Life is Good, Not Perfect

We live in an online era where friend’s and family’s lives are visual.  Where we once met other disheveled, sleep-deprived, and frazzled Moms in school hallways, we now focus on bright shiny pictures of kid’s first days of school: perfect hair, perfect clothing, and the beautiful Mom smiling proudly beside them.

There is nothing wrong with that, I love looking at my friend’s and family’s photos they post online. I feel connected to them when life gets busy or when miles keep us apart.  The trap lies within the perfect, because really…who’s life is perfect?

I’ve fallen into the trap of envying another’s seemingly flawless life who appears to be full of fun and adventure.  It’s not the type of envy where I wish I was them, but rather I wish I had life figured out a little more!  I struggle with keeping up with my kid’s homework, sports, housework, the mountain of laundry that grows daily, photography, bake sales, picture day, and at times I forget to brush my own hair…and then I get a glimpse of another’s “perfect” life and I wonder why I can’t get it all together.  What am I doing wrong!?

That has me wondering if I portray my life to be full of roses and lollipops…I assure you the roses are often neglected and the lollipops may have hit the crumb filled floor, but it’s OK…the 5 second rule dictates it’s still edible.

I do know that I’m far too awkward to hold onto a perfect-life illusion for any amount of time. The other day I parked my bike in the school parking lot and it tipped over in the wind. I had my mail stuffed into my bike basket and I had to run around catching it while it flew in the wind. This magical moment happened as the school bell rang so I was lucky to have an audience of many adults and kids. I would have aborted the mission after a few long minutes, but the mail had my name and address on it. Why must I be so awkward?

Anywhoooo, I’m focussing on gratitude these days, which means when I say “Life is Good”, it’s usually in the midst of dealing with something difficult and well…not so good. I’m trying to appreciate the beauty that lives within everyday life despite the trials and the heart-ache that goes along with it.  We wouldn’t appreciate the good without the bad.

So let me be real here.

Take for instance this photo:

I went for a bike ride that cold day in April because I was incredibly down, life’s “it’s not fair” moments had piled up. I was angry at God because my Dad has Cancer. Minutes before I took the shadow photos, I sat on a park bench and told myself not to cry. Despite my will to keep it bottled up, I cried anyway. I took this photo because photography makes me feel better, as does exercise. It’s an emotional release that is in my control, when life is out of control.

Or how about this photo:

This was the first day of school this past September. My oldest son almost missed the bus so I could take the 1st day photo which “I HAD TO HAVE” (I actually yelled that from behind my camera).  You obviously can’t see me in this photo, but if you could, you would have averted your eyes. I was sporting mis-matched ugly PJ’s, wild tatty hair, and my mascara had made a run for it.

And lastly this photo:

This was my last day of 34. I felt anxious that day because I hadn’t accomplished what I wanted to in 34 years. I chose that necklace, because it was a gift from a dear friend and it means a lot (thank you Tawn). I got over it and embraced 35 by the next day. But on this day, I was quite insecure which I covered with a smile.  🙂

So this post is for any woman who has looked at another with envy and thought to herself “why can’t I be as put together as she is.” or “why can’t I be as confident as her?”  Chances are, she isn’t as confident or put together as she seems.

And this post is for any Mother who wishes she could be better based on the outside view of another Mom.  I’m willing to bet, she too wishes she could be a better Mom and may even look the same way at you. There is no handbook for parenting, you just do your best from one day to the next.

I try to remember this when I see a horrified Mom standing in a grocery store line while her screaming kids flail around because they want candy.  It’s in my nature to look away so I don’t embarrass her, but if it was me…I would love another Mom to say “I’ve been there. I can relate.”  There is support and kindness within empathy.

Yes life is good, but it sure isn’t perfect.  Please remember that if you ever feel less than.  We are all perfectly imperfect.

From my heart to yours,

Christine