>> Sunday, November 21, 2010
Evenings like last night remind me sharply of the disparity between my reality and the persona I may unintentionally present online, in this space here where I ruminate and reflect, sharing my favorite photos to evoke a feeling or sentiment, or just to illustrate the boyfulness of my life. Occasionally I get emails from a reader or a comment from a faraway friend who reads my blog telling me 'what a great mom' I am. While I appreciate support and think, in general, that people should express kind words towards each other more often, I cringe a little when I get these kudos for my mothering. Because frankly -- I feel a little fraudulent.
To clear things up, I offer up now a little disclaimer: I, for one, most certainly do not have my shit together.
I love mothering, I enjoy most every aspect of it, and frankly I think I do a pretty good job overall. But I have plenty of faults and flaws and insecurities. For starters: I yell too much, I'm always late, I tend toward laziness, I'm terrible at returning calls and emails, my house is always messy, I'm the only mother on the east side of Madison who has kids that won't eat raw vegetables straight from the garden without coercion. (Or dip. Lots and lots of dip.)
And my kids are crazy. While this is in no way a fault or even a complaint, it is occasionally a source of insecurity. I have three very physical, very loud, very active boys and when we venture out to parties and potlucks and events, they are still physical and loud and active. Inevitably, raucous devolves into mayhem, often resulting in wrestling, spinning, or random and unintentional kicks to someone's face. Even among the most supportive and understanding of crowds (like last night, at our beloved semi-annual preschool art show and stone soup party) I walk away feeling slightly deflated, wondering if silent judgment passed through the minds of friends and acquaintances, or whether I left anyone baffled by my seeming ineptitude in the child-control department. My exhaustion and doubts climb their way to a seat of power, stepping on the heads and slouching shoulders of my confidence and intuition. Is this just how it is with three kids? With three boys? Or is it me?
Point being - I'm not perfect. Anyone who knows me in person or finds themselves in my company for more than 2o minutes can attest to this. (Or you could ask my family and they'll tell you sight unseen....) We measure ourselves against the best of another mother, rather than the whole. It is a dangerous path to tread because we will never measure up to the composite of the best of every other mother.
In these online spaces where we select which pieces of the whole to share, which stories to tell, what photos to post, it is easy to give the impression of having it all together. Which I don't. And I just wanted to make that clear.
So to you - far away friends and online strangers - especially the new mamas among you -- please remember not to hold yourself in comparison to the facade you perceive as the ideal, the Perfect Mother -- here or on other blogs or at the grocery store or in the school pick up line. Because she doesn't exist. I'm not her, you're not her. (There is no Her.)
Thus ends my public service announcement.
I wrote a little piece last week on my struggle with ambition and passion and faith over at In the Hush of the Moon. I wax a bit poetic, so if that's not your thing I did leave a bit more of an explanation in the comments. The post is here if you'd like to read it.
And finally, for a little glimpse into the chaos that is my daily life, here's a little clip (below) from a perfectly normal, run of the mill evening in the Clarity-Chaos Household. Watch, then please tell me - in all honesty -- is this level of volume and activity the norm in your house too? Does it seem so MUCH just because our house is tiny? Am I scaring you away from having more children?
Oh, and be sure to head over on Tuesday to good tots! a new blog "for stylish moms and their kids" by my friend Jill of the inspirational fashion/style blog good life for less. She'll be publishing a piece I wrote for her mom says series where I share my top five mantras for mothering. Please check it out if you have a minute!
Over and out friends. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving.
note the minivan captains chair masquerading as furniture. and the sweet dog, immune to the mayhem.