Do you ever feel that when Jessie Spano had her epic meltdown on Saved by the Bell, she might have been speaking to how her viewers would feel years later when they became parents of small children?
“No time! Never any time! I don’t have time to study. I’ll never get into Stanford!”
I feel that way sometimes (well, except I’m not really worried about getting into Stanford) when all the tasks of work and parenthood seem like too much. If you remember the episode, Type A Jessie overwhelms herself by trying to be perfect at everything. She can’t accept earning a B instead of an A. Then, her caffeine pill addiction spirals out of control until A.C. Slater, pleated acid wash jeans and all, intervenes with the help of Zack Morris.
(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)
Sometimes I feel like I really have it together. I mailed Christmas cards early. My children are fed and have clean clothes. I cook legit dinners a few times a week. I make it to work on time.
But there are many, many moments when any semblance of perfection flies right out the window. I wiped my baby’s nose with my bare hand in front of her daycare provider last week, then proceeded to analyze my action over the next hour. Does this woman think I’m the most disgusting person ever? For the record, I did wash my hands thoroughly a few minutes later.
If there is one thing we can learn from Jessie Spano is to cut ourselves some slack. Perfection cannot be the goal for everything. Something has to give!
Sometimes I need to park my kids in front of cartoons so my house isn’t completely filthy. Sometimes I need to say no to a volunteering opportunity to just stay home for a couple of hours. Sometimes my baby uses a pacifier so we can sleep at night and I bribe my three-year-old with candy to clean up her toys. Sometimes I have a baby bottle in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
We have to prioritize, be kind to ourselves, stop judging others, and be willing to say no without feeling tremendous guilty. I am working on all of these things as I try to remind myself daily that doing my very best is enough. And if all else fails, let’s launch into our best version of “I’m So Excited” and wait for Zack Morris and his huge cell phone show up before we pop that second caffeine pill.