The Truth About Doing It All…
One of my wise fellow Chattanooga Moms Blog contributors perfectly summarized this post: “You can’t.”
There. Done. Easiest. Post. Ever.
Still, like a toddler pretending he can fly, I want to pretend that I can do it all and that I have it all together.
When I first became a mom seven years ago (holy smokes!), I was completely ill-prepared and insecure in this role. I overcompensated by trying to be perfect. I remember attending a Bible study and fellowship group for moms. I thought it was the most terrifying and horrible thing I had ever done, totally because of my own issues and not because of anything the wonderful women in that group did. I thought all of the other moms were so much better than me, and I would feel like a complete failure if my baby cried or, heaven forbid, her sock fell off!
So in my ignorance, I isolated myself and decided I would become the perfect mom.
I would keep my house and car spotless; I would pack a super cute diaper bag to be prepared for any situation; I would cook healthy, affordable and delicious meals; my child would not watch T.V. or eat any sugar or chicken nuggets; I would potty train before two; I would make homemade Valentine’s and I would exercise. Oh, how I want to go back and throw the jellybeans and chicken nuggets that are now stuck in every crevice of my house and car at that silly girl! And I bet anyone who met me after that stage in my life (like post-baby #2 or #3) would not believe I was able to emulate anything close to perfection.
Thankfully, I had some great friends who spoke truth into my life. Because of them and several humbling cases of lice in our house, my freakish facade crumbled. I realized that I was not only acting out of insecurity but also pride and even selfishness. I was more concerned about what other people thought of me than I was about how I was making them feel. Perfect people make others feel badly about themselves. I certainly still don’t know it all, but I do think I have grown since that time, as I truly believe that “pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
Even now, I am not always comfortable with letting people (even those closest to me) see my “ugly.” I still want to pretend and protect myself. I mean, what would my friends really think if they knew my struggles, my temptations, my weaknesses? What if they heard me really, like really, YELL at my kids? So why not just put on a smile, some makeup and show only the good parts of our lives?
We all do this to a degree. We can carefully craft conversations and, especially, social media posts that place us and our kids in the best Instagram-filtered light. “Look at Jacky learning to swim.” “Look at Jill baking a soufflé.” “Look at me and the hubs looking cute and having so much fun on our date night.” Hearts and thumbs and “totes adorbs” all over the place.
It certainly isn’t wrong to document and reflect upon our kids’ accomplishments or our happy moments, but just as we should be careful to not believe the lie of perfectionism, we shouldn’t perpetuate it either.
Because we as humans are hard-wired to compare, the masses of perfect scenes from all media increases our desire for a perfect house, perfect kids, perfect body, perfect husband and can cause us to be discontent with our real lives. I don’t want to add to the media mirage that a perfect life exists. If you are struggling with discontentment, remember that your messy, imperfect reality is always better than fantasy. And go buy a new lip gloss at Walgreens! I recommend this one! 😉