Improve Your Makeup
Dress to Impress
I realized I wanted to speak to women when I finally had the revelation that I was never going to be perfect – and that was okay. I think I spent a lot of time thinking that I had to have a perfect house, even eyebrows, a flawless marriage and be like Snow White if she had kids. You know what I mean: making all my kids’ clothes, singing to them in high pitched tones, talking-to-creatures-from-the-enchanted-forest kind of stuff. At some point I think I stopped believing in myself when I knew I couldn’t measure up; when I compared myself to the women I saw in brief moments at church or in the school drop off line; from the outside looking in. I decided that their life looked better than mine, based on what I saw from even a close distance.
Now, we have social media. We see very well-filtered photos of women playing with their babies or whose kids seem to be effortlessly making cookies from scratch, and it’s even easier to compare our competence to one little “square” we see online.
We’re taking our significance to a small level because we think we have something wrong with us when it seems that everyone else is getting along just fine.
I believe that none of us really has it all together and that even if you do “have it all together,” the very work of HOLDING it all together is exhausting. I’m not saying everyone is a mess all the time, and there’s something rewarding about getting that perfect photo of yourself or your family and wanting to share it with the world. The problem is when we take our current mess and we compare it to that one photo, that one moment, that one person.
We need to celebrate the mess. There are lessons in the mess. There’s community in the mess. There can even be joy in the mess.
I know because I’m Queen of the Mess, or at least somewhere in the royal, messy court. I don’t have a perfect life. I make mistakes as a mom: BIG mistakes, not just like, letting my kids eat Oreos for breakfast (which I have also done). My marriage isn’t always date night selfies and captions about being ‘so great because we’re so strong.’ My house is ALWAYS so far from Instagram-worthy that if Martha Stewart came to visit she would have an actual stroke. I snap at my husband, I get unnecessarily insecure, I spill crumbs on my boobs, and that’s just scratching the surface.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t have things to work on. We’ll never stop growing, changing and improving on our weaknesses.
I want to get you to stop for just a moment and breathe. Rest in the fact that you have messes, and that’s okay. Just take comparison out of the picture. Don’t look at anyone else. Focus on yourself and how you’re going to celebrate and grow from your mess. I’m not even asking you to stay in your mess. Just rest in where you are and learn from it.
This vision, this dream of writing and speaking and inspiring other women has come from some of the biggest “messes” of my life. I am proof that something beautiful can come of chaos and confusion, and that it all doesn’t have to be in order to move forward. Don’t ever stop dreaming out of your mess into something beautiful.
Have you noticed how much we talk about time? Tell me if any of these statements are familiar:
‘Oh, if only I had a few extra hours in the day, I could get everything done.’
‘I just can’t be in two places at once.’
Time is too big of an issue to ignore, especially if you’re a mom driving carpool, working your 9-5 hustle, maybe going to school, making dinner plans, thinking about having another baby….
I know that more than a few of us sit around and think about how we can be more efficient, stretch time out to get more done, make it stand still so we can enjoy our babies while they’re babies, AND take time for ourselves (yes, that’s still important!)
We can’t add to time any more than we can wish those extra 10 pounds away, so here are a few things that may not add hours to the day, but will create extra space within the hours we already have:
I read once that worry is faith that the bad thing will happen. I am a master-worryer. I’m one of those who has believed that I have to make sure I worry about all the possibilities so the worst won’t actually happen. I have to go through every scenario of what could go wrong, in the name of being prepared.
If there is any one thing that I have wasted more time doing, it’s worrying. It’s in a mom’s nature. We have to make sure everyone is doing okay!
I don’t think I’ll ever stop worrying completely, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that worry does not change anything. It doesn’t add one minute of joy to my life. And too much worry leads to dangerous amounts of fear. I’ve lived a life of fear before. It made me a negative, nervous, unhappy person who was not an enjoyable human to live with, and I never want to go back to that.
Here are some more familiar phrases:
‘I could never do that.’
‘If I could just get my life together I would…’
‘Stupid me, making that wrong turn, burnt dinner, bad hair choice… AGAIN.’
Girl, you DO NOT have time for any of that! Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to grow. Give yourself permission to forge on with your life, exactly where you are. No more regrets are allowed if you want time to enjoy your life.
I’m not talking about staying humble. I believe that it’s good to have check points and a community to keep us grounded and take advice from.
But we do not have time to question ourselves. I’m talking about when we say, “Who am I to be a good mom?”
I struggle with anxiety, insecurity, a need for approval and to feel like I’m in constant control. These things are part of me, but they don’t have to rule my life. I want you to know that although there may be parts of your life that make you feel like your dreams and who you aspire to be are being completely derailed, they don’t control your destiny. Take a minute, breathe in, and tell yourself that you have what it takes! It couldn’t be more true. 💙
Anger, bitterness, unforgiveness
Speaking of regret, I believe these are some of the biggest areas where we have regrets in our lives. We have a fight, someone hurts us, and we hold on to that anger and bitterness toward the situation we went through, the promotion we deserved, the child who was dealt an unfair hand of a disability or the husband who left us.
Things happen. People make us angry. We say things we don’t mean. We act out in a way that just doesn’t seem like who we are. And then we own it in the name of pride.
I could talk all day about this, but letting go of anger, forgiving and moving on are some of the most difficult – yet simple – things we will ever have to do. It’s worth exploring every day of our lives though, you guys. Letting go of all those things sets us free to truly enjoy life and suddenly time seems to expand. There’s more space for peace and joy and creativity and passion.
We can’t always wait to have everything planned out and every piece of the puzzle together before it’s time to just jump. We’re not airline pilots.
I can think of many times when I’ve tried to control every variable, every detail. I’ve made flow charts for every scenario that could go wrong and how I could turn it into something positive. One story that jumps out at me is…
Perfection is fear in disguise. I think we need to stop chasing perfect.
Don’t let the idea of “perfection” rob you of the joy that “good enough” can bring.
Mom guilt is a real thing. We start to question ourselves (see “Self Loathing” above), we beat ourselves up over what we “should” have done, and we cripple ourselves in fear, thinking of all the mistakes that we’ve made.
Spoiler alert: you’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re not going to raise your kids perfectly. You’re not going to complete your career flawlessly, and you can forget about any sort of Donna Reed, Carol Brady, June Cleaver lifestyle because none of those women had kids in highly competitive sports, a blooming business; nor did they have Boston Market down the street. If they did, I would bet you my bottom dollar that they would be picking up a rotisserie chicken 3 times a week, too.
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and beating yourself senseless over mistakes you’ve made. You’re not only keeping yourself from moving forward, you’re teaching the people around you to be afraid of your (and their) future mistakes.
If we can eliminate these 5 things from our lives, we will live a happier life.