Seeking Joy, Not Perfection

^^A typical Thursday morning at our home.  Levi beat me into Conrad's room to comfort him.  "Good morning, Baby Conrad!"^^

Over the last few weeks I've learned and re-learned invaluable lessons about myself, about motherhood.

My new mantra:
 Seek joy, not perfection.

In case you didn't already know: I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  My self-worth is directly tied to what I accomplish or check off my to-do list.  It's silly.  And it's a lie!    

Life is busy with three kids.  Lately, I've been in motion all day but my house looks like a tornado just crashed its way through.  Clutter.  Cheerios. Chaos.  Everywhere.  I have nothing to show for the hours I spend on my feet and I feel like a failure!  It's easy to do though when I've made a mental list of things I want to accomplish but somehow cannot get even one single thing done!  (Can anyone else out there relate?)

By society's standards I'm failing if my house isn't clean, if I haven't lost the baby weight in the first year, if my kids' nails are overgrown and dirty... and the list goes on.  It's too much pressure!  And it's all self-imposed.

Instead, I'm learning to let the laundry and the dishes pile up so that I can tackle something else.  Those other things are never-ending and will always be there.  Getting the closet cleaned out and organized lasts much longer and feels so satisfying.

I also need to concentrate on the things I do do well, like cooking dinner nearly every night!  We love our food around here.  So I'm pretty much just plain awesome.  (Thank you Amy and the Six Sister's Cookbook!)  And I'm slowly but surely getting back to the things that I personally love to do, such as a nice challenging bike ride.  Who cares how many calories I burned?  It's that post workout high that I'm after! 

The truth is, I love a clean home, but I love living life to its fullest more.  I love getting outside and spending quality time with my children--soaking in their smiles and laughs, looking them in the eye and studying their faces, and really REALLY getting to know who they are, whom their little souls were meant to become.  Okay.  Maybe that's too deep.  A lot of days I'm fine with just goofing off and having a little fun.

I am now officially giving myself permission to let giving my children what they need from me at the moment be my top priority, to let those other things fit where they fall.  I've noticed on those days when I feel like I play a little hookie from my daily housewife responsibilities to connect with my children (even for just 10 minutes at a time), to be more on their timetable instead of mine, that the laundry still gets done anyway and some of those other things on the to-do list suddenly seem a lot less important.

^^Morning sink bath with a big brother eager to help! That look of adoration Conrad commonly gives Levi is everything I could wish for them right now.^^

I want to revel in this season of life instead of impatiently waiting for my children to grow up so that I can get back to business.  So I'm waving the white flag.  Vigorously.  Toys strewn across the floor and constant distractions are just a part of this particular phase of life.  It won't last forever.  I want my family to remember how I made them feel, and I hope that they feel like they are the center of my whole world... because they are.

In addition, I think another big part of seeking joy is trying to do those little daily acts of service and faith that God wants me to do: praying with more sincerity, trying to listen more intently to the Holy Ghost, and reading my scriptures.  After all, isn't it the small things we do daily that ultimately shape our lives and who we are?  I want to live up to all that I was meant to be, to raise good and faithful men.  And I humbly need my Heavenly Father to help me in those endeavors.

I can't prove if this is coincidence or not, but Bron and I have been making an extra effort to read the Book of Mormon each night after the boys are in bed.  Amazingly, there is more peace in our home!  Jed and Levi are suddenly getting along.  It's crazy; I hope I'm not jinxing their peace streak.

 ^^Peacefully snoozing away in his Rock 'n Play for a nap.  He's nearly outgrown it!^^
^^Chillaxin' and watching Paw Patrol while I get ready for the day.  I've really enjoyed our slow mornings together when he doesn't have preschool.  He's such a happy helper!  Which brings us to the big debate: morning or afternoon kindergarten next year?  Even Levi doesn't know!  I guess whatever happens will wind up being good.^^


  1. A perfect mantra and one I need to keep on my mind too. I tend to get too caught up in everyday tasks, that at the end of the day I find myself wishing I had given more of my attention to my girls. Life is a difficult balancing act!

  2. Seeking joy, not perfection...I couldn't agree with you more. I'm a perfectionist too, and so I find myself being critical when I'm not able to accomplish everything on my list. Lately, my mantra has been work hard, play hard or play harder. Working full-time definitely keeps me busy (and tired), but I try to reserve just as much energy to be there to play with my little boy. I don't want him to remember me as simply a "working mom." I want him to remember me as someone fun, loving, and adventurous--someone that appreciates life and lives to the fullest. Keep on being the amazing mom that you are, Jessie. You will have no regrets because you live your life with purpose. XO.

  3. I'll add "perfectly imperfect" and "you are enough" to the "seek joy, not perfection." You hit the nail on the head, Jess. You're an awesome mom always putting your kids and husband first.


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