I tend to set really high goals for myself and others around me. When I start to feel stressed or out of control, I have the tendency to try to find a better “system” to get it all done. I feel the urge to organize better so that I can be more in control of the chaos around me. I want to be able to do it all, and do it really well. But who says I have to?
I’ve got a couple of favorite blogs I read on a fairly regular basis. They’re written by some really great ladies who have bigger families than I do and they have a pretty similar world view to what we have. I enjoy them and a lot of times they give me some great stuff to ponder and implement in my family. Recently on a blog post an author included her weekly family meal menu and shopping list. I thought I’d take a gander and see what other people plan and eat. (I love food you know). Here is what she feeds her family for breakfast, lunch and dinner…
Eggs & Sausage
Cocoa & Toast or Cereal
Oven Pancake & Fruit
Sandwiches & Chips
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Spaghetti & Corn
Hot Dogs & Cheese Slices
Hamburgers & Chips
Quiche & Peas
Chili & Corn Bread or Cinnamon Rolls
Homemade or Frozen Pizza & Salad
Crock Pot Roast & Potatoes & Green Beans
Fajitas & Rice
Potato Soup & Breadsticks
Sloppy Joes & Chips
I read this list and started to feel guilty. My kids get a choice for breakfast…cold cereal, instant oatmeal, toast, or if we have pumpkin or banana bread they can have that. Occasionally they can have Oreos. For lunch it’s left overs, PB&J or something else equally as easy. Dinner I usually cook a decent dinner. But seriously. I started to feel like I was failing my kids. I don’t give them a hot breakfast every morning and I certainly don’t make pancakes or eggs and sausage. I don’t whip up a fancy lunch either. What if I’m failing their little minds and their tummies by feeding them what’s easy and doable?
But then I got a bit of a reality check. Who says I have to make a fancy breakfast or lunch to be a good mom? Who says that my kids will only thrive if I spend my days in the kitchen instead of playing with them or helping them learn in school? Who says I have to do what other moms (who apparently have way more time, energy or help than I do) do? It’s self imposed really. There are times when I have to tell myself “who says”.
I mean, even in the Bible when it talks about women being keepers of the home, it doesn’t say “thou shalt not have dirty floors” or “thou shalt makest thy children gourmet meals”. Although that whole Proverbs 31 woman sounds pretty stellar. Although when you break it down, the woman in Proverbs 31 boils down to this…she’s trustworthy and her husband is okay with her running the household (v 10, 11), she’s frugal (v 13), she feeds her family (v 15), she thinks ahead (v 21), she helps the poor (v 20), she exercises (v 17), she is diligent in her work and brings in money (v 24), she’s wise and kind (v 26), and she’s not lazy (v 27). The other things…hot breakfasts, spotless houses, perfect children in matching clothes (I don’t do this by the way) and floors so clean you can eat off of…that’s all self imposed. It’s this imaginary standard that we all try to live up to, but we never make. My house is clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy. My kids don’t get fancy breakfasts or lunch, but they’re not hungry and they seem to grow just fine.
So who says it has to look like “Leave it to Beaver”? Who says that anything other than what we’re doing now is better?
I should say this…if you’re one of those moms who CAN do it all and make your kids these really fantastic meals and keeps your house spotless…more power to you! Nothing wrong with that, but know that when you come to visit my house…you may need to lower your expectations just a bit.