November 1, 2012
Giving up good.
I was first inspired by the concept of "giving up good" by one of my favorite bloggers over at Naptime Diaries. I think I gave an "amen" or two as she was sharing how she gave up on showers and her life has changed thanks to dry shampoo. While she was doing that, I was busy having Isaac, so I wasn't exactly blogging (or showering) regularly at that time.
But the idea of giving up good has really freed me from the need to be that mythical "do it all" Mama. I really struggled with that shortly after Jude was born. I constantly felt like I was behind and never fully present at any one thing I did, because my mind and my heart was too cluttered to enjoy what was before me.
Like I said last week, I just don't think we're supposed to live in that kind of suffocating heart-clutter.
So I've given myself freedom. Grace. Making room in my life.
I've given up perfect, 100% clean, eating. I can be a bit of a nutrition nut. Especially after I had Jude, I would obsess over giving him the best food, the best milk. Organic. Clean. Real food. Whatever you call it. I know how important nutrition is, but it is a big, expensive task to eat that way one hundred percent of the time. I remember feeling guilty when I'd buy a box of mac & cheese for Jude. But lately, I've given my nutrition-nut side a break. It's okay if Jude has mac & cheese in moderation. And if we eat processed food once in awhile, everything will still be okay. Health is important, but so is a sane Mama who doesn't spend all her time in the kitchen.
I've given up DIY projects. I could have taken the time to sew my couch pillows myself. But, instead I supported another Mama on Etsy. Right now, sewing just doesn't have a spot on my list of priorities. It is embarrassing the number of half-finished sewing projects I have laying around my house. It used to hang over my head. The scrapbook too. Each week that passes I get further and further behind. But now, I'm giving it up. It's okay that I have two un-finished baby blankets. And forget the scrapbook all together (hello snapfish photo books?). I am going to be okay with not focusing on this stuff right now.
I've given up having the best wardrobe. I have more solid colored t-shirts than I care to admit. But that is the wardrobe of a stay-at-home mom. When snot or spit or who-knows-what could ruin an outfit, looking cute isn't worth it. T-shirt and cardigan? Yes, please. And my hair is in a pony-tail 90% of the time. Such is life. It's okay.
I've given up doing it right by-the-books. I was asked recently by a new mama-to-be about any advice I had for babies. My advice was, don't listen to every piece of advice you get. The Lord gave us Mama's an intuition and nudges of the Spirit to guide us in what is best for our babies. Sure, advice is great and can be helpful, but don't feel like you're doing it wrong if you don't do it their way.
I've given up having a spotless house. This is easier for me than my husband. I'm the messy one in the family. But I still cringe at the thought of having people over and seeing my mess. That has been my struggle with hospitality. I feel like my house is never good enough. But I'm giving myself permission to not be good enough in this area. I focus on the basics. Dishes. Laundry. Sweeping the floor from time to time. But we have two babies. The house is going to be messy. And that is okay. And these days, if you come over, chances are you're going to see a messy house. I'm calling it an exercise in real hospitality.
Giving up good is not about laziness. It is about recognizing what is important in life and making room for it. It is about asking the Holy Spirit to lead the direction of your days and being willing to let go of, or push pause on, good things in order to do what is best. And giving ourselves grace and freedom to me imperfect. To let go of good so that we can seek and cling to truth.
I know I'm not the only one who has given up on doing-it-all. Or failed miserably trying to. What good have you let go of to make room for best?