When the Bare Minimum is the Best You’ve Got

I’m finding it difficult to go above and beyond lately. Give 110%. Excel. Overachieve. Be a super mom. Cultivate a Pinterest- and social-media-perfect life. Do anything out of the ordinary.

Honestly, I’m finding it difficult to just maintain the regular status quo.

I’m forgetting appointments and deadlines. We are out of milk. I can’t remember the last time my kid took a bath. Peanut butter sandwiches are menu staples when I’m in charge of meals. Did I brush my hair this morning? The wet clothes in the washer have been there for five days. I forget to text or call people back. Did you have a birthday recently? Happy belated birthday! I haven’t vacuumed in ages and who knows when I last cleaned the shower. Even this blog post is nine days late.

The bare minimum is all I’ve got right now.

I’m not talking about the bare minimum approach to parenting or a minimalist lifestyle where I thank my knickknacks for the joy they brought me as I pitch them in the donation bag.

I’m talking dictionary definition.

Bare-minimum. (n.). The smallest possible quantity or the least fulfilling, but still adequate, condition that is required, acceptable, or suitable for some purpose.

It’s tiring, frustrating, super unfulfilling, and a bit depressing at times. Do I want to be able to do more? Play with my daughter more? Have a clean house? Look put together? Make healthy, well-balanced, made-from-scratch meals? Absolutely.

But right now that’s not in the cards.

I need to let go of my feelings of inadequacy. My family is healthy, fed, clothed, happy, and exceedingly well loved.

And if that’s my bare minimum right now, then I think I’m doing okay.


Caroline is an Arizona native who moved to Iowa in 2007 ‘for love.’ She and her husband live in Coralville with their 8-year-old daughter. Caroline works full-time at the University of Iowa and recently earned her MA in Higher Education Administration. Caroline is a self-taught sewer, fabric hoarder, Starbucks lover, wannabe graphic designer, and avid reader. Her greatest aspirations are to raise a kind, strong, and fearless girl and have a clean house.



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