good life with jenahlee chamberlain
Part of cultivating a good life is realizing that your best is always good enough.
This time of year is a time of reflection for me. May is not a very typical time for reflecting, but as an elementary school teacher librarian, my life really runs more on a school year than a calendar year. So as the school year winds down, I always try to take a little time to look back on the past “year.” During this reflection time, I typically think about a lot of the things you would expect: What went well? What didn’t? What would I change and ultimately what are my goals for next year? This year I have found that my reflection has been about much more than my job as a teacher, but I have also been reflecting on the past nine months or so of my other full time job — mom.
As I was thinking back, I started to really get down on myself. Coming off my previous year of teaching and life, I really felt like I had dropped the ball as teacher, librarian, and mother. I mean 2015-2016 was a banner year for me. I was making waves in my job, coming up with amazing lessons and projects for my students to create and share, mostly keeping up at home and just feeling pretty great overall about where I was headed. Flash forward to 2016-17 and I wasn’t doing all the same things I had managed to do the year before and I felt like I was mostly drowning all the time at school and at home.
I started off this school year a little differently than past years. I had a baby. Not my first, not my second but my third baby in less than 4 years. Probably not the best timing for a teacher, but hey, God has plans right? The past 9 months have been a whirlwind to say the least and to all my fellow moms out there, I’m sure you can relate! My life has been mostly chaos since having children but more so this past year. I live in survival mode the majority of the time — my house is messy, dishes pile up in my sink more often than not, and home cooked meals are few and far between.
As I have continued to reflect over the past few weeks and as I started preparing to write this post, my thinking began to shift from guilt to acceptance. Yes, I feel like a crazy person most of the time, but rather than get down on myself, I came to the conclusion that I really wouldn’t change anything about the past year. Sure, I’d love to have my house be clean all the time, prepare home cooked meals, and get a workout in every now and then, but that just didn’t happen and that’s OK! We all do the best we can everyday; it just might fluctuate a bit (or a lot) from time to time.
So here is my “AH HA” moment and what has taken me a lot of reflecting to realize. Our “best” is changing all the time and it takes on many forms. Sometimes our best is getting one load of laundry done, eating something healthy, and making it through bedtime without wanting to rip out our hair. Other days our best is just getting through the day without crying our eyes out because we feel like the worst mom and teacher ever. And maybe, just maybe, it’s only eating half a bag of chips rather than the whole darn thing after a rough day and then catching ourselves smiling at the realization that we have three beautiful children, we have kept them alive so far, and life is pretty darn good.
Wherever your best falls on the spectrum from day to day, you did it, you made it through, and remember your best is ALWAYS good enough! With that, I will leave you with this quote I came across that made me feel like a human, if only for a little while.
“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. . . . Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation. . . Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.” –Anne Lamott, novelist and non-fiction writer.
Jenahlee Chamberlain is part of our Creative Team using the physical products. She currently resides in Iowa and her family consists of her husband Todd, her three children — Lincoln (4), Sloan (2), Sawyer (9 months), and their Great Dane Rhea (7).