When you look at other parents, what do you see? You may see the things they own, their style of clothes and how they wear their hair. You may see a clean house when you come to visit. You see what car they drive. You might see bright smiles and happiness. You do not get to see the “real” person. You do not see the frustration, anger, sleepless nights. You do not see what they struggle with. We all have struggles! We all put on a happy face when out in public. We don't do this because we are fake, we do this to be polite, to try to forget about our dirty dishes in the sink or the piles of laundry, clean and dirty, through out the house.
Many of us look at our friend's lives on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. That is just a small glimpse of life, often staged for the camera. There is nothing wrong with only posting happy stuff. When our memories from years ago pop up, who wants to see the messy counter tops, sibling fights or unpaid bills? We need to remember that everyone shows their best and hides their worst.
This summer my kids have been fighting a lot! I have found myself feeling jealous of other's pictures of their kids on FB with arms around each other looking like they get along great. One day I saw one of those children and commented on how he and his brother must be great friends. He looked at me like I had 2 heads and said, “No, I can't stand my brother.” I said that I had seen so many pictures on FB of him and his brother and they looked so happy together. He then told me that his mom forces him and his brother to pose like that for pics! I was amused and relieved. My kids aren't the only ones that fight, I realize that, but without even realizing it, I was holding them to an unrealistic standard. I know that those 2 brothers don't actually dislike each other as much as the one claimed that day, but it was a nice reminder that we all pose for the camera!
I really believe that we all have gifts. Some of us can decorate cakes, others, have magic hands with hair. Some of us love to organize. Some have a passion for exercise and fitness. Others have a gift for organizing events. Some people like to clean. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We were not meant to do everything alone! You know that saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” It's a saying because it is true. Most of us do not have a family village nearby. We are left to either try and do it all or create our own village. It's not an easy task!
It can be so hard to admit our weaknesses and reach out for help. Somewhere along the line, we were pushed into thinking that we have to be everything for our families. We have to keep the house clean, make organic meals for every meal, pack lunches that are picture worthy, be perfectly fit without every messing it up and drink red wine without spilling it on ourselves! We must do hands on activities with our children daily and have structured learning time prior to our children going to school, plan themed birthday parties and get gorgeous professional family photos taken each year. No one can do it all, not without going insane, broke, or both! We may have seasons that we do a lot of things well and we have times where we just barely make it. It's ok. We don't have to have it all together.
Most of us are so much harder on ourselves than anyone else! I know I do not expect my friends to have perfectly clean houses when I come over. I don't expect their children to be perfectly behaved. I know that kids are people too and they have good days/moments and bad ones. I don't care if they have laundry that needs to be put away, and neither do their kids. I'm not going to judge you if you hit the fast food lane after your kid's sports practice. I really don't keep track of what other people eat for dinner.
When my kids were younger I heard or read some great advice…Whatever your expectations are for yourself and your house hold, if you are stressed out and making yourself crazy, LOWER your expectations, take a drink of coffee and lower them again. Most of us put more stress on ourselves than anyone else. If someone else is putting stress on you, hand them a baby that needs changing or a vacuum! We are all doing the best we can. That's all anyone should expect.
To listen to me rant about this a little bit more you can see my Youtube Video here.