I’m somewhat sure I’m doing a few things wrong in my life. That is, wrong according to my own ridiculous expectations of myself.
I don't work for a high-earning company. I haven’t made the New York Times Best Seller’s list. I have dirty dishes on my kitchen counter, currently, as we speak.
I feel like a failure most days as a wife, mom and friend. I don’t call or write my Mom enough, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t sent out a Holiday card in like, five years. Oh, did I mention I’m pretty sure I’m failing as a mom?
Who makes the rules around here? Why do we feel so inadequate in today's culture? Do any of you ever want to go back to churning butter and running through fields of wildflowers with your perfectly content, technology-free children?
Much of my writing is reflective. I’m typically either thinking through a situation, or have recently come through a life lesson. This essay on life is still in process, so forgive the informal tone.
I might possibly be using you as a sounding board.
I guess I’m wondering who decides what constitutes a perfect life? Where do we get this idea that someone else’s version of living--someone’s unique existence is the one we should be copying?
Sure, there will be some overlapping. There will be people whose experiences sound very much the same. There will be statistics and data which explain preferred outcomes and point to choices which brought about that result. I get it that there are certain absolutes. That’s not what I’m thinking about here.
Current status check:
Roof over my head. (check)
Food. Clothes. Education. (check, check, check).
Technically, if those things are a part of mine and my offspring’s experience (and they are), then we have the formula for a pretty fab lifestyle. And yet, I sit here today, reflecting on all the ways I must be messing the whole thing up.
Perhaps it’s due to my fascination with perfectionism. I’m trying to give it up, honestly I am. It just creeps back into my subconscious every once in a while and begs for me to take another look at it’s many charms. If I was perfect then surely the outcomes of my life would be perfect too.
I know what I need. You need it too, if you are wandering around in “What if” land like I have been this week.
Most of the time we just need a reminder about what is truly important. We don't usually need someone telling us what we are doing wrong. Most often we need an affirming voice telling us to keep going in the areas where we are doing our best.
My husband and I had an interesting discussion this week. Every once in awhile we (and by we I mostly mean I) start worrying about whether or not our kids have all the opportunities they should have. Will they grow up in the right way, with the correct influences and will they have all the chances they could have to make it in life? I’m not sure why I’m even worried about it. But, it seems like the thing to do as a “barely millennial.” It feels like I should be very concerned about the way in which my kids are growing up.
I’m all for intentional parenting. All for it.
I’ve read a few parenting books and I think they are fabulous. We have to raise these whipper-snappers into functioning adults. It’s a big job.
But, if you need a reality check like I do, I’m going to share one with you.
It’s going to be okay.
I need to hear it and I’m guessing someone else needs to hear it too.
If you can’t afford the highly competitive, private school with all the opportunities for success, it will be okay.
If you can’t make that awesome vacation work because, well, bills, it will be okay.
If you have to eat rice and beans for the next fourteen days because the transmission went out, it will be okay.
If you can't manage putting all of your kids in extra-curricular activities, it will be okay.
If your kids decided to try out that swear word they overheard and you are still dying from embarrassment, it will be okay. (Life lesson!)
If you are loving each other and making this crazy life work to the best of your ability, it will be okay.
People who came from what seems like the back of the pack have been making it fine for years…
Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
Michael Jordan was once rejected from his high school basketball team.
The founder of Starbucks grew up in a low-income housing complex.
Perhaps you dream of creating the perfect life with as few complexities as possible. But, could it be that the complexities are what help create courage and determination?
I’m making it my goal to do as much as I can, with what I have. And then, I’m going to choose to accept the inevitable.
I don’t want to be lazy. I don’t want to say it’s good enough when it really isn’t.
However, I do want to stop allowing my perception of the perfect life to get in the way of enjoying the beautiful blessings I have right in front of my clueless face.
Today I will choose to give my family an extra dose of loving, even if they scrunch up their face and act like they don't like it.
Today I will choose to have an attitude of gratitude, knowing that I have all I need to make successful children.
Today I will remember that nothing good comes out of comparison. Instead, l will do the best with what I've been given and forget about whether or not the person next to me is doing better or worse than me.