Well hello there. Per usual I have fallen off the writing wagon. To say our family life has been a little chaotic would be an understatement.
Since my last post about the passing of my mother-in-law, our little family has had to navigate the waters of grief and change. Most of the time with lots of tears and sometimes yelling and maybe some ugly snot running down our faces.
It has been hard. I feel like I have been called to stretch so much as a person, and if I am honest, I feel like I am drowning in the waters. It has been hard to take on the role of supporter, and mother, and continue to be a professional worker.
Most days I feel like I am failing.
Most days I feel alone.
Two weeks ago I had the chance to go to Catalina Island with my family and parents, aunt and uncle and cousin. As we were planning the trip and up until actually leaving, I was dreading it. Dreading spending time with people. Dreading having to figure out how to care for my son (who to be honest hadn’t been sleeping well, and was hitting, and spitting and going through all sorts of toddler emotions). But I went.
On the second afternoon I stole away while my son was napping to a wine bar to sit and read and listen to the the waves. I sat there reflecting and thinking about where the hell has my little corner of happiness gone? As I started to look around me, and to be honest, as I loaded my Instagram feed, I realized something.
I am unhappy right now because I am looking for perfection.
I am sitting here and comparing my life to what I am seeing online or some BS image of what I expect my life to look like – a perfect made-for-TV functioning family life.
I am looking at former classmates, and friends, and mom bloggers, posting photos of their well manicured families and their babies that sleep through the night, reading about “tips and tricks” to work out when you only have 30 minutes.
It hit me that I am not looking at my life and all the wonderful things in it, I am comparing it to some ideal I formed in my head. This idea that no one else has to deal with their kid not sleeping for over a month, or the fact that their kid has been sick with a weird cough/sinus thing for 4 months, that these moms don’t have to schlep to work and pretend to be happy everyday when they are really calculating how much quality time they will have with their family once they factor in cooking, cleaning, bed time prep, following day prep before collapsing into bed to sleep for 2 hours before their kid wakes up screaming in the night.
I’ve been letting the pursuit of a promoted social idea take the place of what is right in front of me, my family.
So the next day, as Jacob and I watched E play in the sand and the little waves, I tried to let go a little bit. I didn’t lose it when E sat down in the wet sand and started playing. I let him sit there and wet his clothes, not wearing a swim diaper, and just play, because in the end, is he going to remember this moment as the joy her derived from playing in the sand, or for me yelling at him for not listening and getting wet?
This life is not about the polished and posed Instagram photo, its about the photo of your kid eating dirt, while you accidentally burn the chicken as you run to catch Costco size oil from spilling on the floor.
And don’t get me wrong, don’t think in the two weeks since this trip I have woken up everyday thinking “golly, life sure is swell.” I’m still struggling to find my happy, but I figure if I can just continue to be honest with myself, each day will get a little clearer and a little bit more real for me.