We just celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada, and in my Facebook memories, was some pictures of Elizabeth that we took last year in our bedroom. Using props I had, we did a last minute photo shoot, capturing her chubby cuteness at six months.
The backstory to those photos? I’d had a text conversation with my sister-in-law and she asked if I had taken any cute pictures with the fall leaves and my little girl. I immediately felt, “NO! I hadn’t!” As guilt washed over this new mom, I wondered where my head had been. The leaves outside were all gone. I’d taken multiple photos on my phone daily, but hadn’t done ANY on my camera or set up something cute with her to capture the season of color and thanks.
I felt miserable. Competitive. Down on myself. My sis wasn’t intending that by her comment, she was just asking! But the competitive slightly perfectionist nature in me was awash with heated guilt.
So, what did I do? I pulled together a photo shoot using what we had and we captured some adorable photos. I was SO thankful my sister had said something. Since all the leaves outside had already disappeared, we made this work inside.
Fast-forward to this year, when E is 18-months-old and I’m 25 weeks pregnant with another girl. I said to my husband, “I just want SOMETHING!” So what did we do?
We took ten minutes to freshen up. I chose outfits that semi-matched. And we pushed the stroller to some nearby trees, set up the timer, and caught a few pictures on the windy Thanksgiving Monday.
It wasn’t perfect. I didn’t pay a photographer hundreds of dollars to get the best photos. We worked with what we had and I was okay with that.
What has happened to me?
Perhaps it’s been a year of slooooooooowly letting go of needing to be the best at it all and trying to stay in my lane. Yes, professional staged pictures would’ve been lovely. But that is NOT what determines my love for my daughter. She will not look back someday and think, “Oh my goodness, Mom, this was the best you could do for me?!”
Because that’s what it was a year ago. I felt like because I hadn’t thought of a great idea, my love for my daughter was somehow shadowed. I rated myself and her perception of me (ahem, you six month old!), by the standard of perfection I was keeping up in my head.
Another way I let go lately was after one month of doing kefir water at home (because many of my friends were doing it)… I quit. I thought it would be “good” for us. At that point we already had EIGHT bottles in the fridge that we just weren’t consuming fast enough. And every 48 hours I’d have to refresh my little wee grains with sugar and water and I dreaded it every time. Why am I doing this to myself?! Our digestion had been fine. I really wasn’t a big juice drinker to begin with. So, I let go. This just isn’t working for me. And it was such a surprising freeing decision!
2 Corinthians 10:12 admonishes us against comparison and its foolishness, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
I find it so refreshing when other Moms and women admit, “I’m just not good at that.” Or “That doesn’t work for me!”
Well, here I am. Admitting, I’ve tried. And it just doesn’t work for me anymore. Sometimes done is good enough. And all the time, my 100%, love-you-with-all-I-have love is enough. And my lane? It’s just right for me. And so is yours.
What do you need to let go of today?