I always wanted to be the kind of mom who made the coolest lunches for her kids and put them in fancy lunch boxes and included a hand written note for them. But, truthfully, I’m just not. I’m okay with being the mom that gets up at 6:50 am and races to pack a lunch and sometimes pops microwave popcorn and puts it in plastic baggies because we don’t have much else to put in for the snack and gets extra cheers because I let them put in a piece of Halloween candy.
I always wanted my kids rooms look like little mini IKEA or Pottery Barn display rooms. Heck. I’d be grateful with Target decor at this point. But, truthfully, their rooms are a hodgepodge of garage sale finds, hand me downs, Target clearance, and the rare cool IKEA item. Which, most of the time breaks, but that’s for a different post. But their rooms are theirs with marker on the wall and stuffed animals and posters that are ripped in the corner and toys that they love.
I always wanted to take my kids to Disney World and to get the funny Mickey Ears and do all the rides and take them on a plane and stay in a hotel and swim. But, truthfully, that just hasn’t ever happened. Ever. But they do get a week at the lake in an old cabin that sits on the edge of the water and no agenda and time with me just playing cards and fishing and getting sunburnt noses and a eating a whole bunch of junk food.
I always wanted to have that super organized house with cool spaces for everything and the trendiest furniture and that it was always clean. But, very truthfully, I don’t. But then I went to Haiti and met women who had dirt for their floors and windows with no screens and they never told me they were sorry for their space but instead welcomed me in with open arms and served food on mismatched plates and we ate with our fingers and I felt more welcomed in their homes with little than I have in homes with much.
I always wanted to be the kind of parent who never got exasperated with her kids and had the cool incentive charts and kids that never fought. But truthfully, I that’s not me. In fact just tonight there was screaming because the five year old wanted to get in the nine year old’s room and I was so sick and tired of it and knock it off guys which I yelled upstairs because I was so sick and tired of going up the stairs telling them to knock it off guys. But they still loved me and gave me a hug at night.
I always wanted to have the idyllic American family with Thanksgivings around the table and Christmas lights twinkling outside and family meals and to have people think I was like June Cleaver but just a bit trendier and with my black knee high boots. But, humbly and truthfully, I don’t. I have a life where it’s just me and I’m the single mom and I work hard and yet my kids love me deeply and I’ve found that there can be joy in a life that doesn’t seem to match up with the Currier and Ives ideal.
You know what?
I’m okay with me.
I’m okay with having a messed up not perfect crazy life. I’m okay with the fact that the baristas at Starbucks (who I love) and I are practically relatives now. I’m okay with my house looking like it’s lived in and that right now there is a half finished puzzle on my living room floor and a lunch box left in the corner and that my laundry is always behind except for the days before vacation or when I’ve had enough. I’m okay with my kids going to the store in mismatched shoes sometimes and mismatched gloves all of the time. I’m okay if I go out to the grocery store in yoga pants and a pony tail and I run into somebody that I know (because we know that that happens every single time) and I look like I just finished mowing the yard because I probably just did.
I’m okay with being real.
I’m tired of the facades.
I’m tired of thinking that the only way to have a successful life is to actually complete the 4983 projects on my Pinterest boards. I’m tired of thinking that I don’t measure up because we lost the math homework again (see this post). I’m tired of expectations that I put on myself that are much too hard. I’m tired of worrying that because they had antibiotics when they were three their guts are messed up or that because we didn’t start baseball at age four that they can never play or that bad days define motherhood or that well, you know, all the worries and stuff that we’re told as moms every single day.
So I’m telling you.
I’m happy to be me.
And I want that for you too.
I want you to look at what you always wanted in life and to not just stop with I always wanted but to finish it with the beautiful rest of your story. Yes, sure it probably doesn’t look anything close to your I always wanted part. But truth?
It’s your story.
Don’t discount your story if it doesn’t match the always wanted part.
Do you know why?
Because at the end of our days we will look at the second half of those messy stories of ours and we will see the feistiness, the tenacity, the creative parts, and the part of us that was determined to find joy. You will see your beauty and strength and how much you deeply loved your family even though so many times you thought they were going to make you crazy. You will see how the walks in the park holding hands were so more important than all those places you wanted to go.
You will see that your kids and your family simply loved you.
Not all the things you always wanted.
Broken, imperfect, beautiful, trying you.
Don’t discount your story.
It may end up being exactly what you always wanted.