23/10/2015 12:11 BST | Updated 23/10/2016 06:12 BST

Sometimes That'll Do Is All You've Got

When we're all tired and the baby is screaming and the three-year-old is hungry and I've got a cough and I resort to cereal for tea (then compensate by giving them fruit for pudding which they don't eat but it makes me feel better) I know it's not ideal but it's enough. That'll do.

I never had much of a need for that'll do before I became a parent.

There was no 'that'll do' during my schooldays when I was the geekiest child (I was a straight A student, I did extra homework for fun and aside from the beautifully brainy boy in my maths class I never so much as looked at the opposite sex until I was fifteen and had started dabbling in hair mascara and Smirnoff Ices and tops from Tammy girl).

There was no 'that'll do' at University either when I was hell-bent on getting a First class honours degree and would crawl into 9am lectures with the mother of all hangovers because the thought of borrowing somebody else's notes just wouldn't do.

There certainly wasn't room for 'that'll do' when, as a graduate, I joined the Fast Track scheme of a bank and spent my days seeking to prove to myself (and everybody else) that I deserved to be 'fast tracked'.

I gave it my all. All of it. I gave it all my all.

Motherhood, I anticipated, would be no different. I would invest the same level of time, energy and get-up-and-go that I'd successfully displayed in the preceding twenty-five years. I'd no doubt feel an element of healthy competition when surrounded by other mothers and my desire to do my best, to be the best would see me through. I would totally boss it.

And I have totally bossed it and been a fucking legend of motherhood ever since.

The end.

Just kidding. You see, I have done a bit of a U Turn on my aversion to that'll do since becoming a mum. A gradual one, it has to be said. I wanted so badly to be the best, to get glowing reviews, to get Straight A grades in Baking, Housewifery and Motherly Amazingness but it turns out it wasn't as simple as that. Or as easy.

It was much harder.

I just couldn't maintain the same get-up-and-go. My get-up-and-go got up and went and now when it periodically returns I appreciate it, I think YES this is a good day and I am doing a good job.

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On the other days I am plodding. I have never been a plodder but I'm starting to think that there is something to be said for plodding. That'll do has become part of my life. Not because I'm lazy, or because I'm happy to settle for a compromise but because sometimes it's all I can manage.

When the house is an absolute shit tip and I do the one-minute Express Baby Wipe of all surfaces and run the hoover around just the visible bits of the floor I know it's not ideal but it's enough. That'll do.

When we're all tired and the baby is screaming and the three-year-old is hungry and I've got a cough and I resort to cereal for tea (then compensate by giving them fruit for pudding which they don't eat but it makes me feel better) I know it's not ideal but it's enough. That'll do.

When I wake up with grand plans to take them to the beach and run around with our arms outstretched like aeroplane wings but then for one reason or another we end up at the park AGAIN before coming home to watch Paw Patrol AGAIN I know it's not ideal but it's enough. That'll do.

It's an interesting feeling. To settle for less, to settle for not being the best, to type message after message of responses back to mums who tell me they are 'terrible parents.' They are not terrible parents, I tell them. They are doing their best. Sometimes your best is not ideal but it's enough.

That'll do.

All hail the plodding.