and even though he loves the ball pit in the childcare room, I feel guilty for not taking him to the train museum.

4:53 p.m. - I turn the car onto our street and see her, the same woman I see three times a week strolling around our neighborhood. Her hair is completely silver, lest one small streak of blue. She wears short shorts and a neon tank top, with headphones in her ears. She is pushing 70 with the legs of a 40-year-old -- walking with purpose, yet free as a bird. She probably only checks her email once a day. The sun radiates off her skin, her silver hair, and I am nothing short of jealous.

5:02 p.m. - I make spaghetti for dinner, again, and feel guilty for not serving vegetables. Daddy comes home to save the day and I complain about the unfinished to-do list. He tells me to take 30 minutes to myself and I accept the offer quicker than I should. I sit in our bed responding to more emails as I listen to the two people I love most in this world chase each other in the backyard. I feel guilty for working, for not being fun, for needing to be saved at the end of the day.


10:47 p.m. - I am crying. Sobbing, really. Confessing to my husband that It Is Too Much.

The writing.

The photography business.

Running an entire website about motherhood in between cracker bribes and poopy diapers.

I tell him about my fears, my insecurities, my anxiety that all of my hard work will fall apart while I'm drowning in newborn-land again, breastfeeding all day long while trying to entertain a toddler with one free hand.

He wraps his arms around me while I cry and reminds me of the familiar mantra I have spewed at him anytime he was overworked and overwhelmed: "You need to stop trying to make it perfect, and make it good enough."


Good enough. Good enough. Good enough.

I don't know how to be good enough.

12:16 a.m. - My tears are dry just as my toddler's start to fall. We were too loud tip-toeing into his room for the nightly check and accidentally woke him up.

"Chair, momma?" he asks.

I cannot resist. I sit in the rocking chair with his tiny body awkwardly wrapped around my pregnant belly. I cover both of us with his favorite blue blanket, which is -- no doubt -- due for a wash. He plays with my nightgown strap while I sing to him quietly. His breath smells like innocence and Thomas toothpaste. Every time I finish a song, he says "yay!" followed by "again?"

I keep singing, and rocking, running my fingers through his soft hair. The nightlight changes color and I close my eyes, feeling his heart beat steadily against mine. The second baby in my belly kicks, reminding me of his presence, his miracle, his everything.

Good enough. Good enough. Good enough.

I wrap the blue blanket around us tighter, imagining it is laced with grace.

For the first time today, I feel good enough.


Written by Ashlee Gadd. A version of this post originally appeared on Coffee + Crumbs.