I’d say Jill Savage wrote “No More Perfect Moms” just for me, but as part of the book’s launch team and Holley Gerth‘s God-sized Dream Team, I’ve learned I’m not alone in both craving perfection and wanting to rid my life of perfection. It’s in this spirit of community I’ve invited fellow mommas to share their imperfect lives this week.
Also this week you can have a “mom university” delivered right to your computer when you buy Jill Savage’s “No More Perfect Moms.” Buy the book and receive FREE resources worth more than $100. This works if you buy the Kindle version too. Here is the list of what you’ll get when you email your receipt to NoMorePerfectMoms@moody.edu.
Jenn King is here today sharing a glimpse into her life. And today is her birthday! Jenn and I became friends a couple years ago because we kept running into each other around our small town at birthday parties, in the preschool hallway, and when we picked up our CSA vegetables. My life is richer with her in it.
I’ve spent more time thinking about lunchboxes than I like to admit. I bought my kindergartner a fancy monogrammed one at least 6 months before she started school. She would have been happy with the tin Hello Kitty option from Walmart, but no, I needed her to have the state-of-the art Land’s End Cadillac of lunchboxes.
Only the best container would suffice for all of the whole-grain, organic, junk-free goodness I would lovingly create for her each morning. And for the first couple months of school, we all had what we needed and wanted: Chloe was happy taking her lunch and eating whatever I packed, and I was proud to tell whoever would listen that my daughter took her lunch every day. Each afternoon on the way home from school I would ask Chloe who she sat with at lunch and what the other kids near her had brought. Knowing that the lunch-bringers sat down together before the lunch-buyers, I made secret mental notes of which moms devoted the time to sending lunch. Those were the lucky kids, I thought. The kids I wanted my kid to befriend.
And then it happened. Chloe got in the car one afternoon, probably in October, and said she wanted to buy her lunch the following day. Pizza Day. I’m not exaggerating, I was devastated. At first I told her I would think about it; Daddy and I would talk about it; the three of us would discuss our options. And then I couldn’t hold my tongue. Bringing lunch is so much healthier, I say. It’s so much better for you. The school pizza is a greasy, fatty mess.
And don’t even get me started on the accompaniments. Sidekicks? What the heck are sidekicks? They’re french fries, Chloe tells me, but she doesn’t like them because they’re too crunchy. Well, at least I can hang my hat on that! But then she says my fries are much better, and it’s at that point that I know this is much bigger than cheese pizza. I don’t think I’ve ever made fries, so I know she’s just trying to make me feel better. I take a deep breath and tell Chloe she can buy pizza. She is pleased, and I am left to sift through what’s really going on with my (over)reaction to her request.
Turns out, I am a food snob and I totally judge people’s food choices. Ask my husband about the Diet Coke death glare. And the arguments over him not liking asparagus or goat cheese. And let’s not forget the times I would have rather gone hungry than order Dominoes or succumb to the golden arches. Add to the eating-habit judgments a large dose of control-freakishness and self-doubt, and you have a recipe for disaster.
I used to pride myself on being a foodie. I would turn my nose up at the local restaurant options and insist on making everything I could from scratch. But when the Pizza Day drama brought everything to a head, I realized that my beliefs about food and how I should feed my family were keeping me from being the person I want to be. And I finally admitted that I don’t like myself very much when I’m trapped inside my need to be perfect and feed just right. There’s a reason I live in town where you can’t get a good burger or a homemade tortilla. There’s a reason some of my very best friends use mixes to make brownies and others hand their kids a bag of chips at snack time. There’s a reason the love of my life recently requested that I make corn dog casserole and chicken fingers. And there’s a reason Chloe’s lunch bag almost had to be thrown away recently because of an applesauce explosion.
I am not supposed to judge, and I am not supposed to hold myself and others to ridiculous standards of perfection. It’s OK if it’s not organic. And if every plate I serve isn’t overloaded with Super Foods. Sitting with my family and laughing while enjoying some Sonic corn dogs is a heck of a lot healthier than me yelling at my husband for wanting said corn dogs and forcing a my 4-year old to choke back one more kale chip. I don’t want someone to like me or my kid because of which lunchbox she has, and I don’t want my kids to feel like my love depends on what they want for breakfast.
Since my food-related come-to-Jesus, new gastronomic adventures have become available to me, right here in our little town: There’s a place where I can order healthy stuff in bulk, a group of juicers I may join, and Kroger even got a sushi bar. I like to think these changes waited for me to be ready for them. I’ve also discovered an even cooler lunch box, and I will probably go ahead and buy it. But I don’t feel like it has to be used every day. In fact, today’s not even Pizza Day and Chloe wants to buy her lunch. I’m saying yes to chicken nuggets (they come with a whole grain roll, after all!) and I’m not worrying a thing about it. But you’d better believe tonight we’re eating in!
Jenn is a 36-year-old mother of three lively daughters, ages 6, 4 and 13 months. She and her husband chose the small (to them!) town of Murray, KY to grow their marriage and their children, create a home and build a neurology private practice, in that order. Jenn doesn’t work outside the home, but there’s not much staying in the house involved, either! She enjoys being in community, cooking, creating any- and everything, and capturing life through picture-taking.
Disclaimer: Compensated affiliate link used, but most of you know by now that embracing imperfection is the theme of my year and “No More Perfect Moms” has been a huge part of that. Want more? Subscribe to get “Insights” in your inbox. Or follow me on Twitter.