I’m Not Perfect

Honesty seems to be the theme of the week. Molly over at Knocked Up Knocked Over has inspired me to share my own less-than-perfect image with my own readers.

Do you sometimes wish that every blog you read and drool over has a post titled “I’m Not Perfect”? I do. I’m a “blog stalker,” meaning I love finding beautiful new blogs with interesting content, beautiful pictures, or creative ideas. The blogs that draw me in tend to focus on motherhood, cooking, fun things to do with kids, or living a Christ-centered life. I look for encouragement, inspiration, ideas, and meals.

While viewing others through the lenses of the computer world, it’s so easy to grace over those bad days, those blurry pictures, whiny kids, grocery store melt downs, screaming mom moments. Sometimes looking at the beautiful food, flawless self portraits, adorable activities and perfectly behaved children makes me feel terrible! Since I’m a stay at home mom, I love reading other SAHM blogs. Without taking into account the fact that they aren’t going to post about their worst days, I read and judge myself in a very harsh light.

You know the type. You’ve seen it. You’ve lusted after such a life and coveted their perfected schedule. They’re gorgeous, their kids are gorgeous, they have adorably decorated homes, they’re thrifty, clever, and creative. They’re always happy with their life and thrilled to share it with you so you too can have a better life.

But are they always encouraging? No. Sometimes really not.

I had a “play date” with a friend and her little girl today, and she mentioned how bad she feels sometimes looking at these blogs. She was relieved to hear that my days aren’t always sunshine and coloring books, fresh baked cookies and tickle fights. Quite the contrary. Those are just the things I choose to present to the world. But ask me more specifically and I’ll present to you a much less perfect view of myself and our daily life here at home.

Some days creep by where we don’t do anything. I mean nothing. I don’t change out of my pajamas and he doesn’t either. “Oh that sounds so nice,” the out-in-the-world moms say. But those days are filled with tv, and usually he’s very whiny. I can’t blame him, but since those days are propelled by severe exhaustion, I often don’t have the energy to change anything. But I feel guilty. Those days are not just do-nothing days. They are “feel terribly guilty because you aren’t engaging your child” days. And if you mix a day like that with a new blog update from a Supermom, guilt can very quickly transform into self doubt.

“If he just had a mom like THAT,” I think… “If he had a mom like THAT who never let him watch tv, and always had a fun and engaging activity planned….” I beat myself up on days that I call “yell days” because my short patience and even shorter temper leads me to yell at Little at every turn. He yells back, and I yell louder, and soon we’re both storming away from each other huffing and puffing to our own little corners. Then I pull out the trusty laptop and read from a Supermom’s blog about how anytime she feels discouraged or frustrated, she recites some Bible verse and it all goes away.

Now I’m not mocking the power of Scripture or its use in our everyday lives, but lets get real. I mean REAL real. Down to earth confession time kind of real. Do these moms really never yell? Really? Sometimes the Christian mom blogs I love to visit can cause me some self doubt and judgment. I don’t know many real-life moms whose lives are like that either. I really hunger for those moms like me, who sometimes yell at their kids, burn dinner, refuse to change their clothes, or let cartoons be the theme of the day. I suspect that I probably know moms like this, but they aren’t comfortable admitting it.

I do know this. Those days don’t break him. He still gets face time with me, and one on one interaction. He’s not locked in a room with absolutely no options. He isn’t skipping meals or sitting in a dirty diaper all day. I mean, even on the most lazy days at home, his very basic needs are met and we usually exchange a book or giggle here and there. But why would I write about a day like that? What would that look like?

We did nothing today. I woke up and decided not to put a bra on. Bras hurt, and I refuse to leave the house anyway, so here we are. I left Little in his jammies even though they have a slight {ok, huge} stain on them from breakfast the cold cup of coffee he spilled on himself because I left it sitting out until noon three. He demanded to watch “Magic Schoolbus” all day and I wasn’t up to time outs, so I just let him… Although, we only have one episode DVRed, so I can now recite it by memory. However, if he ever shrinks down into the roots of a bean plant, he’ll know exactly what to do. Oh, and we learned a new word today: “Photosynthesis.” Thank you, PBS.

Its real and its funny, but is it inspirational? Probably not. However, I find it incredibly refreshing. Anytime I encounter a real life not-internet mom who admits to having days like this, I feel like I’ve discovered a unicorn, a rare treasure. I look at her child playing happily and confidently and think to myself, “Oh good! Then maybe I haven’t ruined him!” When you meet the moms who will readily admit that they too have yell days, TV days, veg days or any other kind of non-productive, less than blog-worthy days, HUG HER.

