When I started REALLY looking at my children, the simplicity of what makes them tick, and let that wash over me, I was struck with how LITTLE I needed to do in order to make them happy and meet their needs. And once their needs are met a magical thing happens: I relax. And when I relax, my husband relaxes, the whole house relaxes. We can enjoy being together without worrying about all that NEEDS to be done. Because none of it NEEDS to be done (with a few minor exceptions). Sure, I want to stay on top of the laundry, dishes, cooking, school projects, extracurriculars, work, etc. but life won’t stop if I don’t. And you know what? I’m that one who cares the most about those things. It’s the pressure I put on MYSELF that keeps pushing me down. My family doesn’t require a made-from-scratch, home cooked meal every night. I’ve started keeping a couple of Stoffer’s Lasagnas (the best!) on hand at all times. Not to mention that the kids are more than delighted to have Chik-Fil-A for dinner whenever.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
It’s the pressure that I put on myself that constantly pushes me down. I look at Pinterest for all the ways I need to “Make the Holidays Special for your Children” and when I don’t do those things but see them being done on Facebook, I feel like a failure. But who am I a failure to?? My kids don’t know that they didn’t get glitter dusted cash folded into origami with a calligraphied note from the tooth fairy. They’re just excited that the tooth fairy came and gave them some money. But I feel like a failure to myself because I haven’t done as much as them. The Joneses. The Pin-tastic Fake Facebook people who have only their most beautiful and successful moments on display. But that’s not real life. And smart people know that. And I’m smart.
Absolutely show off your beautiful family and your happiness. But don’t make that ALL you show. But that’s the thing about social media. Who wants to show off their husband passed out drunk on the front lawn or your toddler’s poop on the living room floor? Nobody. Again, it’s not you, it’s me.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Teddy Roosevelt
When we see those shiny, happy people on social media it can make us feel like less. Because right now I have pink eye, some gray hairs, and 10 extra pounds. But as I tell our children, “never compare yourself to someone else. You are the best YOU there is and God made you very special and just how He wanted you to be.” So maybe instead of looking at the shiny, happy people and wondering where I have failed, I should mind shift it and be happy for them. I need to be okay with the shiny, happy people who are being just how God made them.
So when I start to feel like I’m LESS than others, I’m going to do LESS. And maybe I’ll be able to see just how special I am to the people who mean the MOST to me…my family.