OTHER TITLES I CONSIDERED FOR THIS POST:

Focusing on What Matters

Moving Beyond Perfection

The Joy of a Thick Black Pen (My favorite, but those naughty people using the Google search engines would’ve been unspeakably disappointed to land here.)

What is this post about? While going through the linen closet, I happened upon a small beach towel I bought our oldest, Sam, when he was two or three. He’s too tall for the towel now and so is Rebecca, but our youngest, Elissa, is the perfect size.

Once upon a time, I would have been mortified to send Elissa out in public with this towel. Now I simply can’t get overworked about things like properly monogrammed pool gear.

In all seriousness, that towel represents a parenting breakthrough for me. It demonstrates how deeply I accept things I didn’t “get” the first or even second time around. The towel shows me how much I’ve stopped getting distracted by things that JUST DON’T MATTER.

What matters most is that our children are good people, that they know how to treat others, and that they’re safe, healthy, and developing as a members of the community. The rest of it is hogwash—it being the material side of it all like finding the perfect duvet cover for a new bed or buying the cutest backpack. There are other distractions too like making sure they’re in the “right” extra-curricular activities at ALL times and other categories that really come down to worrying about what people think/keeping up with what you think you’re supposed to be doing as the “perfect” parent.

Of course there’s still one subject that I allow myself to obsess over: BABY NAMES! Now that I’ve officially shared my kids’ names on this blog for the first time, I can get my “What am I Supposed to Name Baby #4?” post ready. Until next time . . .

Nina πŸ™‚

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and Great New Books. Her essays have been published regularly at Brain Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, Kveller, The Jewish Daily Forward, and have appeared at On Being, Motherwell, Modern Loss, Today Show Parenting, Scary Mommy, and elsewhere. She's a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio, and she lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.