I'm not going to lie. Lately I've been feeling like a failure.
The kitchen counter produces mess faster than I can clean it up. Laundry quadruples when I blink. The clutter magically appears even after I've already cleared it. Exercise isn't happening like my head tells me it should. My wardrobe consists of non-fabulous "whatever fits". These long winter days spent with my children leave me feeling more and more insufficient in my mothering. When I sit down to write about it all, words fail me. When I do pour my heart out in a little project that I'm working on, I think- no one's going to want to read this.
Maybe this has something to do with winter blues. Maybe it has something to do with the phase in life that I'm in right now with two small children that tear apart faster than I can clean and arrange. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no one has yet invented a way to receive coffee through an IV.
But the more I ponder why I beat myself up, the more ridiculous I feel this guilt is. I am doing my best! Why do I feel like a failure? Why do I feel so much pressure to be perfect in my housekeeping/mothering/exercising/fashion wearing/decorating? If my house is cluttered while I love on my children and slowly get the work done, who cares? Why is it considered a failure in my mind if the world that I'm creating for my family isn't perfect every second?
Truth be told, I blame social media for all the extra guilt I've been feeling lately.
When I log on to my computer or phone to catch a short break, I see women doing it all- one post/pin/tweet/status at a time.
tells me that everyone else's houses are way nicer than mine.
tells me that they are all perfectly clean and decorated fabulously.
tells me that I should be super skinny with "summer ready" arms
tell me that other mothers plan their days out in fifteen minute increments full of brain-enhancing activities for their kids....while modeling their own clothing line.
My email inbox
tells me that these "fifteen easy/gourmet dishes" are being made effortlessly by everyone else
Facebook tells me exactly when all of my friends are exercising, pushing their houses toward Pinterest-ready, checking-in on the amazing adventures they're taking their children, sharing pictures of the gourmet meal they made that day, and their overall daily success in fabulousness.
According to social media, thousands of women are perfectly juggling every single aspect of the mommy-life. Meanwhile, I am passed on on the floor next to them because the bowling balls I tried to hoist smacked me in the face.
It's enough to give 'this girl' a complex as I wear pajamas cleaning my dirty house with a failed wreath project adding to the clutter with two children whose only objectives in life seem to be to live in the dishwasher, play with the toilet plunger, and hide half-eaten pears where I won't find them until the smell leads me to the scene of the crime.
I get how helpful all of these posts can be. I want to be inspired. I want to get good ideas for dinners. I want to hear what activities I can use for my own kids to fill the days. I want to see exactly how that boot/sweater/jean combination can make me feel like a million bucks. I want to have this connection to the outside world especially when the only conversation around here most days is gibberish and toddler yells.
But sometimes I think it's too much of a good thing. Obviously it's not a bad thing for people to be posting all of these wonderful hints and helps. The "bad thing" comes in when I let it control me. The bad thing comes in when I have an unhealthy view of my reality versus what I see on the screen. The bad thing is when I let it affect how I feel about myself.
I find myself pulling back from social media more and more these days. (Dear social media, It's not you...it's me.) I need to remind myself where my balance is. I need to remind myself that my reality- albeit not shiny and perfect- is amazing too. I need to spend my disaster-filled days with two rambunctious toddlers and be happy and content that my life is infused with the joy of 80% baby giggles 10% soft hugs 5% wet-open-mouthed-baby kisses and 5% looks of adoration in those big blue eyes- even though the rest of my life might be falling down around me at times. It's a different kind of perfect.
Maybe I'm the only one who struggles with these feelings of failure because of the overdose of inspiration available online these days. Maybe you are all sitting in your Pinterest-perfect homes, planning your gourmet meals, wearing fashionable scarfs draped around your non-food stained outfits, while chatting with your personal trainers on speed dial. If that's the case, I'm glad to contribute a post to your daily chuckle.
But just in case I'm not alone on this, I'm sharing my new daily affirmation that I need on the days that I forget and let myself get caught up in an unhealthy attitude toward inspiration and reality.
I Need To Remember:
I may not be perfect, but I am not a failure.
I am not the best, but I am doing MY best.
I will take inspiration however I can, but if I get depressed through the comparison game, I will shut my computer and go live my life one pin-less chore at a time.
I will be thankful for what IS and what I CAN do and what DOES get done rather than focus on what isn't, can't, and doesn't.
My life is uniquely mine. Small pleasures, small accomplishments, small frustrations, small joys- no one else can define how that should look for me or choose my attitude towards them.
My day might go as planned. It might not. It's OK. Tomorrow is a new day.
I will not have small, disaster-prone children forever. Someday my house will be clean and quiet and I'll miss these days.
I'm not running a marathon anytime soon (or probably ever), but I am putting one foot in front of the other and pressing forward where I can.
My success is not measured against the success of others, but rather my contentment and happiness in what I have done with what I have been given.
I will love through frustrations, encourage through disappointments, laugh through failures, and keep my focus on the big picture of life instead of the small details of mundane.
I will live for myself instead of for an invisible online audience.
I will stop pretending that motherhood is a reality TV show in which there are judges, makeup artists, set designers, and ambitious contestants waiting to slit my throat at the first sign of weakness.
I will be real even when it's not cool.
And now.....I will now stop writing this blog post to go do a few more laps on the housework hamster wheel that is calling my name....
Here's to going "unplugged" when necessary, keeping perspective when feeling overwhelmed, and counting blessings even when they look different than the photo-shopped/Instagram-enhanced picture fantasy.