This letter goes out to everyone who needs a little reminder. I know that I am writing this from a position of clarity while Boy naps and Girl is at school. I am sure that a couple of hours from now, when all hell breaks loose, I will need to reread it. Maybe several times.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: It is a random Wednesday. You are standing in the middle of your kitchen mopping up a spill that is being blamed on the dog, even though the dog has no thumbs, doesn’t drink Kool-Aid, cannot reach the counter, and was outside at the time. Your four year old walks into the room with a drawing that she is super proud of and wants to share with you. She drew it on your electric bill. Your two year old yells that they did a HUGE number 2, that you just have to come see, and that they need you to take care of clean up. The phone is ringing, the buzzer for dinner is going off, and the doorbell is ringing with forgotten invited guests. Your hair looks like you may have played with an electric socket, your pants are smeared with something that you cannot define, and the zit on your chin is applying for its own zipcode. Your spouse walks into the house and asks an innocent question like, “Why does the dog have a tutu on it’s head?” when you lose it. Maybe you start to cry, maybe you throw a tantrum, maybe you just take a deep breath, but in any case you have to stop for a minute to question your sanity. Overwhelmed is an understatement.
In those moments, all too often I find myself going on a quick trip to Guiltville comparing myself to other women that seem to have their stuff together. “She” is at home every night with all of the bills paid, the schedule balanced between responsibility and privilege for everyone in the household with time to spare for Yahtzee and storytelling every night after homemade dinners (from scratch using only gluten and allergen free organic ingredients) in her perfectly decorated home that is always immaculate. My imaginary friend’s children are always well behaved, and their entire family is able to always say the right thing at the right time. She is always thoughtful and they are always kind. She works out to the point that her body is at peak performance. She somehow manages to have new recipes every week, show up on time to every event, and have flawless hair and makeup. In her spare time, she is crafty, and Pinteresty, and washes her delicates on her chiseled six pack abs.
In contrast, while I’m wallowing in the valley of the shadow of my self esteem, my life is clearly a shambles. I cannot see the good in this moment. All I can see is my dirty counters, the spill around my shoes, my kids breaking their toys and being rude, my stomach that is more ready for the Truffle Shuffle Dance-Off than even considering a bathing suit, and dinner may very well be burning. Mount Washmore is erupting from the laundry room into the hallway. My hair and makeup look like I just woke up from a nap, which I did instead of getting work done like I should have. My to-do list is expanding and starting to squeeze my brain like a boa constrictor, making it hard to breathe. No matter what I do, for those few minutes of my day when all hell breaks loose, I have the ability to convince myself that it is time to pack it in and call the entire day a loss.
I know I am not alone in my cracked view of the world. Marketing departments everywhere are on a mission to convince us all that we are lacking in some way so that we NEED to buy their product just to survive our own less-than-worthy existences. But can we all just take a minute and check ourselves before we wreck ourselves? Let’s all just back up a step. The Motherhood is a messy place to live. Whether you work, stay-at-home, or some combination thereof, life is going to fill your plate. There are going to be moments where you get overwhelmed no matter what you do.
Can we keep it real for just a second?
Can we just remember that people don’t lead with their blooper reel. If you don’t know a person (of either gender) well, they most likely are not going to tell you their bloopers. Remember that when you compare your bruises to their glamor. No one has it all together. There are just too many different parts of life for that to even be possible. Everyone has work to do.
Can we recognize that it takes 31 flavors to make a Baskin Robbins? If there is one perfect flavor, we clearly haven’t found it yet. It takes all kinds. Figure out what your best features are and work with those. Share them with the world, and ask those with areas of strength in your areas of weakness to maybe hook a girl up? Oh, and then when someone that has weaknesses in your strengths asks for help, please do – or at least don’t embarrass them for asking.
Can we give ourselves a break and just accept that doing the best we can is pretty darn good? With that said, make sure you’re friends with a few people that can keep you accountable to being your best. Do such a good job that when people say that you’ve done less, everyone is shocked and in disbelief. Accountability is difficult, but it sure works. Budgets, diets, and any tracking system that you can surmise only work when used as a lifestyle change. Commit to the change, or don’t be shocked when it doesn’t arrive, and your results don’t stick.
Can we all please give ourselves a break? If you are honestly doing the hard work that it takes to get to your goals, and you can honestly say that you are working the resources at your disposal to get there, recognize that the journey is uphill, sometimes through broken glass, and that every once in a while you’re going to need to sit down and say, “WOW. This is NOT fun.” But then GET YOUR BUTT UP AND KEEP GOING. There is no shame in asking for help either. Sometimes it’s the smarter choice. There are only 24 hours in a day, and only 7 days in a week. Use your resources wisely.
Can we please build up our sense of humor, too? There is so much to laugh at in the motherhood if we can loosen our grip on what we think life is supposed to be and just laugh. It IS funny that your son puts his underpants on backwards EVERY TIME. Someday, you will miss it. These little moments that frustrate the pants off us can often become a great laugh when remembered later. Imagine the possibilities if we could harness that “Ha, Ha” and enjoy the ride from the beginning? I’m famous with my family and friends for taking things way too seriously. I’ll try to take my own advice.
So here’s what I’m going to do. My “Say What?!” series is not going to end here. Look for upcoming posts that share the humor of the ordinary, celebration of the success I see in others in their authentic awesomeness, and more of the content that you are used to seeing from wickedkate.com. I don’t promise to show you perfect. I’m nowhere close. But I do promise to keep it real, and share what works. See you in the Motherhood.