A Perfectly Imperfect Life

You know those moments when you’re yelling at your kids and the thought crosses your mind, “Wow, I hope the neighbors can’t hear me.”?  Oh yeah, that doesn’t happen to me either.  Well, what about when you’re tucking your kids in bed and you have to take your foot and kick the toys aside to create a path so that they don’t trip and fall in the middle of the night when they come running to you to report a bad dream?  Oh, you don’t do that either?  Neither do I.  I was just making you feel better in case that’s what you have to do in your home.  Surely you have walked around in your dining area after the kids have gone to bed only to step on a soggy Life cereal piece from breakfast that morning (or perhaps several mornings ago) and then taken another step and landed on a dry piece of Life cereal that has now scattered into a pile of cereal dust that you intend to ignore until a later time?  Duh!  Of course that doesn’t happen in my home either.  I was just checking if you were that mean, messy, and lazy.  I’m certainly not.  Psh.  I wish.  All of the above are real life events in my home.  They also happen to be events that leave me often feeling like I’m failing at this whole homemaking thing.

I have it on good authority though that I am not alone in the homemaking world of messes and chaos.  I know this because I recently posted the following Instagram photo and caption:

 Walked away from this mess two hours ago to work on getting 4 kids to bed. Just finished doing that and returned to this reality. Keeping it real.

I received comments from multiple women sharing that their kitchens looked the same.  But how am I supposed to believe them when I come over and their home looks more like this every single time?

Sometimes I get this idea that everyone has their act together except me.  Rational Sara figures this isn’t true, but Rational Sara also tends to take a leave of absence from time to time.  And when she leaves, Natural Sara takes over and the emotional beatings begin.

There’s a part of me that has always been insecure, but I wonder if social media has exacerbated the issue in my life?  I saw this quote from Steven Furtick that read, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  That quote has been rolling around in my mind ever since.  I’m not wanting to see my Facebook feed filled with negativity or Debbie Downer moments, but I secretly love walking in to a friend’s home to find it less than perfectly orderly or to overhear a fellow mom grow impatient with their child, because it reminds me that I’m not alone in my inadequacies.  It makes me realize how important it is to be honest about ourselves with one another, especially among women.  Our lives are comprised of behind-the-scenes and highlight reels and we can’t have one without the other.  In fact, there also happens to be a stellar blooper reel in the Special Features section of our home.  I think it’s important to remember that a good life is not a perfect life.

Shortly after reading the above mentioned quote for the first time, I saw a Facebook status from a friend of mine.  She showed herself vacationing in Las Vegas with the comment, “Re-charging my battery to get through all the “behind the scenes” life moments.”  I simply “Liked” the status update, but what I wanted to say was, “Huzzah!  Thanks for keeping it real.”

I guess it’s not fair to blame social media completely.  I remember when I was a new Mom and struggling with Postpartum Depression, I kept all of the pain to myself because I figured surely nobody else had ever felt this low.  I had a narrow perception of inner turmoil at this point in my life.  Then one day, as I was sitting with some girlfriends from church, I alluded to the fact that this motherhood stuff was hard.  I didn’t confess how hard it had become for me, but enough that these women knew my heart.  They both were quick to say, “Don’t be fooled by what you see on Sunday.”  I don’t believe that they were implying that they feign perfection at church.  I think there point was that it’s easy to believe that everyone’s behind-the-scenes are jolly when you watch a family sit quietly in a pew while wearing their Sunday best.  I think this was the first time that I really began to see the uplift that takes place when we let our walls down and share our imperfect lives with others.  It eases the burden of loneliness.

And I think that’s just what I wanted to share today – you’re not alone.  You’re not alone in your messy, impatient, stressful, chaotic, and sometimes lonely, world.  I know this, because I am right there with you.  Obviously, I am not there holding your hand, but I am confirming any lies you’ve told yourself about how other homes are perfectly succeeding at homemaking and/or any other role as an adult.  And I’m sharing these thoughts to serve as my own personal reminder when Rational Sara decides to take her next leave of absence.

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One thought on “A Perfectly Imperfect Life

  1. How boring living a perfect life would be 🙂 I have learned to love the messes. Like right now the playroom is covered in puzzle pieces, ripped up construction paper, markers with missing caps, and bits of goldfish covered in chocolate syrup. Yes chocolate syrup. I have found many more blessings in those messes than when my home is clean and orderly, which is quite a break through for my OCD everything must be sanitized and in its place personality. I realized that this won’t be like this forever. The messes, the laughter, the gross experiments with food, and the “Mommy will you play with me ” will soon be gone and I’m going to miss it. I’m going to wish I had spent more time making those messes with my children than spending all my energy trying to clean them up. As I look back over the last few years the memories I cherish are those that involve cuddling in pj’s all day, finding small colored pictures hidden in random spots, having one of my girls wake me up with a very detailed cat drawn on her face by my other daughter with permanent marker….twice, fixing diy hair cuts, and peeking in their room to see dress up and animals strewn all over the floor while they play pet shop together. All involve messes and lots of clean up and scrubbing. I have learned to love the messes.


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