Send The Cape- To the Cleaners

Motherhood, what a thing it is.

From the moment we find out there is a human being gtowing inside of us we begin transforming. For me- it’s been wild. Things I thought were fun or even funny have changed. My taste in food, my views on controversial issues, my goals, etc.

What I feel like isn’t addressed nearly enough- is how constant, continuous and actually never-ending that transformation is. Sure, mothers are recognized for having a need to wear many different hats but they aren’t recognized for the transformations that take place underneath each of those hats or what whirlwind of change takes place once we remove all of the hats completely; finally getting the fed, bathed children into bed after what seemed like an endless day already. It begins. We reflect on what kind of mom we were that day- is that the same mom we want to be tomorrow? How can we do better? What we should have done… what we wished we could do. We. Don’t. Stop. -until we slip into a coma for a few hours before we do it all again- and hopefully better than the day before because in conclusion of our reflection each night, more often than not, we decide we are the worst mother in the word and these kids deserve better.

We hold ourselves to an impossible standard. We spend countless hours making decisions about numerous things pertaining to our kids because we want the best for them. Things our children would never even notice make us feel like complete failures as parents.

For example:

Every year on the eve of Easter we put carrots out for the Bunny. This year: we have 2 broken cars and are limited on alternatives so on the eve of Easter we had finally arranged a way to get the kids to the mall to see the Bunny. We spent over an hour in line and live 45 minutes away from the mall, we got home late. We got through dinner, teeth brushing, bathroom needs and yet another hour had passed. (The “Bunny” still had a lot of work to do.) We got the kids into bed, the Bunny got to work and then the Bunny realized: we didn’t leave the mother effing carrots out! So seemingly small, I know but it immediately registered to me as “I just broke the tradition”. The Bunny finished the baskets, left some white magical footprints on the floor and full of guilt, chomped away at carrots that my kids never got to see. It broke my heart. I thought about it as I fell asleep. I thought about it when they excitedly announced awareness of said carrots ( not bothered at all by the fact that they weren’t the ones to put them out). I thought about it as they tore through their baskets, so happy with their findings. I thought about it hours later when I saw a comment on someone’s post that said “I forgot carrots #failure”. I even confessed my own failure in the comments of that post and it wasn’t until a woman I know, an incredible mother- replied “I bet they didn’t even notice😘”… then, I realized, they did notice and it made them happy that I put them out since we all forgot; that they were just happy that the Bunny got the carrots. A long winded example, I know. But this guilt was intense to me.

We are responsible for so many important things on a day to day basis- most of which we handle successfully whether we think so or not- and I am brutalizing myself with guilt over carrots. Imagine what I do to myself over things like discipline and saying no.

“Many Hats” is a cute way to put it. We, my friends, wear capes and every once in awhile- we are caught without it. It’s okay to not be perfect. Kids don’t want the pressure that comes with perfect. Send the cape to the Cleaners every once in awhile- let the children see you stumble, they’ll be better for it. The best doesn’t exist inside of perfection- it exists inside of effort and any mother who can relate to this rant- is definitely trying. We have taught our children that they don’t need to be the best that we only expect them to try their best so that’s the same thing they have come to expect from us. Lead by example and give yourself a break- you’ve been moving mountains in their lives every single day.

“Mother’s love is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.” Erich Fromm

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Lydia is a Liar

It’s incredible how much time we waste- trying to tidy up the appearance of the mess that is just our life. Time we could buy back almost seamlessly by merely accepting some of the clutter for what it is. Time that could be better spent on actually sorting through or eliminating the problem areas of our lives. Instead, we throw that time away- building a white picket fence around our laundry pile… tossing a vacation photo on our timeline… or using Louis Vuitton fabric to blanket our checkbook (with the negative balance). On top of all that is being thrown at us on a moment to moment basis, we worry about what our coping might look like to an outsider?…

and then have the audacity to wonder why the mess remains?…

For what??? This concern for image has proved to service no one.

I am guilty of this. I have spent every waking moment, for as long as I can remember, trying to de-clutter the chaos; or at least make it look like I’ve got everything under control. When, truth is: I’m actually low-key in the ‘crazy closet’ juggling whatever trickled into my typical Tuesday from Monday’s madness all while pre-gaming for Wednesday’s worries. Honestly, I live in that closet. We are all on this journey of self discovery. “What is my purpose?… Why am I here?… What now?…” and so on. The last thing any of us need to concern ourselves with is being judged in the midst of trying to make: difficult, important and in some cases; life changing decisions. We can’t stop people from nosing around in our business and we certainly can’t stop them from forming opinions based on their miniscule findings but we can, absolutely, stop allowing the potential perceptions of others distract us from what needs to be done. We can also stop sharing with the wrong people (another day- another blog).

