A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Good Enough: Suggestions for Balancing Your Precious Time

People who are just getting to know me typically assume three things: 1) I was a cheerleader in high school, 2) I was in a sorority in college, and 3) I’m a perfectionist.

None of these are actually true. While most people are surprised to hear that my perky personality didn’t translate into traditional school spirit, they downright refuse to believe that I’m not a perfectionist.

I take this as a good sign that my plan is working. I’m not trying to fool people into believing I’m something I’m not. Rather, I deliberately choose what will get my full attention with Grade A effort and what won’t. My former boss will tell you that I was a model employee, but my husband will tell you that “It’s good enough,” is one of my favorite phrases at home.

I’m sure a lot of you make similar trade offs. And if you don’t, maybe you should.

For a study called The Mosaic Project, time management expert Laura Vanderkam asked successful working mothers (who earned at least $100,000 a year) to keep time diaries. One key takeaway from the women who efficiently managed their time is to budget it, like we do our money. This makes sense. Time is a valuable, finite resource; how we use it needs to be prioritized.

I wonder, though, how many of the women in the study and how many of us at large do this unapologetically, without feeling compelled to justify the areas for which we choose not to give our full effort.

For example, the weekend before Thanksgiving, my family and I rented a house with a group of friends to celebrate “Friendsgiving,” a tradition we started long before children entered the picture. It just so happens that this year we would also be together on Thanksgiving Day, and I was hosting. That meant I had a lot of cooking and cleaning ahead of me, so I strategically chose to make a simple side dish for Friendsgiving — stuffing right from the box.

With a glass of wine in hand, I watched my friends spend the day in the kitchen making their various specialties, and I couldn’t help but feel bad, like I was somehow cheating. No one else seemed to care that I was shirking responsibilities on Friendsgiving, but I called it out repeatedly over the weekend.

I’m done with that now. I’m embracing my Good Enough approach to life without guilt.

I’ll continue to wash all of my family’s clothes in cold water without sorting them. I still won’t attempt to make adorable crafts with my kids. I will wait too long between haircuts for myself and my children. I will run out of milk, but somehow have seven cans of tuna fish in the pantry. I will forget to pick up the dry cleaning, and I will always be frantically rushing us out of the house to make it to school on time.

I figure if my household duties are only getting, say, 80 percent effort, then I can dedicate the remaining 20 percent to the things that really need my full attention – like holding steady against an epic tantrum or mustering enough patience to help my kids constructively work out a toy-sharing conflict.

Everything else probably isn’t getting done, at least not that day.

After all, even the people who thought I was a perfectionist never expected me to be perfect. Perfection is a moving target. But hitting the mark about 80 percent of the time? I can do that, and I’ll feel good about it.

This is another tip that Vanderkam recommends — looking at time in the big picture, instead of measuring it as 24 hours in a day. One of my first mentors gave me similar advice years ago. She admitted to having weeks or even months when work was her primary focus. Then, when the hectic period ended, she devoted more time to her family. She forgave herself the nights she worked late because it balanced out in the long run.

Research supports the idea that there’s no right amount of time to spend with our kids. It’s about how we spend it, and the relationship we’re developing with them while we spend it. Making it home in time for dinner is nice. But ignoring the family to respond to work emails may not be as helpful as coming home later and spending focused time putting the kids to bed.

You should be proud of the kick ass job you’re doing at whatever you deem important and allow yourself to be much less than perfect at everything else. This way, you won’t be half-assing your responsibilities. You’ll be four-fifthsing them on average, and, I promise you, that really is good enough.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

You might also like:

Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

You might also like:

When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

You might also like:

The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.