There is so much happening in our lives right now, and much to see outside the windows and on the tiny screen of the “smart” phone that is always in my hand. And maybe not so smart at all, because I (just like you) know it’s loaded up with lies. And truths. Partial ones, anyway.
I am constantly hearing the words that Josh and I make everything look so “perfect.” He has even accused me of sugar-coating for the blog or presenting the frothiest version of reality when beneath the surface more troubling things are happening. It’s interesting though because every single time I have opened up about a personal struggle in this forum, friends and followers alike have reached out to either check on me “Oh my gosh, I’m worried!” or chastise me, “Your life is perfect. Stop complaining.”
They say these things because they follow this blog or they see my posts on Instagram and Facebook and think that life is nothing but happy over here and that I am this fit little thing who runs about town in Lululemon pants with a Starbucks in hand and a baby on her hip who never, ever screams. (Actually, I'm just too busy to eat most days... and believe me, she screams. A lot).
Well, they’re (sort of) right and yet all very wrong. But the interesting thing is that yes, my life is perfect. My life is perfect because it’s perfect for me. Because I fight for that perfect, I fight really, really hard. It’s perfect because a real life means tears and sorrow and illness. Perfect because I wake up with pimples and wrinkles just like a lot of moms who still suffer the slays of postpartum hormones a year after childbirth, and yet are out of the 22-year-old safe zone into which no crow’s feet will fly.
So, yeah. This is what perfect looks like.
Perfect looks like coffee stains on a HomeGoods carpet and walls that are mysteriously smeared with candle wax. It looks like reheating the same damn cup of coffee at least five times before enjoying a second sip.
Over here, perfect looks like a woman who is more than a mom. She has a pretty ugly C-section scar and a ton of unresolved emotions that go with it (plus some tummy skin that won’t budge no matter what) but she’s cool with fitted leggings that tuck things into the order she wants them. She’s not afraid to take an hour and a half off from the baby every two weeks to get her nails done. If she earns a little bit of extra money one month, damn straight she’s going to treat herself to an eyebrow pencil or an extravagant lipstick because she deserves it and she’s not sorry.
Perfect looks to me like the place where you finally set yourself free of the bullshit that other women want to impose on you and walk out and say, “Enough!”
Around these parts, perfect looks like permission to get angry and talk it through. Perfect is the knowledge that in many ways, life is very, very good, but that you are 100% entitled to fear and sadness. It looks like the mornings when you get out of bed and can’t walk because you suffer from a chronic illness you discuss with next to nobody. It looks a hell of a lot like plastering a smile on your face when you don’t feel well enough to get down on the floor and play but you know life is too short so you do it anyway, for her.
In my home perfect looks like unsettled. It looks like clutter that doesn’t have a system of organization. We’re like nomads around here and I can’t wait to finally buy a house (soon??) with proper storage and a backyard for the bored dog and his human sister to run around.
So you might see me posting a selfie in some expensive t-shirt and not realize that I bought it on clearance at the Bloomingdales outlet in Dallas three years ago when I last had a job that paid well and didn’t yet have a kid who needs so much. What you don’t see is that all around me is usually a toddler-mess and that at night, after she’s tucked in and my husband is snoring softly, I’m back to work. My perfect means hustling every single minute she’s asleep and I’m awake, to build things that will help her future. My perfect is a sleepy haze and the settling of glitter after churning out tutus on two hours of sleep.
I am not writing this post to say, “Woe is me.” Nor am I writing it to brag. I am writing it to actually do the thing right in the middle of those two, which is to say that we are all the same. But there will inevitably be people who interpret it in a negative way, on either end of this spectrum. I’m writing it to walk away from the scrutiny I am tired of facing. And to remind you that you, too, have that right.
Your life doesn’t have to be beautiful and fulfilled every single moment of every single day for it to be perfect. We all struggle with money and health, we all fight with our husbands. We all love our kids and sometimes find ourselves wondering if we deserve them. Your life is perfect because it’s yours. You can sit around feeling crappy about the piles of dirty clothes everywhere or you can get up and put them in a hamper. But whichever you choose tonight, I hope you do yourself this one favor: stop judging yourself and your family by the things you see on social media. Because of course, by design, it’s all simply too perfect.