Saturday, March 14, 2015

Imperfect Little Life

Mommy Blogging today is a world unto its own. There are heavily advertised and promoted Mommy Bloggers out there who have made careers out of writing about hearth and home, whose blog photos are Instagram knockouts, and whose children appear perfectly dressed in matching outfits on a regular basis.  Their latest recipes are drool-worthy and photographed up close with the precise amount of background Gaussian blur, and their homes look like something out of House Beautiful with organized pantries that make you wonder if anyone ever really takes the time to empty their just purchased whole grain cereal into those beautiful canisters with chalkboard labels lined up ever so neatly on decorative shelving.

Their lives look magazine printable, and sometimes they even share their trials and tribulations in such a way as to make you feel that even in your struggles you can't ever live up to the Mommy Blogger Standard of perfect revelation with  cheery and pithy sayings plastered on beautiful sunset photos speaking of surmounting all odds with great grace.

I sit back and marvel at those moms, who appear almost superhuman in their mothering, and homemaking talents.

I am not one of those moms.  Yea, I think you already figured that out.

I have a super huge trash can that is often overflowing, I have children whose cereal comes from 3 lb bags shoved on top of a teeny tiny little pantry cupboard and said bags inevitably fall on my head when I open aforementioned cupboard.  I have at this very moment headed off to the bedroom to write while tonight's pizza mess remains spread across my formica (not granite) counter tops.  There is something sticky on the kitchen floor that has been there for 3 days which I have yet to get around to mopping up, and the boys' bedroom smells like...well...3 teen boys, that's what it smells like.

And unlike those Mommy Bloggers, who tend to present solutions for every problem (Storage challenges?  I've got you covered! Discipline problems?  Suggestions that WORK!  Husband working too many hours?  Here's how to entice him!  And more, more, more!!), I think the more I mature into motherhood and homemaking, the less I feel I know and the more doubts I have.

I have continual doubts about the kids' education, and if I am doing right by them.  Am I meeting the needs of each one? Am I challenging enough? Am I taking into consideration each special need and teaching to it adequately?  Are they seeing success?  Have I come down too hard one day or not hard enough in another?

I have ongoing doubts about healing and wholeness, and if I am picking up on all the little signs that tell me something is not quite right with one, or if I have overlooked circling back and working with another's emotional turmoil.  Have I addressed loss appropriately?  Have I helped shore up battered self-esteem issues enough?  Do I detect a little dread around something?  Have I heard what sometimes they don't have words for?  Am I tuned in?  Am I showing enough balance between tenderness and toughness?

I always have doubts about the kind of wife I am, and if Dominick has gotten lost in the shuffle.  Did I remember to compliment him today?  When was the last time I told him how very much I appreciate all he does for our family?  Does he feel as loved as he really is?  Am I encouraging him enough during a time of crisis and concern?  What can I do to be a good partner for him so he feels supported and cared for?

There are the other doubts about my abilities (or lack thereof) in the Homemaking Arena.  Walking through my home I see failure after failure in creating the perfectly styled middle class home.  Mismatched chairs at the dining room table would cause many a Mommy Blogger to snicker.  There are no handcrafted pillows adorning my couches, no "upcycled" cute stack of vintage luggage being used as a decorator item in the corner.  There is no stenciling on my walls, no salvaged barn wood dressers, not a mason jar craft in sight. I have failed miserably in Home Decorating 101, and I know it.  I also don't grind my own wheat, bake my own bread, blend my own organic smoothies, or meet my hubby at the door each night with a martini in hand dressed in my company best with a strand of pearls around my neck.

Doubt is a daily partner of mine, walking through each day as I ask myself if what foods I served were healthy enough, if what clothes I put on them all were decent enough, if what life lesson was taught was earnest enough.  Doubt is my companion on the journey of life, never allowing me to have the confidence enough to dare offer advice to others.  Guilt is a close runner up to Doubt, as I continually kick myself for not providing the perfect environment, captured in Super Scrapbooks for all time.  I feel guilt for not being all that those Mommy Bloggers portray that I ought to be.  I have no book deals, no cute cowboy husband with a ranch as my backdrop, no lurid past to share in which overcoming is a theme that elevates me to minor celebrity status.

I am just plain ol' me, and truth be told, many's the day I feel lucky to have just made it through.

But you know what?  I look around me, and when I really take a closer look and don't let the voices and images of others taunt me, I realize I am content. I am satisfied.   I have a hard working husband who adores his family, I have children who are not perfect nor dressed alike but they have hearts that are alike...and kind...and generous.  I have a solid roof over my head, and a decent little home that keeps us safe from the elements and cozy during cold winter nights.  It may not be photo-perfect clean, but for 7 people living in it virtually 24/7 it is actually relatively clean most of the time.

Perhaps most importantly, it is all as real as it gets.  There is no artifice, there is love and joy and hope that fills this house (Yes, maybe even hope that I will have enough hot water for my own shower, but it is still hope!  Don't laugh...we gotta take it where we can get it!).  Friends are welcomed with open hearts and arms, there is more than enough laughter to go around, and there is a sense of peace that permeates it all.

Who needs a perfect pantry anyway?

So while this Mommy Blogger has an aging looking, unattractive and outdated  blog, at least I am still here, and I am opening up our home to you to take a peek inside, regardless of the lack of perfection.  You see, if you are a real friend, you aren't here to judge it anyway, right?  And if you are here to judge, you will find it sorely lacking and will move on with the click of a mouse anyway, so why let doubt get the best of me?

Comparison is a killer, isn't it?  I think I am taking a personal vow to stop looking at the Mommy Blogger version of Perfect Motherhood, and just enjoy the imperfect little life I have without celebrity status or attending Mommy Blogger conferences (Yes, it is a thing...and a big business for some).

I am me, Cindy, and this is my family.  And it's all good...

It really is.


Anonymous said...

Love You!
(also missed you at the convention. Good call though. Maybe 100 attendees?)
Teresa F

Anonymous said...

Yours is the only blog I read, because it is the only one that feels real. Don't let the Martha Stewarts out there discourage you. You are doing a terrific job as a mother, and you are an inspiration to others. Your kids looks so happy on every picture, and that is all that counts in the long run.