Being a parent is tough business. Being mom sometimes seems impossible. Not only are you constantly second-guessing yourself, but you allow the shame and opinions of others to creep into the deepest parts of your mind and soul. No matter how hard you try to block them out, you hear them. Late at night, when the house is quiet. The critics. The keyboard warriors.
You think to yourself, what if that was ME? What would they be saying about ME?
So, you try harder to be perfect. The perfect mom. The perfect friend. The perfect wife. Your house has to be clean at all times. Your kids must be on their best behavior, no matter what. Your marriage has no problems, ever. Your husband is always your best buddy. You don’t fight.
And somewhere, in all that worrying and fretting, you lose your joy. You lose yourself.
You become THAT. PERSON. The one that has ceased to live and love life. Your children are growing up. And instead of watching them from the front row with glowing pride, you are in the background cleaning up. Because what if someone sees the speck of dust on the shelf. Or the crumbs under the table.
I became that mom. More concerned with the outer appearance of being happy than actually BEING happy. I no longer knew what I enjoyed. My kids were afraid to ask me anything, because Mom was busy cleaning up or doing laundry or being tired. And if they interrupted, they were met with exasperation and frustration. And usually a sigh.
My husband grew weary of asking what he could do to help. And of asking if I wanted to play a game, or watch a movie, or just hang out together. Because….I HAD TO CLEAN! THE HOUSE MUST BE CLEAN!!
Then one day, I got tired of being tired. And of playing perfect. Because my life is so imperfect. And that is what makes it beautiful. My kids are loud. They are messy. They don’t always behave the way I would like them to. My husband annoys me. He puts dirty dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher. He snores. Loudly. He puts his shirts in the hamper without pulling the undershirt out.
But they love me, dirt or not. They accept my imperfections.
So, I stopped worrying about the sticky juice on the table. And the dishes in the sink. They will be there tomorrow.
My life, my kids, my family….they are here now. Every last imperfect part of them.