Wednesday, April 10, 2013


"He's so happy all the time!" "You're so lucky." "This is perfect!" These are actual comments posted on some of my Instagram pictures. I often look through my own feed and admire the pictures of our children and think, "If I weren't me, I would want my life". Well, that's good! I am so lucky to have this family. However, I know the occasional snapshots from my life do not tell the whole story. They do not show the twelve pictures of a blurry, crying baby before the perfectly posed and filtered photo appears on Instagram. Just behind my child doing something hilarious are piles and piles of unfolded laundry and days worth of messes just out of camera view. I'm afraid that I am guilty of portraying perfection. Of course I don't post the picture of brother hitting brother or my two-day unwashed hair. Who would? But, that's the truth!

I learned quickly after having Kendan the dangers in the portrayal of perfection. I would look around at my peers and think, "How does she do it all?" "Her kids are always dressed flawlessly!" "Their house is beautiful and spotless." I found myself comparing my life to everyone else's, and became very unhappy. It took me too long, a lot of self pity, and so much stress to realize that something's gotta give. That woman who finds all the time in the world to work out and look gorgeous? Her house is a mess (maybe she spot cleans before you come over). The mom who feeds her kids nothing but organic, whole foods and bakes and cooks as if her name was Betty Crocker? She probably hasn't worked out in months and feels fat. The latest kid's birthday party you attended that was plucked directly from Pinterest? The poor mom who planned it didn't sleep for a week prior. And the woman whose house is always clean and tidy when you cannot seem to keep the dishes out of the sink? She hasn't sat down and enjoyed an hour of doing nothing in forever. They're all on the verge of a breakdown. I know. Because, at one point or another, I have been all of those moms. Never all at once. I repeat, never all at once. Something's gotta give. But, I post a picture of us taking a walk on a beautiful day, the details of an adorable party, or a smiling baby being held by an impeccably coiffed mom! Not all the mess, sweat, and tears (mostly tears) that come with the day to day. The danger in all of this is how it makes others feel. When just the ideal moments of someone's life are revealed it breeds insecurity in the people who are witnessing it. They're not organized enough. They're not health conscious enough. They're not as good at parenting, or being a spouse, or a human in general. We're all doing it. We are all feeling not good enough but continue to show only the wonderful parts of our life to the world.

I have read many blogs and articles related to this subject. Some even written by friends of mine (here). They have all been eye opening and helpful in my search to come to terms with feeling "less than." A friend recently posted this article on her Facebook page. And I think it's really well-written. It does an amazing job of explaining the dangers in portraying the perfect life in any social forum. It also helped make sense of why I might feel down after seeing the happy images of friends and loved ones.

Another great point illustrated in the article is that we cannot create a community in short comments online. It's not a dialogue that lends itself to feeling connected. Recently, my phone would not allow me to comment on my friends' blogs. So, I resorted to emailing them when I had something to say. I found myself writing longer, more personal messages and, better yet, getting a reply that turned into actual conversations. So much more fulfilling and enlightening than a brief note at the bottom of a blog post that I am not sure they will ever notice. It made me feel more connected to them and, I'm sure, them to me. It created a more honest and sincere moment, even with people I hadn't spoken to in a while. That's the key, honesty.

I'm not saying to stop the perfect posts. I love all of the pictures of my friends' children, in quirky ensembles, running through fields of spring flowers. The challenge is to appreciate the photo and not think, "I should have taken the boys outside today. I'm such a bum!" It's a process, to be less self-deprecating in general, let alone when you're looking at a highlight in another person's life. To help in this quest to stop the comparisons of our seemingly perfect lives, I am going to start #truthfultuesday on Instagram. I'm not expecting it to turn into a huge trending topic (Ha! Ya right). But, even if only two people I know participate, it could help to make us feel better. I might post a picture of the tantrum I get when I have to say "No!" You may see a picture of my unmade bed or of my kids eating hot dogs for dinner. Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Because again, "honesty." If I'm being honest there's enough material in our daily mundaneness to make you all feel better, if you need that sort of thing. *You're welcome* So, hopefully, you'll join me. Maybe I'll get a glimpse into your ugly truths so that I realize I'm not the only one struggling to stay above water. And there will be plenty on my feed for you to take comfort in as well, coming soon!

True Life: We wasted a beautiful Saturday indoors and finally took our kids to the park, in the their pajamas, at 5pm for 30 minutes. Seen here struggling to share the  tube. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I don't even really want to put this out into the universe. Complaining does absolutely nothing to help any situation. Sure, it might make me feel better in the moment to get it off my mind. Venting to someone willing to listen usually immediately cures most things I ever feel the need to complain about. But, in general, re-hashing a situation that infuriated me does not typically resolve much. It doesn't go back in time and undo the moment. It doesn't exact any form of revenge on the person who put me in a foul mood. Yet, I complain. Some times more than others. And not nearly as much as my past self did. I think I have realized, as I've gotten older, that it isn't really worth my time. But, there are just some things that will always drive me crazy, make me want to scream, and make me, well... complain.

