There is something so refreshing about a vacation. To stop the normal dealings of life for a bit and recalibrate the changing seasons. My husband had last week off, and although with kids “time off” is never actually time off, we were all together… and it hit me. We are a big family. There are so many personalities to tend to and cultivate that I can’t do it alone. Trust me, I try. I try to take reign of every part of our lives and home because well… I am the wife and the mom and a woman. I should be able to do it all, right? I see the pictures of moms everywhere else, and it looks pretty and tidy and with matching outfits and with smiling kids. And they are alone… or it looks that way. It’s just mom, camera, smiling kids and an unstained white carpet. This is their everyday apparently.
But then I look at me, and my kids, and my house…
We have stains on our shirts most of the time, dirt under our fingernails by the end of the day and we could never, I mean EVER have a white carpet in our home. But somehow the idea if these other women are able to do it then I should be able to, has sunk deep into my heart. I mean, it’s my duty to take care of the home, school my children, take charge over their actions, get up early, go to bed late, do all the shopping, cook every meal, organize schedules and have the next 6 months properly planned ahead all while prancing around happily in a vintage white lace dress with something sexy underneath while holding a toddler who is eating a chocolate cupcake without spilling a crumb… and I am pretty sure I should be making some sort of income too.
Right? Isn’t this what I am supposed to do all by myself in this modern world?
Well, I am here to call this “independent” portrait lifestyle I have tried to produce for what it is. It’s a sham. Trying to do it all, alone, and make it pretty all of the time, just isn’t working for me very well. While I love the pictures of other people beautifully displayed and am not saying their lives are fake (because we all put the smiling pictures on the walls at home), I have found myself overtired too many times and a little on edge from feeling the need to be some sort of person that I just cannot live up to. I like messy things and don’t mind a little dirt on the bottoms of our feet. Thank God my husband thinks my worn out underwear is sexy (really why is it so hard to spend money on new underwear?) For every “perfect” moment there are 50 imperfect ones in my house. And most likely, if you stopped by I would have to make you wait 15 minutes because a child is in need of discipline.
The fact is… my life is not a picture of perfect lighting and everyone looking at me when they should be. And I am tired of trying to make it look that way, or feel that way. I am tired of feeling like I should do it all by myself and tired of pushing everyone at arms length because “I can do it all.” I need my husband. I need my family and friends. I need your support. I need to be lifted up and have a hat taken from me… or a child from me, when I just don’t have another hand to give. I need encouragement that I am not alone in this.
But most importantly, I need to be OK with that.
I need to be OK with letting others help and OK with you knowing that I can’t do it all everyday by myself. It’s not because I am not capable, but simply because I am designed this way. To need others, just as I need God. God didn’t invent the new “independent” modern woman, we did. God designed a way of life surrounded with support because He didn’t want us to do it all alone. He doesn’t want us to feel pressured into perfection. And while this is nothing new, it’s something new for me.
It’s time to strip myself of the wall I have been trying to build around me to look strong and independent and “put together,” and lay myself before my husband, my family, my friends, you and God. I need to let go of an unattainable standard, and let everyone see me for what I am: a work in progress. I am not polished and my children are far from perfect. I have a journey to walk, and need help along the way. And I am OK with that.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)