Beneath the Layers - April
This is a series that we started this year - in the spirit of vulnerability. It's on my heart to open this space up to more personal things, to keep it vulnerable and a place where you can come to feel validated. As women, and moms, we often times feel the same feelings, no matter how many kids you do or don't have, no matter where you live or what you do. But somehow, we all think we're alone, we think we're crazy for being crazy, and feel misunderstood. But guess what? Your crazy is actually totally relatable, while it might appear different on the outside, the heart of the matters are all the same. I hope you can find some inspiration, some hope and maybe even a few laughs knowing that we're all in this together. There's peace & unity in community.
Each month, I want to address a fear that I have, and a negative thought or self-talk that I engage with. What will follow those is an affirmation that I tell myself, something to combat those feelings, along with an action plan of how I intend to conquer those thoughts.
My hope in sharing these with you is to show you that you're not alone. It's easy to look at someone's life (or what you might think you know of it) and make judgments, assumptions and even paint a vivid picture. "She has it all together, she doesn't have struggles, her kids are perfect, her marriage is incredible, etc.." But guess what? We ALL struggle, and while many of our struggles can look different, they all feel. I want to live in a world where feelings are currency - where we can exchange feelings and invest in peoples hearts, invest in their feelings - not in their circumstances or image.
Not only do I fear not looking like I have my shit together, but I actually fear the reality that I don't have my shit together. Let me explain ... my house is never clean on all levels (unless the cleaners are walking out the door), my fridge is dirty and rarely stocked to perfect standards, my laundry room is probably a health hazard, and my kids artwork often times gets suffocated in a pile in the garage before it ever makes it to the pantry door display. My hair is never washed more than once a week and I'm lucky to feel the hot shower water hit my back every day. I wear the same 5 outfits on rotation. I eat hummus & crackers for 75% of my meals and my car looks (& smells) like a locker room. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
All of this to say: I never thought my life would be so chaotic, or that I'd feel like I was drowning on the regular. The thought of someone coming over while my house is a mess might just lead them to believe that I don't "do it all" (God forbid they see the laundry room). The thought of forgetting to email someone back in a timely matter (or responding at all) sends me into a spiral of perfectionism.
Turns out, the fear of losing control of what once seemed so manageable is a really great lesson on letting go. Perfectionism is a lie that will only lead down a path of inadequacy & destruction.
I'm going to be a shit show forever. My kids will remember me as frazzled, chaotic and never present enough. I don't take care of myself well enough. Will I ever have time for myself? My kids need me to be a better mom - more patient, less busy, more present, more flexible. Do they all get the attention they deserve equally? Collin has to search for his socks through the laundry pile - does he hate me - does he think I'm not holding up my end? Will I ever have a day where I don't step on a lego? And so on and so forth. The list goes on & on here.
My kids feel loved - abundantly. They're safe, I'm safe and I am their comfort. My kids don't notice the laundry room - or any other mess for that matter. I am doing my best. I prioritize my kids and their joy over my laundry, over myself, and over my house. I spend quality time with them every day - I engage with them and ensure they feel loved & important. I can't do it all, but I can prioritize what is important for our family's well being. I can't & won't be perfect, and that is OK. It doesn't reflect my success as a woman, as a mom, as a stay at home mom, a working mom or a wife. Life is only like this for a short time - embrace the moments and release the standards.
While I've learned to embrace the chaos, I also know that I can't operate in a mess. I need a clean house to feel good and while that's not where everyone is, that's just one of my "things". So knowing this, I HIRED HELP. This has been SO huge for me and has made a tremendous impact in my life. We have a housecleaner that comes every week and does deep cleaning & laundry. While this is expensive, the time it frees up for me is invaluable and I see this as a huge investment into my well-being and into my quality time to spend with the kids & Collin . While I can't always get the house picked up, I try to keep up with one floor at a time which helps my sanity and helps my life feel more in order. I also hire help once a week to watch the kids so I can deep dive into work for a few hours and knock some to-do's off the list. Other tangible things I do to make my life feel a bit more in control: I block my time with things like laundry, cleaning the playroom, cooking dinner, playing with the kids (putting my phone/laptop away and giving undivided attention), etc. I maximize my time with whatever I'm doing and I remind myself that whatever feels chaotic will pass, it's most likely not a big deal and if I meet the mess where it's at, instead of resisting it or fighting it, there will be a merge that takes place. Embracing chaos, joining in the wild and releasing the standards that I once set for myself has given me tremendous freedom & joy in my life as it is today.
Let's remember that we're all in this together, that often the best support is someone who's going through it right there with you. I hope you'll share in the comments if you have other responses, fears, or vulnerabilities - sometimes talking about it is just enough to take that weight off our shoulders!