I am like the rest of you, bouncing from one social media site to another so I understand how accidentally we are wrapped up in the altered truths of our online “friends”. I strongly suggest you delete “Lydia-Living her best life”;especially if Lydia is a liar___ or learn to ignore her and everything she stands for because chances are- Lydia is just as lost as you. If Lydia is really living her best life; well, good for her… and if it annoys you- delete her anyway. If you spend a lot of time with your face in your phone… acknowledge it as a part of your life and filter it accordingly. You should no more allow toxic people into your cyberspace than you would in any of your other living quarters.

I often find that my social scrolls bring out a very bitter side of me that otherwise doesn’t even exist and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I actually went through and “cleaned out” my friends list. Let the record show, I avoided doing this for so long because every single time I saw a “friend” post -The Warning Status- I would wince in the eyes of all that’s basic and avoid the bandwagon at all costs.

-Let me just say- With over 200 people on those lists, gone; I actually felt better. I deleted people for a wide range of reasons; no interaction, different views, different paths, a genuine disinterest… etc. No fault to be had. Just one of my many messes that I finally got around to cleaning up. I didn’t broadcast a warning status; no one did anything wrong. Nor did I partake in the -You survived my friends’ list purge- post: to celebrate… because no one -I kept- necessarily did anything right either. It wasn’t a test. I realized it was the announcements that made my skin crawl and not the actual act of cleansing the list.

Though social media is the largest platform for personal comparisons it is not the only place they exist. Our feared shortcomings, breathe in our conversations; with: co-workers, our partners, our best friends and I truly believe this silent struggle hits it’s peak in the presence of family. We want to measure up to our colleagues, of course. We want to impress our partners, no doubt. We want to make our families proud (or at least not worry ), sure. And for the love of all that’s miraculous in the world: We must NEVER let our children find out how undeniably clueless we are.

WHY?

We can rationalize this way of thinking a thousand times over but there really is no sense to be had in this. We hide our struggle from people who are hiding their struggle from us. People who would help us if they knew, people we would help if we knew. Instead we panic and scramble internally to avoid another seeing what is. A bunch of fabricators, co-existing. A universe full of posers.

I no longer want a part in this. I am a mess. I am struggling with my job, I am lost in my purpose and at times all I have to offer my kids; is love. Things aren’t perfect but pretending like they are does nothing but falsify the standard of fulfillment. My life is a mess… but it’s my mess. I imagine I’ll have a much better shot of cleaning that up if I’m not busy sweeping it under the rug every time I get a visitor.

I want my children to see me struggle, fail and try again. How else will they know the normalcy of it? How else will they learn not to be discouraged? How else will they truly grasp success? My fooling them will only disarm them. I still remember the first time reality popped my very cozy bubble… I remember how inadequate I felt and continue to feel because even in retrospect I can’t identify the struggle of my elders. ( I’m grateful that struggle isn’t all I’ve ever known as it has led me with the never-ending hope of something better.) Everything requires balance I suppose…So, okay__ maybe I won’t go home and say “Hey kids, how was your day? Just want to clear up that Mommy is a train wreck…” but like instead of just saying “I’m tired” the next time I am working through something- Perhaps, I can just tell them. I want to shape them to be caring and understanding but I also want them to be well adjusted; which means – knowing that not knowing is okay and it’s okay to not always be okay. And who knows?- maybe they’ll even shed some light on the situation! Wouldn’t that be a homerun???… A solution from the minds that you are guiding- all because you shared an imperfect moment…?!

Very recently, I involuntarily began this weird, random spiritual journey that is so personal I don’t even know how to describe it. Very -Eat Pray Love- the regular person version. Upon the birth of this “Thing” of mine I am realizing a lot of stress has been added to my mess by people; who are not raising my children; who are not paying my bills; who are not signing my paycheck. I have been allowing a lot of the wrong people too much control over my peace… and even some of the right people: to fall short.

Disregarding other people’s views completely is virtually impossible and taking the opinions of others into consideration is important…

but…

When assessing your life and the things that genuinely matter; make sure to base your findings on: YOUR opinion, YOUR feelings and YOUR ideas; because the only one who is going to clean your mess is you. Lydia is busy living her best life.

 

“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt

 

What’s one thing you hide inside your ‘Crazy Closet’ ?