I like to (half) joke that my call in motherhood is to lower the bar for anyone else that's having a bad day. Okay maybe it's not even half a joke.
I mean it.
But to be fair and far more diplomatic, I usually phrase it as freedom. For example, "If I don't bathe my kids today will that give someone else some freedom?" (Almost always the answer is yes. Funny how that happens.)
Other things I do badly:
-Answer calls and texts.
-Proofread. (Sorry guys, life's short.)
-For that matter, domestic pursuits of almost any kind.
...And the list goes on and on. Basically, if I ever write a book it will be an expert's guide on managing expectations.
But here is why: I believe some times good enough means bad.
There are some things that have to be done, but by no means have to be done well and every moment that we save on these activities transfers to time on something more valuable.
For example: If I actually responded to the 15 calls and 24 text messages I get everyday I would be able to spend only a fraction of the time I am actually with people looking them in the eye and engaging. So I purposely do it badly.
So to help you out, I'm going to teach you how to do a bad job, good enough. (I'm helpful like that.)
1. Set the Standard.
Listen, if you have poked around in your life, your heart, and your faith and found that you just can't find a way to make precious dolphins swimming in seas of grapes for near monthly classroom parties a priority in your life, fine. That's just fine. But you have to be the one to set the standard.
"I'm happy to bring a bunch of banana's as a snack, probably still in the (plastic) bag from the grocery store. The kids can practice their motor skills pulling them apart and peeling them."
See? You decide. Then you make clear what you won't do.
2. Don't Apologize.
A wise woman told me once to only apologize when you have compromised your integrity or your character, anything else cheapens the real thing.
Not up for scrubbing toilets every single day? That's okay. Me Either. But it's your choice and you aren't taking responsibility for it if you are constantly excusing it.
I realized a few years ago that I had to stop saying I was sorry for not having make-up on. I don't love to wear it and therefore rarely do, I just thought I was supposed to. At one point I realized, I'm not really sorry, because I'm not really going to change this.
Now, just as a side note, the closest people in your life will probably already know why you are doing something badly, but it is okay to explain. Go ahead and let the regulars in on your choices and why. My friends don't expect me to answer their calls or texts, but they also know I probably won't even have my phone, much less be looking at it when I'm with them.
3. Give Grace.
Okay, you've done it right. You have set the standard low in your chosen area. You bit your tongue to bleeding to stop yourself from apologizing.
Now comes the hard part.
Get off everyone else's back.
Maybe you do proofread every sentence of every email and text you send. (My husband does. He also reads directions. I'll never understand.) That is a place you have chosen excellence. Great. Someone else hasn't. Great.
Somewhere, you are dropping the ball on something that really matters to someone else. And they are doing the same to you. Stepping into intentionally slacking off means that you'll gain much greater compassion for others.
Doing badly paints a broader picture.
It gives you a living illustration of opportunity cost.
A Little Secret? There's something you are already doing poorly at. It's probably not something important to you, maybe not even on your radar.
I encourage you to find out what it is, not to discourage you, but to inform you. More importantly, to inform your compassion.
To acknowledge shortcomings in something of value to someone else it to pour out compassion to them. It's an offering of freedom.
I challenge you today to find the area where you need to let off the gas, or an area that's been neglected and treat it with intention. Claim it, name it, and offer it up.