Letting Go of Perfect takes a Village

Reality hit me hard after abdominal surgery. Suddenly, everything seemed impossible and I realized with new clarity why they call it your “core”.

I know that moms joke, tongue in cheek, about how hard it is to maintain any semblance of balance between raising kids, caring for a household, and making sure everyone gets fed. That and about eleven billion other things, right? I also know that a lot of us function infinitely better when the kitchen is presentable – and the kitchen sink is clean.

Throw in a core that can’t do much of anything for up to six weeks? That’s a recipe for disaster, anxiety, and a kitchen that could be classified as needing a HAZMAT decontamination team.

Thankfully, I have an amazing village.

My husband handled everything for the first week after my surgery. While I don’t remember much of that first week, I’m fairly certain he did a fantastic job. I do remember that he was ready to go back to work after that, though! Next, my sister flew 2,000 miles to come help out for a week. She cooked, she cleaned, and she helped take care of the kids. She joked it was better than birth control.

After that, I got the doctor’s okay to at least lift my baby girl.

And once my sister left, I relied on neighbors and friends to rescue me from the occasional crisis. Like the time my youngest boy climbed into the crib that’s placed precariously close to the stair banister. I couldn’t lift him out – and then he wanted to try flying into the basement. Thank the Lord for text messages, good friends who come over immediately, and a toddler who chose this particular instance to listen!

As the days passed by, I found myself living with an ever-increasing mess caused by the simple reality of being unable to do it all – or even very much. Especially since I was still healing from surgery!

As the mess increased, I became both more anxious and apathetic about it. Anxious because the mess was spreading… And apathetic because if there was very little I could do about it, why should I bother doing anything about it?

That’s when my village came to my rescue again.

My husband, sister, and friends each reminded me that doing all I could was enough. Some days “enough” meant unloading 3 bowls from the dishwasher, cleaning up a dozen toys, then taking the kids to get a few groceries before collapsing back onto the couch. And some days it meant all we did was watch Moana sixty-four times in a row while snuggling and eating on the couch.

Each day I tried to do more in some way – and then be content knowing that I’d reached my “enough”. Even so, things got harder as the mess once again tried to take over my home.

Then my friend, who totally understands my “everything is okay as long as the kitchen sink is clean” mentality came over, did my dishes, and tidied my kitchen.

And every day, my village continues to remind me that my best, no matter what that means, is good enough.

“Perfect” may not be possible in this lifetime. But with some amazing family, friends, and the villages we build for ourselves standing by our sides, I can promise you that happiness is.

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Kimberly C. Starr

I'm a ginger who loves reading, eating, being a nurse, spending time with my family, and writing about it all. I believe humor is the best medicine, followed very closely by chocolate and tacos. To read more about me, click here.

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