And I'm done doing it.
I just want a butt like J-Lo.
A house, garden, and marriage, like Chip and Jo Jo.
Hair like this girl I saw on Pinterest one time.
Skin like Kerry Washington. Does she even age???
To cook like my sister.
To have the patience of Mr. Rogers.
The humor of Kristen Bell.
The parenting skills and prowess of every expert ever.
To buy all organic groceries.
But to reduce my grocery bill by 50%.
The clothing genius of Hello Fashion Blog on Instagram.
To be fit and strong like Jillian Michaels.
But to not give a rip about those things like Mother Theresa.
I want to teach my kids to be fearless and that they can do ANYTHING.
But I want to control it so they never ever get hurt or scare me ever.
All while coming across as "chill," "fun," and eating a slice of pepperoni pizza two times the size of my face.
"The only thing worse than this unattainable standard is the guilt that follows when perfection proves impossible. Sister, what could be crazier than a woman who wakes children up before dawn, feeds and waters them while listening and affirming all their chatter, gets them dressed and off to school with signed papers,then perhaps heads to a job to put food on the table or stays home to raise littles who cannot even wipe, completes one million domestic chores that multiply like gremlins, breaks up fourty-four fights, intentionally disciplines 293 times a day, attends to all emails/ correspondence, deadlines, helps with math/writing/biology homework, serves dinner while engineering a round of high-low, oversees bedtime and bath marathon, reads lovingly to lap children, tucks them in with prayers, finishes the endless daily junk everywhere pickup, turns attention to husband with either mind or body, then has one last thought for the day: I am doing a terrible job at everything. .....we cannot do it all, have it all, or master it all. That is simply not a thing. You have to decide which parts are draining you dry, [and ask] what parts do you love and are life giving?"
Jen Hatmaker, For the Love
This morning as I struggle with my own shoulds, woulds, and coulds, I am reminding myself of the process of letting go of these unrealistic, crushing expectations.
It can get like a pressure cooker up in here.
Recognize this insanity for what it is. This morning I laid in bed, thinking about all that's on my plate and told my husband, "It's happening again."
"It's feeling impossible again. The pressure it's becoming too much." I let the tears fall down my face.
"Life. Kids, work...all my expectations and what I'd like to accomplish."
As the tears fell it felt good to own it.
When I say my unrealistic expectations out loud—it's a lot easier to recognize them for what they are: impossible. I set myself up for failure before I've even started.
So I call: ENOUGH.
I am pretty awesome. Most especially when I'm rocking my work out clothes, bathed in yesterday's sweat. I probably smell like flowers.
Laugh at it.
Reality doesn't always seem funny by myself, but it does seem funny when I text it too my friends. Like when I wore a scarf for an entire day before realizing there were two baby socks and a pair of infant pants tucked inside. Like pictures of potty-training fails, or a "I gave up on today, so I'm watching Runaway Bride instead."
Maybe it sounds silly, but there is something powerful that happens when I say to myself, "I forgive you."
I forgive you for not being perfect. I forgive you for being grumpy. I forgive you for letting your kids watch too much TV. I forgive you for not being as patient as you'd like. I forgive you for being flawed and being human.
I don't know about you, but I need a clean slate.
I have a really hard time building anything productive on top of yesterday's guilt.
Honestly, I usually feel so bummed about my failure that I have no energy to fix anything. I end up repeating yesterday instead of making the changes I want to make.
Now let it go.
The other day I was obsessing about a mistake I made that affected someone else. I envisioned how furious she must be, and chastised myself for being so forgetful and careless. In the middle of a hurricane of negative self-talk, a small voice inside me said: Would you be mad if she had done this to you?
No, of course not. It's not a big deal.
Then why not you? Why wouldn't you give the same grace you have for others, to yourself?
Let's be imperfectly and wonderfully OURSELVES. We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. We will NEVER be everything.
No one is pulling this off.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our kids wouldn't trade us for anyone in the world. Not even for J-Lo + Mother Theresa + Mr. Rogers.
They may each be wonderful in their own ways, but to our children, nothing compares to the glorious, undefeatable, messy wonder that is their mama.