Here are a few:

1). Unpleasant public service employees. It absolutely never fails. If I have to go to the post office or, Lord help me, the DMV I know I will be dealing with, potentially, the crabbiest person alive. Maybe it is because they are stuck waiting on people who see their place of employment only as an inconvenient stop on a long list of errands. Maybe it's because their job location is typically run-down, under-staffed, and kept too warm in the summer/cold in the winter. Whatever their problem is, I am always hard pressed to find a friendly, helpful employee at the DMV or post office. I love being told to move to the side if my USPS form isn't 100% filled out when I reach the counter. "But, I only have one more box to complete..." Nope, step aside. Ok, thanks a lot. I am sure my two children will willingly stand still while I wait for you to finish helping the elderly lady who has nine parcels to ship. And it is just awesome when I am told that the five forms of identification I brought with me to the DMV are not enough. And that I must go back home and return, once again, with two children in tow. Upon my return, I am helped by a different employee who reassures me that what I originally had with me was, in fact, all I needed. I just cannot handle it sometimes. Those places are the pits.

2). People who take the last double cart when they only have one child. Believe it or not, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. I get it, your kid wants to sit in the higher raised, forward-facing, harness seats on the Target double cart. My kids do too. I can't go to any store without hearing a barrage of requests for the biggest cart they have. But, here's the catch... I need that cart! I have two kids with me. That's double the amount of kids than the lady has who just plopped her overly primped princess in the last double cart in the store. We walked in at the same time. She sees me barely making it through the door with two kids in my arms. I know she hears my toddler hollering for that cart, everyone in a ten mile radius can hear him. I even loudly comment that, "Yes, we will definitely try to get the double cart because we cannot fit in a regular one." But, yeah, you go ahead, lady. I'll just stick my baby in the front of this regular cart and my toddler in the basket and only buy what groceries I can fit under the cart and in my hands. Seriously?! I've covered Kendan in groceries, while he whined through the whole store because he couldn't move, and then went home with crushed bread after he kneeled into it, all because someone with only one child felt they needed the double cart. More than once! And, believe me, if someone with three kids came in at the same time as me I would forfeit the larger cart to them because they would need it more than I do. It's an unwritten rule of courtesy, people.

Sometimes we're not even happy in the double cart. You should see the scowl in the small cart!

3). A woman by herself using the large handicapped stall in the restroom. Those big handicapped stalls are amazing. Well, "mom stalls," really, because I've never actually seen a handicapped person coming out of one. They are large enough to fit a stroller comfortably, and have the diaper station so I can change my baby while my toddler goes potty. It's perfect! Except for when it's occupied. If it is being used by another mother who did not want to cram into the single stall with her rambunctious child, then great. By all means, use it. I don't have to wait until the occupant leaves to know that it is another mother with her hands full. I can tell by her incessant, "No!," and "Don't touch that!" My problem is when the person who felt the need to use the handicapped stall is one woman (teenager, middle-aged, elderly... they're all culprits), by herself. I have a choice when I know that stall is occupied. If my baby doesn't need a diaper change then I can attempt to squeeze us all into the smaller bathroom. Stroller blocking the hallway of doors, bag falling forward and hitting me in the face when I pick up my toddler to put him on the toilet. No where for him to go (but infinite things for him to touch!) if I have to sit down to go myself. Who am I kidding? I can't shut the door to use the restroom because my infant is outside the stall in the stroller! So, if my potty-trained little one can hold it for a bit, or if I do need to change a horrendous diaper, then we wait. And we wait. And my kids become impatient. So do I. What is she doing in there? Her makeup?! I try to reason with myself. Maybe all the other stalls were occupied when she got in here and she had to take the handicapped stall. But, there are three other stalls and I haven't seen any other traffic through the restroom on our way in or in the last few minutes we've been standing here. I even think that maybe this will be the first time I've ever seen an actual handicapped person leave this stall! Obviously, that'd be understandable. My kids snap me out of my thoughts. I tell Kendan, loudly because I'm annoyed now, "I know you have to go potty but we have to wait for the big stall so we can all fit and so I can change brother." This better be a handicapped person... as my baby flails almost out of my arms and my toddler begins to dance around holding himself. The toilet flushes, FINALLY! Out walks a very capable woman by herself. No crutches. No wheelchair. No kids. Something about that scenario makes my blood boil! Maybe because I encounter it almost every time we go out. I hope I wasn't that person before I had children. Something tells me I was and now karma is punishing the shit out of me.

4). People parking too closely to my mom car. Let me remove any mystery shrouding the purpose of my vehicle. It has a family sticker in the rear, two car seats in the back, slightly tinted sun protectors on the back windows, and (if you look close enough) I am sure you could see graham crackers on every seat and crushed into the carpet. It is parked in a grocery store parking lot as close to a cart return as it can be. Its sole purpose is to tote children and groceries around. It is a mom car. What does this mean to you? Don't park your F100,000 tank truck next to me so close that I cannot even open the doors! I have to fit human beings, sometimes even a carrier, in those side doors that you have now rendered useless. I do not have the skills to balance a door open before the designated spot at which it stands open on its own, while using both hands to buckle my kid in. The only thing I can do is gently open my door and rest it against your car. It's that or it swings on its own and leaves a ding. And the only reason I am going that far is to prevent damage to my car. Your vehicle deserves the ding. But, thank you, for pulling your side view mirrors in. Phew! What a big help. Um, no. All that does is tell me that you knew your dumb ass truck was parked too close to my vehicle and you left it that way. Ugh. Just.... .... ugh.

These are just a few things that bother me regularly. The top four situations that will definitely get me complaining. Yes, there are days where none of those scenarios occur and I'm left with a handful of random, small things to complain about or, *gasp*, nothing to complain about. And, believe me, I am aware of the insignificance of the above list. If I could attach hashtags to this post it would probably read #SAHMproblems #getoverit #ineedalife. I realize that if this is the majority of my complaints in life then I have it pretty good. But, I just needed to get it all off my chest. I feel better already!