“I’m afraid the land of perfect is a myth. We might feel we are skirting the borders with our dream, but the reality is those borders don’t exist because perfect doesn’t.” ~Quitter, Jon Acuff.

There is no such thing as perfect.

Perfect doesn’t exist.

Perfect is not an attainable goal.

Perfect is merely a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

This realization is the only way I make sense of my days. Because there is no such thing as “doing it all.” And especially no such thing as “doing it all perfectly.” By my third child I am convinced of this.

The only way this family finds love and laughter in the midst of our days is by being willing to let perfect trickle through our fingers like so much sandpit sand. We don’t have perfectly nutritious meals or perfectly put away laundry. We don’t have a perfectly tidy living room or perfectly educational days. We don’t have perfect bedtimes or perfect play dates. And we certainly don’t have perfect obedience or perfect parenting.

Three children have taught me that a content household is rarely ever a perfect one.

We keep pace with one another and sometimes that pace is slow. Sometimes it requires leaving that load of dry laundry to fend for itself while parents take rowdy boys to the pool. Sometimes it requires compromising on the pasta sauce in order to get a boy’s tummy full of pasta.

For a work-at-home mom it often requires a certain degree of playroom chaos in order to have a happy work environment for kids and mom. And at the end of long days letting go of perfect means releasing my family from heavy sighs and irritable grunts at the state of the house. Instead, I’ve learned that if we created the chaos together it’s good for us to clean it up together. And that it may not be perfect if a six-year-old and three-year-old are my cleaning companions – but that the company’s willingness is worth more than a perfect end result.

Sometimes I still miss it – at least the illusion of perfect. And then a baby gurgles up at me, a boy blows me bedtime kisses from his bed stuffed full of a random collection of transformers that should have been in the play room, stuffed toys that should have been on his shelf, and snail shells that should have been outside, and my heart relaxes and I remember what I traded perfect for – a house full of real.

And perfect is rarely as interesting as real.

{Photos: From the trees above my dad’s driveway in South Africa.}
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