I quit so I could have the courage to write this so that you could quit and could encourage your friends to quit because well, the truth is, we have some life to live. So here you are. Messy me facts.
My kids eat fruit roll ups and play their kindles and sometimes don’t go to bed when I want them to.
I worry about money. A lot. I have debt. It makes me feel shame.
I fix things before people come over. Like put the pillows on my couch in a certain way so that the room looks just so and then my kids throw them on the floor right after I do that. Not because they’re mean. It’s because the couch isn’t comfortable the perfect way.
Sometimes for dinner we have cereal. Or popcorn. Or I say just find something.
There are times where I get jealous. Or angry. Or sad.
I watch Netflix and House of Cards. Not sure why that’s on this list, but it is.
I don’t like the rust on the side of my van.
And for most of my adult life I worked to give the illusion of having it all together.
How are you doing? people would ask me. And I’d answer with a smile glued on my face I’m fine. But inside I wasn’t – I was overwhelmed and didn’t want anyone to know. I pretended.
Can I bring you dinner? they’d ask. I’d tell them no. Not because I wasn’t hungry, but I didn’t want anyone to see that sometimes my house got messy. Especially in those newborn days. I pretended.
Do you think you could help? Volunteer? the email would say. Sure, I’d answer. Even though I was at capacity. I wanted others to think I was put together. I pretended.
Is it hard to travel and leave your kids? people would wonder. No, it’s what I have to do. But inside I’d be sad and question if I was a good mom. I pretended.
You know what? I’m just ridiculously far from perfect. And maybe it’s my own illusion of perfect, honestly. You know what that is – what we think we’re supposed to be because we think everyone else is doing that but everyone else is really doing that because they think that’s what they’re supposed to be so we are all caught up in a crazy mess of keeping it all together even though none of us have it together? (you might need to read that twice…)
And I don’t like quitting. I’m a fighter.
But I’m quitting this act. Maybe me saying that being a single mom isn’t that easy or that there are awesome days or that last night we had popcorn for dinner or that sometimes I want to scream will help just one of you loosen the corset of expectations that we are all forced into thinking we have to wear.
I want to breathe.
I want you to breathe too. And it’s pretty hard to breathe when we’re all wandering around sucking everything in afraid to let out a moment of vulnerability in fear that we’ll be judged.
So no judging here.
I’ve spent so many years of my motherhood journey following the should have, must do, need to try, keep it together rules that now? Now I’m ready to embrace us as moms WHERE WE ARE. Not for what we should be doing or could have done but for where we are. Do you know that the expectations and the pressures are what is slowly making us look at each other with weary eyes and when someone says are you tired? we immediately go home, add cover up and push ourselves to try more without looking tired? Versus saying that we’re ridiculously tired and need a break?
Because the truth is this – sometimes we need to celebrate and praise the efforts versus the expectations. We can’t be perfect in everything. If you have to work and work all day and the day is crazy and the four year old pukes and everyone is hungry and you pull out the box of Cheerios for dinner – well then, you are awesome. I don’t care that there’s a pin for some organic lentil dish on the fridge that you saved and were planning on. Because you know why? You got dinner on the table. You had it all together. Maybe not in the Family Fun Parents Magazine kind of way. But rather in the real life dealing with everything kind of way.
You see, us mommas, we need more quitting of having it together and more being there in the trenches with each other. Loving the flaws and praising the efforts and dropping the stick of comparison.
I’m kind of done with it.
So you know what?
I love my life.
My very very imperfect, not looking like Hallmark, where I fight for my kids and we eat peach shortcake for dinner and they aren’t perfect either lives. (If you need evidence I’ve got plenty there…) Do you know why?
Because it’s real life.
Not what we were told was perfect, but in reality, what is perfect.
Celebrate that today in your life, my friend.
Having it all together is an illusion.
We could chase that our entire lives and miss out on the beauty of real life that’s right in front of our faces.