Sure, you could always be more organized, more cheerful, more on top of every little detail. But you're not a Mombot, thank goodness, and no one (except, perhaps, you!) expects you to be. Below, we've rounded up 31 things among hundreds that you can give yourself leeway to do—without the burden of even one ounce of stress.
1. Taking a vacation with only your husband.
It's such a tragedy for the kids to spend time with their superindulgent grandparents! Besides, they'll benefit from you two not giving each other the stink eye during dinner.
2. Feeling smug that you're a better parent than those on Supernanny.
No worries. We all feel smug watching Supernanny. Until we don't, at which time we employ her techniques.
3. Not signing up to be class parent.
Think of it this way: Your ability to say no to volunteer tasks you can't handle will leave you better able to concentrate on what only you can do, like getting your kids fed, dressed and onto the bus. Some days, that's huge!
4. Yelling at your son when he actually didn't do anything wrong.
Sure, not a great move, but it's a good opportunity to show him that even you screw up sometimes, and that saying sorry really does help make it better.
5. Enjoying your work.
You can love your kids and still have that "Thank God It's Monday" feeling, well, every Monday. Especially after a long and dreary winter weekend.
6. Buying your daughter the generic UGGs.
She'll live without the label, even if she thinks she will not, and her tootsies will be just as toasty.
7. Buying yourself the real ones.
You treat your shoes better than your kid does, and you won't outgrow them. Plus, they're really cute. Being the wage earner has its perks.
8. Giving him the answer to the last problem on his math homework.
He'll get more practice with the teacher in school.
9. Dipping into your son's goody bag when he isn't looking.
What's a funsize Snickers between family members?
10. Not going in the pool with them.
Chlorine does a real number on your hair, and besides, that's what dads are for.
11. Accepting your son's compliment that you're a good cook.
You did your part, even when he's eating pre-breaded microwave chicken breasts. You pressed "Start."
12. Wiping your daughter's nose with a panty liner.
It was the closest thing to a tissue you had in your purse. For heaven's sake—it was clean!
13. Stashing the Häagen-Dazs in the back of the freezer, and showcasing the supermarket brand.
If they're not ready to dig, they're not ready to appreciate the premium stuff.
14. Closing the bedroom door in their little faces.
You did not magically lose your need for privacy when you gave birth. If someone's bleeding or not breathing, by all means, they can knock.
15. Giving in once in a while.
It can be a wise parental trade-off, especially if what you're acceding to will buy you a few minutes of quiet time, private time or time to regroup. You don't need to be perfectly consistent.
16. Making your daughter get down from the top of the monkey bars
Yes, she's done it a million times safely, and she'll likely do it again, but it makes you nervous. Your comfort level counts, too!
17. Making the grandparents take them to "Disney on Ice."
It's torture for you, but for them, it's a future memory they'll cherish forever. What's the problem?
18. Tossing their artwork.
After you've saved the truly superior thumb pots and the especially sentimental glitter collages, you will still have a heap of crafts the size of Mount Etna. Fill up a big black Hefty bag after they're asleep, pour yourself some wine, and then watch Hoarders. You'll feel better instantly.
19. Being psyched that the best friend you never liked has moved to another state.
You're not happy your daughter is upset, of course, and you'll help her through it. But being secretly pleased that you won't ever have to host Little Miss Caitlin-Who-Gets-to-Wear-Belly-Shirts for a sleepover again doesn't make you a bad person.
20. Neglecting to videotape his role as "third planet from the sun" in the school solar-system pageant.
There will be other, more important achievements and you can bet your son won't notice.
21. Letting it slip that the tooth fairy was actually her daddy.
You didn't destroy her childhood innocence. You let her in on a grown-up secret that she must never, ever tell her little brother, which makes her feel mature and important.
22. Knowing you could go months without sex, without even missing it.
Guilt about not feeling frisky makes you even less so. So your libido isn't what it used to be when you had no children to wear you out by 9 p.m. If you can remain open to the idea of sex, and get into it when you can, that's fine until things change. Which they probably will as your children get older.
23. Only pretending to be sad that your child's birthday falls in mid-August.
No gigantic birthday parties, full of political decisions as to whom to invite.
24. Reading this article.
You can relax every once and awhile instead of soliciting donations for the PTA auction, cultivating your organic vegetable garden or cleaning out that kitchen drawer with the random rubber bands, screwdrivers and old keys in it. Even machines need to unplug and reboot every so often.
25. Sitting and reading.
You do not need to be on the treadmill in your first free 20 minutes in three days. You'll exercise at the next break in the action when you can.
26. Looking forward to guys' weekend even more than your husband.
It's so much easier sometimes to just take care of stuff by yourself without having to take someone else's opinion into account. Plus, a little time apart is never a bad thing.
27. Not allowing ear piercings
At least until the age at which you were allowed to. Just because.
28. Finding aspects of motherhood incredibly tedious.
If you didn't find watching your child go down the slide for the 100th time that day ("Mom, look at meeee!") or nagging him to put his socks in the hamper a bit of a snooze, you'd be too easily amused and hence a moron.
29. Noticing the hot dad at drop-off.
Ahem, you have eyes in your head, and (sex drive or no) you're not dead yet! Did you lick him? No? You're okay.
30. Still being really PO'd about the stretch marks.
Not loving your stretch marks is perfectly normal and doesn't call your parenting—or love for your child—into question.
31. Forgetting to lay out her best outfit for school photo days.
Years from now, you'll appreciate seeing her as the adorable, rough-and-tumble tomboy she really was—instead of some dolled-up version of herself.