Saturday, September 5, 2015

Guilt vs. Reality

Who knew that parenthood would be so horribly guilt-inducing, and failed to tell me about this phenomenon?  Because I want to blame my lack of preparedness on YOU, all of you who neglected to tell me this piece of information.

On any given day, there are bucket-loads of guilt careening around me, picking up speed as I go through my day, logging in to the computer, and seeing all of the lovely things my other friends are doing or have done with their children.

Please note the piles of boxes
to the left, which have since
grown to unmanageable
I see beautiful, clean homes.

Mine is decidedly NOT ready for House Beautiful.

Only 4 of these are mine...the
unsmiling one in the back, in particular.
I see smiling, happy children, in matching, or at least coordinated, brand-name clothing.

Ha!  Smiling, sometimes; matching...rarely.  Brand-name?!? NEVER.

I see perfectly coiffed pooches, behaving the way well-trained indoor dogs behave. 

There are spots in my carpet, new ones appearing regularly, and he hasn't the decency to even look ashamed of himself.

I see creative decorations.
I see imaginative, fun, and educational trips.
I see lots of time with extended families.
I see fit parents, teaching fitness to their children.

And then I look at my REAL life, and I feel guilt.
I feel guilty for choosing to attempt to live debt-free instead of racking up credit card payments for vacations we cannot afford.
I feel guilty for valuing time with my children over having the "perfect look"...for myself, my children, or my house.
I feel guilty for taking my children to other places, away from extended family, living in rental homes, using furniture scarred from many moves.
I feel guilty for the losses of friends, the familiarity, the place to call "home", the pets, the time with grandparents and cousins, and siblings.

In my heart, I know that we are doing what God wants us to do, where He wants us to be.  But, meanwhile, there is this huge hole that gets bigger with each Pinterest and Facebook post that shoots a dagger of "what-if", and "if only" into my already aching heart.

The reality is that social media has given us expectations of ourselves and of each other that are unrealistic.  There is NO WAY one person can possibly do all of the things that show up as possibilities and that become part of what we believe to be expected of us.

Reality is this:
I am not, nor will I ever be, a blonde bombshell.  Six pregnancies made that very clear to me.
My family is happy, whether they smile in photos, or not.
I do not care about brand-name anything (except maybe cars), and I HATE to shop, so all of the sales in the world will not convince me to become a mall-rat.  EVER.
We have debt.  We are trying to pay it off.  We will NOT go into further debt to do things that are out of our reach anyway.
I don't care if my house looks lived-in.  It IS.  We will be comfortable here.

Frankly, I don't know how people fit in all of the living they do.  I don't understand how they have the finances to do things.  There is such a short time-period between itty-bitty baby and grown-up adult-child, and during that time we have to work, and pay bills, and live...and during those years, how do people have the time or money to do the big amazing things that I see them doing?

So, since I can't go back and add money to the accounts of days-passed, or time in which to do things, I am doing my best to enjoy the days I currently DO have with my children...sitting at our messy, scarred-by-moves dining table, eating our meals together, telling our stories, and living life together...without guilt.

1 comment:

Naomi Fleury said...

Hey Laura! You know that my household is just as imperfect! You are not alone in these feelings! We should start a support group for us Moms that are left behind in the dust! Love you! You are doing an awesome job and don't forget that!
Naomi Fleury