The other day I was watching a mom with her kids and thinking about how “put together” she seemed. On that same day I had a different mom comment to me that she looked up to me because I always seem like I have things under control. She called me “mom goals.”
This is a flattering statement to make to any mom. I know I feel the same way about moms I look up to as well. However, I am not perfect.
So, let’s set the record straight.
When you saw me at swim lessons every day and envied the fact that I washed my kids swim towels every night after lessons…
Those suckers are dirty. I haven’t washed them all week. We just hang them up on the drying rack after lessons and pull them down the next day. I’ll wash them eventually.
When I post on social media about the movie I’m going to watch with my husband tonight and you envy the time we’ve carved out to spend together…
I must admit that shortly after that status was posted, I fell asleep on the couch and my husband switched the movie off and turned on Star Trek. He watched two hours of Star Trek (alone) while I slept on the couch during our “quality time” together. Oops.
When you saw me using supportive language with an educational approach to the consequence I just gave my kids for calling each other names…
I definitely exploded at those same kids in my mini-van earlier because they were fighting with one another. No supportive and encouraging talk. Flat out yelling.
When you noticed me passing out plastic bags filled with dried fruit, pretzels, and goldfish crackers for my kids to snack on at the park and envied my ability to provide such a healthy snack for my kids to eat…
You should know they had Fruit Loops for breakfast. And fruit snacks on the way to the park.
When you see an Instagram post about how I took my kids on a walk for some fresh air and then on a trip to the library for a summer reading program event…
It is important to mention that yesterday my kids watched movies for five hours STRAIGHT in our basement while I did laundry and caught up on the Bachelorette in our living room.
When you see my kids holding hands and being sweet to one another and wonder how it is that I get them to get along so well…
Take a look at the short one. He clocked his sister in the arm today because she wouldn’t play transformers with him, and then the tall one yanked her mermaid barbie out of his hands so hard that he fell over and hurt his knee.
When you see my Facebook post about my fun night out with the girls for margaritas and queso, and you wish you had a night away to do something fun…
This is my first night out in months. I’m not as social and cool as I appear.
When you come over to my house and go into my bathroom and you notice how clean it is, and admire the Yankee candle burning on the shelf that is giving off a soft relaxing scent…
Let it be known, this bathroom was covered in the urine of a four-year-old boy just MINUTES before you arrived to my home. However, I did a fifteen-minute speed clean before you arrived in hopes I could scrub away the smell of pee from the floor, toothpaste from alllll over the sink, and hide the fifty-five hair clips my daughter just deposited on the bathroom counter.
“How are you doing?”
When I bump into you at the grocery store and you ask me how I’m doing and I say I’m good, and then I ask you how you’re doing and you also say good…
I have to admit that when we say this I am eyeing you and wondering if you really are good, because I definitely just lied to your face. I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I need a vacation. But you don’t want to hear me complain, so I say “Good! You?”
The thing is, we’re all doing our best. And many of us can put on a good show even when things feel like they are falling apart around us. And sometimes things aren’t even falling apart. We are simply doing LIFE. Chaos is normal.
We have to remember, things are not always what they seem.
We can be so hard on ourselves based on our assumptions about how much more put together someone may appear than we feel we are. And yet, maybe I did wash all the swim towels for lessons today. What if my husband and I did manage some quality time and stayed awake for an enjoyable movie last night? This might be the day when my kids really have been getting along well all day.
We win some, we lose some.
The comparison game is dangerous and is based around a lot of assumptions. I am flattered that my friend thinks of me as “mom goals.” Hearing that lifts my spirits and gives me a little boost to keep going that day. Sometimes we need that. It’s okay to want to hear those things. But, really, we don’t answer to anyone but ourselves when it comes to our motherhood report card. My goal every day is to make sure I can look in the mirror at myself and say I tried my absolute best today and gave it everything I had – even if that includes fruit loops, tv time the pediatrician would cringe at, and some healthy sibling brawls. I encourage you to make that your goal, too.