I am grouchy today. I'm overtired and I'm feeling sorry for myself... or maybe mad at myself. I'm not sure which. The fact is, I have high expectations for myself, our family, our home, etc. and I feel that I fail at meeting those expectations... every... single... day. So, are my expectations too high or is my motivation and ability too low? Probably a little of both I guess. I expect a lot from my husband and my four-year old too. I expect them to pick up their dirty socks, put away their shoes, put their laundry inside the hamper instead of on the floor next to the hamper, give me some "me" time, etc. But th fact is that we all have different priorities and what one of us defines as important work woudn't necessarily be defined the same way by everyone else. I get really overwhelmed when things don't go the way I had expected them to and I either burst out in tears or get angry and pout about it.
Lately I feel mean and crabby and I know that the root of all anger is fear. I have been a grouch at home and I think it's because I'm afraid that what feels overwhelming at the moment is not going to go away and I am afraid that I can't resolve it on my own. I am afraid that I am becoming unhappy or creating unhappiness in others. It seems sometimes that I am never satisfied no matter what and I think this is because my expectations are too high. Maybe I look at too many "home" magazines, maybe I read too many blogs and see too many 'perfect' projects on Pinterest. I have awesome kids, a beautiful comfortable home, a dream work-life balance, a supportive husband who works hard and long both at his job and on the farm, a postcard-picture view out of my windows and from my patio, and a really amazing extended family who comes together in times of need and in times of celebration! I really could not ask for more! And yet I let the little things that are undone get to me. I let the messy pile of wood that needs to be split and stacked bother me because when I look at our yard, I see that pile of wood with it's wrinkled up tarp as a big mess instead of letting our beautiful flowers and plants brighten my day or remember the joy that I feel seeing my little guy play on the tire swing out in the yard. Instead of appreciating the good, home-cooked, comfort food I've just made, I feel anxious about the pile of dishes that resulted from making that meal. I see the piles and bags and boxes in our laundry room and cringe because I think our laundry room should look like all of the laundry rooms in the BHG magazine or on Houzz.com. We shouldn't have junk, should we? We shouldn't have things, stuff, clutter. But yet, some of that "stuff" is part of what makes us who we are. Some of that "stuff" makes us smile, brings joy to our lives, reminds us of someone we care about. It seems there is a fine line between allowing your home and your posessions to be a reflection of who you are and allowing the "stuff" to become sources of stress for you.
I find that I'm a bit of a hypocrite... I don't judge anyone else's homes. Yet, I honestly believe everyone else is judging mine. I love walking into a comfy, lived-in house with drawings taped on the walls and blankets strewn about from the morning snuggles or last night's movie, and toys on the rug that show what the kids have been playing with ...and yet, if someone is coming to my house, I spend HOURS just trying to bring the house to what I think is presentable. I'm not talking a thorough cleaning either. I'm talking just getting the dishes washed or into the dishwasher and getting the week's worth of mail off the kitchen table and picking up the dirty laundry off the bathroom floor and putting the shoes and boots in their bins in the laundry room rather than right in front of the front door. Cliff always says things like "Do you think other people don't have dirty dishes? Do you think other people don't have laundry?" and yet I think that somehow other people manage to have order and cleanliness all the time. So, what is the secret? What am I missing? How do they do it?
We eat macaroni and cheese at least once a week, and McDonald's at least once a week. We have dirty floors 6 1/2 days a week - they're only clean for about 3 hours after I've swept and vacuumed. We can't seem to go more than one day a week without a sink full of dishes. Our mail and paperwork pile up and when I'm in a hurry to clean up the house I shove the pile in the kitchen cabinet to go through it later. All this prep to have someone over and yet no one would come in to my house and think "Wow, it's clean in here". Nope, it is still very lived in. Our laundry/mud room is a disaster. I don't want to live feeling like I'm failing at "wife-hood", at being a grown-up, at parenting. So, how do we "let go" of these ideas that things need to be perfect. They aren't perfect at my house and I am holding on to the thought that they can't really be perfect at everyone else's houses either.
THIS was my kitchen island just a few nights ago...
The picture is loading upside down here for some reason even though it's correct on my computer.
Rachel from Finding Joy wrote about the "Perfect Mom Fallacy" recently and it really resonated with me. Am I not the only one that sometimes just sits on the floor and fights tears because I feel defeated? because I feel like I am failing at what I am "supposed to" be doing? Even realizing that I am probably not the only one, I still feel like "I have only two kids. These other Moms have five or seven or eight kids" or "They are homeschooling their kids and so they have a lot more stress." I need to work on being okay with just being what I can be and know that LOVING my kids is the most important. Making fancy art prints for their bedroom walls or sewing curtains for their rooms that match the bedding or the rug wouldn't make me a better Mom.
I think that ALL of us Moms, and Dads, and Adults who don't have children, but still struggle to make life perfect, need to realize that perfect is defined by us. It's what's perfect for us, not for someone else.
(I never finished writing this post, but I'm posting it anyway! Story of my life! Ha! Unfinished...)