Leave it to becoming a mother to teach you how to let go of any perfectionism or OCD you might have. Now, I am by no means a perfectionist nor do I have OCD, you would know this if you came over right now, but I do have some weird quirks. One of which is when and how I consume food. Eating, to me, is not something I do because I need energy and nutrition, it’s a spiritual ritual that reminds me why life is worth living.
Okay I’m mostly kidding, but seriously guys, I love to eat and I am really particular about how it takes place. Ask my husband – if we’re going to watch a movie and we gather snacks to eat during the it, I will not allow the snacks to be eaten until the movie has started. Opening credits must be rolling before we dig in. Why? I don’t know, I think it’s an unfounded fear in the snacks running out before the movie is over, and lets be honest, I am watching the movie as an excuse to eat those snacks. I also rarely eat on the go. I will keep my bagel neatly wrapped in its foil until I can eat it while sitting down and sipping my now-lukewarm coffee.
All that is fine until you become a mom and realize that eating while sitting down is actually a luxury that is taken for granted by anyone who doesn’t have children. And recently, I’ve had some hangry outbursts at home. I honestly didn’t realize that I could get hangry, probably because I am almost always eating something (see above love for food). But the combination of my food quirk and motherhood is a perfect storm of hangriness. You could say “well Sharon, your baby is eating solids now, why not put him in his high chair and eat with him” and that would sound like a really great idea until you meet my kid. The moment he realizes he is buckled into anything and unable to move freely, he will scream and cry like he’s being carted off to solitary confinement for a year. If he’s unbuckled, well, this happens:
But today I had a breakthrough. I ate my lunch while sitting on the floor and playing with Miles. It wasn’t perfect, he wanted to taste some of it and got a little on the couch but there are have been worse things on our couch than lentils. It wasn’t relaxing, per se. But it was generally pleasant. It seems like such a small thing – realizing I can enjoy my meal while not sitting at the table relaxing over a book and pondering life’s unanswered questions, but to me it was a breakthrough moment and I was such a better mom for it. Today, Miles went down for his nap a little later than usual. If I had chosen to wait until he was asleep for my perfect meal experience, I would have been entering hangry territory and would not have been the mom I want to be.
Sometimes we need to let go of our expectations and just let life happen. Today I had to let go of a peaceful meal. But peace is something we can choose to have, no matter the circumstances surrounding us. My decision to eat in a less than perfect setting was ultimately a decision to be a more peaceful mom, and thus a better mom. It’s a beautiful thing when you realize that sometimes sacrificing what you want can actually make you happier.