The person that told us the we could “have it all” must have been an insomniac. Trying to keep up with having it all is exhausting. And frustrating. I think that in this day and age, having it all is a bit of crock. It’s time for a dose of reality.
Currently, I’m surrounded by piles of papers, scraps of fabric, bits of projects that are half-completed. I didn’t shower yesterday, and I ate nachos for dinner. Easter baskets have not been put away, and a few piles of clean laundry are sitting on our couch. The laundry hamper is over-flowing. And I cannot remember the last time I received 8 straight, lovely hours of sleep. That’s the reality.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. My incredibly
strong-willed spirited three year old has finally decided that it’s time to use the potty. We went for ice cream to celebrate. On a work/school night. And the kids needed and received baths. And I was able to sort through the stack of mail on the counter. That’s a successful day in my world.
The truth is that no matter whether you’re working full-time or parenting from home full-time, this round the clock responsibility for young children can wear a person down. It’s exhausting. And somehow I’m supposed to fit it swim lessons for the kids? The reality is that something has to give. We can’t do it all if we wish to maintain our sanity. Usually for me, the things that give are exercise, cooking nightly, style (hair & clothes, I am that woman that lives in yoga pants each and every weekend, without ever even thinking about doing some yoga), general order & organization. I make cupcakes an hour before I’m supposed to show up and then the frosting melts all over as I drive frantically to get there. In spite of the systems that I try to put in place to keep our home running smoothly, our weekends are still times that we play catch up with the laundry, groceries, bills, etc. Everything we need to do just to get through the week.
Sometimes being successful just means mustering through. In this pinterest-crazed, perfection-seeking world that we live in, that message sometimes gets lost in glossy photos of perfectly-iced ombre layered cakes and coordinated rain boots and hats for 2-year olds. Most of us just don’t live up to that ideal. And it’s probably better that way. The reality of it is that parenting is messy. And frustrating. And exhausting. We don’t need that perfection to raise good kids. We need resolve and compassion. And patience patience patience.
If you also have a
strong-willed spirited toddler, you fully embrace the need for patience and resolve. We need those things for our children, and we’re committed to those goals for our kids, but I think we also need them for ourselves. This gig is tough. And we are all just doing the best that we can. Piles of laundry and all. I think that I often tend to focus my energy on the kids, work, and the home because all of those things demand that energy. I tend to forgot that it’s also alright to spend a little on myself. I haven’t exercised in ages. Or taken a sewing class (or made it past class 1 of beginning knitting!). I haven’t had friends over or gone for coffee. I think sometimes that we can become so focused meeting our responsibilities for everyone else that we forget to even put ourselves on the list. Making sure that we have enough energy to face down all those other parts of our world is key. Putting ourselves on that list is not an act of selfishness. It’s vastly important to the people that you love. If you give yourself that time to pursue those things that re-energize you, you have the ability to share that with others.
I have a tendency to focus on the part of the to-do list that just isn’t done yet. I don’t want to spend so much time focusing that I lose sight of all the blessings that I do have. Two healthy, happy, funny little kids. A ruggedly-handsome husband. A messy, but comfortable home. And a job that lets me feel like I’m valued and I’m contributing to something good in this world. Those are massive blessings. That’s the bigger picture.
I was going to post this morning on making your own homemade baby food, but I’ll get to that eventually. I don’t want this little corner of the internet to become filled with images of perfection that are far from the truth. Real life is not quite that picture-perfect, but it’s wonderful in spite of that.