Mediocrity gets such a bad reputation.
As an overly ambitious teenager, I viewed mediocrity as a disappointment. It meant that I didn’t stand out from the crowd and that I hadn’t tried hard enough. Mediocrity meant that I had fallen short of my goals. Settling for average meant wasting my talents and equaled laziness on my part. Ironically, my great sense of ambition left me full of stress and exhaustion, but I believed that I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t excel at a wide range of activities.
As a parent, I am constantly bombarded with images of what I should be doing for my children.
Magazines and Pinterest constantly showcase immaculately clean houses, elaborate birthday parties, and children’s food that is fancier than what you can get at a restaurant. As a mother who hates packing school lunches, those fancy foods are just never going to happen in my household. Instead, I help my kids decorate sugar cookies for all their favorite holidays, which is something we all enjoy. Also, my kids and I like eating the finished product!
I also embrace mediocrity in my housework. Before kids, I kept my house cleaner and more organized. Even when my first child was small, I spent a lot of time and energy picking up after him. Now, I realize that it’s a waste of my time to constantly pick up all the toys. I encourage my children to pick up after themselves even though they are far from thorough. At least they are learning some responsibility for their possessions. I have also decided that in order to save myself a lot of hard work and stress, I am only throwing simple birthday parties for my children.
After all, a simple party with a happy, calm mother beats a fancy party with a stressed out mother monster!
After graduating from college, I was very unhappy in my job. In the end, I quit my job, got a Master’s degree in a different field, and then immediately had two children. Now I am a stay-at-home mom and church organist. While I love spending so much time with my family, I often struggle with the feeling that I am wasting my education. Deep down, I know that I can always find my way back into the career field when my children are older.
I just struggle with the fact that I can’t do anything to change the situation right now.
Recently, I saw an exhibit about Grandma Moses at the Shelburne Museum. Anna Mary Robertson Moses was a famous American folk artist. Although she had dabbled in painting throughout her life, she only began her painting career at the age of 78. Perhaps I can figure out my career goals by that point in my life! I just need to have a little more patience with myself.
My current philosophy is to excel only in what I enjoy.
It’s so much easier to practice something that I already love doing anyway. If you really hate doing something, like packing school lunches, don’t waste too much time worrying about it. Embrace mediocrity! It’s all right to finish a job as soon as it’s minimally acceptable.