We work so hard here in the Midwest just waiting and waiting and waiting for nice weather and when it finally comes, oh glorious, we are so much NICER and better looking when we aren’t the saddest shade of paste.
I spend a lot of time on Instagram and I am always impressed and sometimes a pinch envious of the perfect photos of beautiful people with amazing white kitchens and clean kids dressed in a wardrobes way trendier than mine, often traveling to sexy locations. I wonder who the heck is taking the photos of these people, because often the whole family is included or it’s a fashion blogger so does she have a full time guy who just follows her around all day while she visits the trendiest restaurants in NYC, Nashville and LA? Sometimes it’s a flawless family on a Victorian sofa in the woods or on the beach and all I can think about it what a hassle it would be to haul a sofa into the forest.
If I want to get a whole family shot someone is crying or pouting and then I have to yell and more kids start crying and I just give up because why bother?
If I want a photo of myself I have to beg a kid to do it and then I feel narcissistic and embarrassed. I could choose Henry but he’s short and all women know the higher the angle the better. If I ask Violet she’ll use an app that will give me a pig nose or buck teeth. That means asking Maren and she’s nearly 12, and struggling with having a Mother who her peers follow on social media yet she isn’t allowed on any of those platforms herself. Better leave well enough alone so we don’t have to have this conversation (again.) Sleeping dogs, best to let them be.
Doesn’t being a Mom in this new era feel so weird sometimes? My kids are growing up and about a year ago I was burning out. I wanted to be home but wanted not to be home. I felt guilty for it and didn’t really know how to talk about it. On Sunday nights I was a raging lunatic cleaning the house (with Norwex, obviously) while everyone else was busy being together. And I was angry. Most the time I don’t make big changes until I get pissed off. So that’s what it took. Me, nearly breaking the toilet because I was scrubbing it so hard and toilet water was splashing me in the face which was both nasty and a little refreshing. That broke something in me.
About a year ago I got help.
Help with cleaning my house.
Help with my business.
Help with my kids.
About a year ago I started to let go.
Of taking share-worthy photos.
Of hosting perfect gatherings.
Of trying to rid my floor of dog hair.
Of taping perfect training videos for my team and my personal business.
Of the guilt.
I am a classic, firstborn overachiever in many ways, and getting help and letting go is something I will keep having to practice. My oldest corrected me when I told her “practice makes perfect” by suggesting “practice makes progress.”
If we can all just try a bit harder to ask for or hire help, and let go when things need letting go of, we’d have so much more time to throw into things that create memories, rather than staging them for the perfect shot. My mom was the Fun Mom at the pool, with stranger’s kids hanging on her back while we played Marco Polo and dove for pennies from the rough bottomed pool. Nobody ever took a magazine/Instagram worthy photograph of her and that never kept me from remembering how fun and full of life she was.
A week ago I shared this article on Scruffy Hospitality and it received an incredible amount of shares, likes and praise. Clearly most of us are seeking less stress, pressure, and perfection and more connection and friendship. Can we all make an effort to strive towards Scruffy Parenting/Hospitality/General Living and enjoy this stage of our life before we all tire out? I want more time to play, dream and enjoy those I love most.
That’s a getting help and letting go kind of life.