Being a mom is hard, whether your work or not. These “days” of mine are not limited to the at-home world. We all have less than stellar days as parents. We’ve all made mistakes and been lazy or selfish. We fight it as best as we can, but exhaustion sometimes sneaks in and we allow our bottoms to fuse to the couch for a day. I don’t always have fun things planned to do with Little, and even if I do, sometimes they fail miserably. Sometimes I talk myself out of doing the planned activity out of fear of the mess, the screaming that will ensue during the transition time, or his lack of attention. Only occasionally do the stars align in perfect order and you see those results.

Just assume that everything I post on here- even the sweet and near-perfect days like yesterday- come with a non-perfect disclaimer. Even yesterday Little got too excited while watching Pooh swat at bees and he swatted me in the eye. I nearly cried like a baby. It caught me off guard and it hurt! I yelled at him, and he apologized, and we continued on with our day.

I will still probably not regularly confess our bad days. Not because I’m trying to present a false version of myself on here, but because I’m not proud of those days. When I look back on my time at home with Little, I want to feel proud of that time and really treasure it. I also hope to encourage other moms like me who have days like we do sometimes. I hope that I can share my better days with the world and maybe inspire a stuck-in-a-rut mom to move past her fears or self doubt and take on that activity or project with her little one that she’s been dreading.

But I do promise even in those entries that look precious and flawless, they aren’t perfect. Just trust me. They aren’t. But they can still be wonderful.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go feed my child M&M’s for supper. No, really. Travis is at a football game tonight, and Little has been begging for candy all day. I’m tired and this is rare, so candy it is.

Kat

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13 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Personal Posts

13 responses to “I’m Not Perfect

  1. This is the best blog post I’ve ever read. Every single mom or mom to be should read this. A couple of times. None of us are perfect. We all fall short of our own expectations of ourselves. Thank you for posting it. I really needed to read it.

    I’m not sure if you felt this way, but my confessional post was excruciating to write. My cranky post was, too. So much so that I’ve committed a blogging sin and have avoided responding to the people who were sweet enough to read and take time to comment. I just want to go hide in a cave.

    Thanks so much for posting this. As a mommy I look up to, it helps me to know that you’re not perfect either.

    • You know what? I kinda thought you might be hiding out. I was worried about you today in fact. I went to check and see if you’d responded to your comments and when I saw you hadn’t I thought you were withdrawing. You aren’t alone in the excruciating feeling. I rewrote this more than once. That tiny voice of self-judgment was whispering to me the entire time. The same voice that keeps me from being honest in the first place. I started off trying to make things sound not-as-bad, but then I read it as if I were reading a Supermom’s blog and I thought, “Nope, if I read that, I would not relate. I would just feel really bad.”

      Someday soon I’m going to write a SAHM confessional where I talk about meals, time, guilt, judgment, organization and tidiness. I’m home all day, but my house is NOT spotless. Really really not. And I don’t mean that in a false modesty kind of way. Some days its a huge mess. A gross “I left supper from last night out on the counter” kind of mess. But I do feel better admitting things like that. It was hard getting it out, but I’m proud now that its out there. You should feel proud too. Tackling the topics you’ve tackled can save someone’s life. Seriously.

      I’m shocked that you’d look up to me, mostly because I look up to you! The light in which I view myself is really not flattering. It’s something I struggle terribly with. To know that any other woman would look at me and think, “Wow, she’s neat,” is kind of shocking to me. But you made my day.

      Thanks for being so honest with your own feelings. It inspired my honesty and now its making me think we really need more of that as women. Hopefully a whole chain reaction will occur. Who knows. But I’m really realizing I don’t want to be one of those Supermom bloggers. The good days are nice, but I don’t ever want to be responsible for some other mom looking at themselves and feeling terrible the way I do sometimes.

  2. Of course your home is not spotless…..you’re at home all day. Would you like to know when my house is spotless? During the school year when I work. Not the 14 weeks I stay at home (10 in summer the other 4 for other holiday weeks) Don’t know what it is, but that’s the way I see it. Have you read
    rantsofmommyland.com???? it’s over the top, but it might make you chuckle a bit.

    • I mean rantsfrommommyland.com

    • Dannie, when I read your comment, I let out a sigh of relief! I thought, “Oh, you mean it’s not supposed to be spotless!?” Honestly, I thought it WAS! As an at home mom, what other signs of daily progress do you have to show if not a clean home and well cooked meal??? I feel like I somehow have to be productive, otherwise someone, the At-Home Mommy Police, will come and take my child away to some huge public daycare and force me to work in a shoe store or something equally horrible like a GNC.

