As sit here on my yogurt-stained couch, looking at the dried pieces of cheese trapped in the shag carpet, I can’t help but wince a little bit. This post is probably a reminder for myself. I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t really like it, but it’s in my nature to want things to be done a certain way and for things to be cleaned a certain way. (Okay, I just like things to be sparkly and clean, period). Oh, that photo up there? I turned around for a couple of minutes to stir the pasta and I come back to find that my lovely children had TPed the entire family room.
But the thing is- I am a pregnant mama with two young kids. One of which just exclaimed, “Ahh… I got a booger!” The reality is that my house isn’t going to be clean all the time, sometimes my house isn’t going to smell very nice, and it’s certainly not going to be organized all the time. I’m just going to have to learn how to live with an imperfectly clean and organized house. The photo below? The kids decided to colour their faces with a washable blue marker, and my youngest fell asleep in his highchair, mess and all.
I realized that I needed to challenge myself to let it go and embrace the mess and imperfections that comes with being a mother, and that this applies to things outside of having a perfectly clean house. Not only am I going to have a slightly (okay, very) messy house most of the time, my body won’t be the same again. I have stretch marks that have left a silvery mark on my previously chiseled abs. My hipbones are a little wider from childbirth. One foot is larger than the other, and when I laugh really hard or sneeze, I pee a little bit. Holding myself to a standard of unattainable perfection isn’t healthy for my mental health or emotional health. Of course I make sure my house is hygienic, and that I take care of my body… but to expect things to be perfect, is not good for me or my sweet children.
Sometimes I yell and am impatient with my children. It’s hard for me to even admit that. There are days where I sit on the couch and turn the TV on for the kids. I am an imperfect parent. I don’t think any parent can be perfect, and I think it’s time to give ourselves grace, because in doing so, we give ourselves room to acknowledge where we can make improvements. No, life won’t be perfect and I won’t be a perfect parent, but I think it is important for moms to be honest with each other so that we can dialogue with together and provide each other support and encouragement.
Having a messy house, having what society deems as an “imperfect” body (that’s for another post!) and having an imperfect house without a sparkly white kitchen that’s perfectly tiled doesn’t make me any less of a mom or any less of a person. And being active on social media, my tendency is to pretend that my life is perfect, when it isn’t. It’s tiring to pretending, and it doesn’t feel very authentic. I realized that I was afraid of embracing the mess in my life and scars on my body because of a few reasons. I was afraid that I was going to either fall into complacency. And I was worried something was terribly wrong with me, that I was somehow defective because I have stretch marks from my pregnancies, or that I can’t keep the house clean no matter how hard I try. I was afraid that if people really knew about my imperfections and saw the messes in my house, that they would think that I was a bad mother or a defected person.
But here’s the thing: being imperfect, learning to live with and love the messes and quirks our lives is brave. Life is real and raw, and there’s something extraordinary with unveiling the mask of perfection that we seem to place over ourselves. My stretch marks formed because I nurtured two sweet babies with the warmth of my body for 9 months. They are physical reminders that my babies and I used to be sustained by one heartbeat. My hips are a little wider because my body prepared itself for two magical home births. The messes in my house are made when we share a meal or a snack together at playtime. The finger prints on my patio doors are from my two boys playing and giggling with each other from opposite sides of the sliding door. When I am impatient with my kids, it gives me an opportunity to teach them how to apologize through example.
So here’s my challenge to myself over the next week: I’m going to challenge myself to share something with others that shows these “messes and imperfections” that I have such a hard time embracing. Whether it’s on my personal Facebook profile, on social media, or on here, I challenge myself to embrace raw, real life along with its imperfections and share it with other moms who might also be feeling the same way. Anyone else want to join me? So, how ’bout another shot of that lovely redecorated family room?