When I lived in Virginia, I attended a church that gave out a "Mother of the Year" award every Mother's Day. Each year, the pastor would make a little speech describing the wonderful acts of motherhood by the chosen woman, then he would present her with a shiny plaque and we would applaud. It was a truly a horrible idea.
At the time, I had three children under the age of four, and it seemed that whenever I was in public, at least one of those three was screaming. My two main goals each day were to survive and to shower. That was it. On Mother's Day, as I straggled into church pushing a double stroller and barking at a perpetually belligerent toddler, probably the last thing I wanted to hear about was the angelic woman who adopted and homeschooled her eight children, always with a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips. I would inevitably begin to compare my circumstances with hers, reasoning that if she could raise eight with such ease, then I truly was an inadequate mother because my butt was being kicked by just three.
My friend Vonda was in the same boat as me, and had the same attitude as well, and throughout the year, whenever one of us would screw up, we would say to each other, "Oh well, I guess you won't be getting that award this year," and it always made me chuckle.
Someone made a comment to me in passing today about being "too perfect". It wasn't meant maliciously, and in fact the person clearly doesn't know me at all or she would never use those words to describe me, but it really made me think. I know myself, I know the struggles that I deal with, I know the mistakes that I have made, and I know without a doubt that I am far from perfect. If you regularly read this blog or know me personally, you have probably heard stories of my failures as well.
But during the time I knew the aforementioned acquaintance, which was when I was in high school and college, I really thought I knew everything. I thought I was perfect, and therefore I was always right. Thankfully, with age and parenthood, God has shown me through the years that I need just as much (or even more) of His grace as everyone else. What I'm trying to say is, I hope that imperfection is what is coming through my writing on this space.
I like to take photos, and I like to be goofy and (try to) write funny things. I'm good at throwing cheap birthday parties, and I'd like to think I'm good at laughing at myself when the occasion presents itself. Those are the things that I put on this blog, because I need this to be an outlet of joy and occasionally a bit of sarcasm. But there are lots of other things in my life that will never be shared online. I didn't photograph the hurt look in Katie's eyes today when I lost my temper. I won't blog about the argument my husband and I had last week. There are issues in my life that I deal with on a daily basis that will never show up on these pages, for the sake of my own self-respect as well as for the privacy of others.
Sometimes when I read people's blogs or catch up with them on Facebook, or even run into them at the grocery store, I'm inclined to look at the appearance of their life and assume that they really have it together. Like the Mother of the Year awards, I start to compare myself to them, and I start to feel like I just don't measure up. I look at how they've sewn another adorable toddler dress or how they've photographed their beautiful family frolicking on a gorgeous beach, and I start to feel that bitterness and envy in my heart. But the truth is that none of us truly have it "together", and we all have different difficulties and obstacles in our lives, and that I really can't tell what someone's life is like on appearances alone.
I don't really have a good conclusion to this post, I just really wanted to get that off my chest. What are your thoughts?
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