      When the house is a mess, I feel like I have to scramble to tell Travis every little thing I did that day. I jump around like a hyperactive little dog saying things like, “Oh, and I washed a load of my panties!” Of course he doesn’t ever ask me to prove anything, so he just nods and says, “Ok…Good?” But I feel like I have to prove something.
      Thanks for the reality check. And I haven’t seen that blog, but I totally will look at it now!

  3. Cimarron

    I abhor that guilty, nagging voice in my head that makes me run down my list of “accomishments” for the day when A gets home. It just kills me. And my house is normally semi-clean, but when the table is my only sewing area/paint area/eating area/craft area, and the living room floor is the best play area, it’s rarely picked up. I spend about 30min during his drive time home from work starting supper and frantically picking up, putting everyone in “real” clothes, brushing my hair and teeth, and slapping on some mascara so my blonde lashes don’t make me look like a ghost. It can get so frustrating and exhausting! But I know, at the end of the day, my job as a stay-at-home mama is to teach my children and the housework comes in second place. Granted, the oldest especially, is learning that work comes before play. But my main goal is to teach them, love them, and enjoy them while they’re little. Not always have a spic and span house.

    • I hate it too! I believe it’s the same voice that tells you the choices you’ve prayed about and made as a couple for your children are wrong… Its just the adversary trying to make us doubt ourselves as moms. Working moms have that same doubt. I’ve actually thought on bad days, “Maybe at a daycare he’d have more of a structured schedule and more play time and more activities, etc.” But the desire in my heart is to be home. It’s just that creeping voice of doubt. I keep our house decent enough that if someone stops by without warning, they aren’t terribly offended. It’s not a super high standard, I guess, but it’s realistic and I frankly don’t have the energy to care. Your eyes are set on what is most important.

      I realize that Travis doesn’t care to hear what I did all day. One day I told him a huge list of stuff I did, and then off-handedly said, “And then when Little was really grating on my patience, I kind of stopped and said a little prayer and came back to deal with him.” He said excitedly, “THAT! That right there! That is what I want to hear about! I love that! You don’t have to prove yourself as an at-home mom to me. I just love hearing about the small happy moments of the day. That makes my day.” I thought it was one of the sweetest things he’s ever said.

      Thanks for sharing your own experiences!

  4. Ahh, so well said! Thanks for following through and posting this, difficult as it must have been. Who wants to post these things for everyone to see, and to remember for years and years? I can see why no one would really want to write about the mundaneness of daily life as a SAHM, but it is so refreshing to have a reality check every now and then! And, so comforting to know we’re all really on the same page, no matter what we try to portray to the world.

    There’s a post on another blog I’ve recently started stalking which is really great too, and super encouraging. She says: There’s a verse in Zechariah (chapter 4, verse 10) that asks the question: “Who dares despise the day of small things?” Her post is about how God can be pleased with us for doing these small, mundane tasks… here’s the link to her entire post if you want to check it out. http://mamamonk.com/2011/03/29/in-gods-sweetness-a-thankful-tuesday-post/

    I really enjoyed hanging out with you today! Hope you and Little enjoyed your M&M’s dinner!

    Carole

    • I LOVE that Carole! Thanks for sharing that. I may have to print that verse out and put it on the fridge to look at throughout the day. Travis and I just started reading Zechariah together, but we aren’t there yet. One of my favorite verses for encouragement is, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17, and another one that I recite to myself throughout the day when I feel super lazy and don’t want to do ANYTHING is, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23. I love that verse. It’s fridge-worthy as well I think. Lol.

      We had a GREAT time with you guys yesterday morning! Can’t wait to get together again. Maybe next time my kiddo won’t scare yours as much 😉 Haha

  5. Tina

    I came across this searching the internet for insight. I am a stay at home mom of a 3yr old and a 1yr old, Irecently quit my job because of daycare issues. I have felt so discouraged, lost and overwhelmed. When I read this I cried, I finally realized I am not the only mom with tried, lazy, or yelling days. Thank you so much for posting this. I felt a ton of bricks lifted off my shoulders.

    • Tina, you are certainly not alone. We ALL have bad days (or bad weeks). My best advice would be for you to find a group of stay at home mom friends to connect with about once a week or so. That has become my absolute lifeline, and those ladies have become my closest friends. We all have bad days and it is ok to talk about those days together. Hang in there my friend. It does get easier, I promise!

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