I shared a funny meme on Facebook recently that said something like this: "May your life be as amazing as you pretend it is on Facebook." I shared it because it made me laugh and I like to spread things that make me laugh.
But it also made me think. Since Carter's birth my personal Facebook wall has been cute baby picture after cuter baby picture - with a video thrown in here and there.
The thing is - I LOVE MY LIFE. Like, a LOT. But it seems like loving - or even just LIKING - your life has gotten a bad rap. Some of the most shared "mommy posts" are the ones that accurately describe how dang hard being a parent is. I'm not dissing those posts - I like them and share them too. They make me feel less alone when I *am* struggling. But the idea that we are all "pretending" our lives are amazing or that we are "showing off" and being fake if we share our happiness... well, that doesn't seem quite right either.
My most favorite bloggers and role models share the good and the bad. Also, they acknowledge that anything they DO share is only a snapshot. That's the thing - we all need to keep in mind that anything and everything shared online is just a moment. Those selfies I took above of me and my kiddos? It took about 3 minutes to take them. (It would have been less, but it was a bit difficult to get us all in!) I wanted to record the cuteness of us all in baseball caps and sunglasses. We were walking to the library - so Marisol could get out a Barbie movie. It was about 85 degrees out and sunny - which sounds nice in writing but was actually a little too hot for our blood that hasn't quite adjusted to summer-like weather yet. Gerry was complaining before we were even half way there and Marisol was tired (mind you, our library is just around the corner - this is NOT a trek, hike, or JOURNEY for goodness sake!)
I don't remember much of the rest of that day (I mean - it was TWO WHOLE DAYS AGO PEOPLE!) I know that was the only time we got out - to walk to the library a couple blocks away* - and it took about half an hour. The rest of the day? My kids are usually at their "stations" - on the computer, playing video games a lot. I got us food (I know because I do that every day). I took care of the baby (I do that every day too - I know because he's still alive!) I probably unloaded and/or ran the dishwasher. Washed diapers. I remember feeling like it was a good day, so that means no major meltdowns. For many people this may not be the definition of "Awesome" or "Amazing" - for me, for right now - it is.
To many, my life would feel boring. For some it may even feel oppressive. But FOR ME, my life feels completely awesome - MOST of the time. We've made a couple of big, unconventional decisions that have had a huge impact on our family's life and they weren't/aren't always easy, but with time I've grown and learned how to love what we're making. I think that is my main point in this rambly post - Amazing is very much about perspective and feeling empowered. I love my life because I chose it. Awesome is in the eye of the beholder - my amazing is very likely not YOUR amazing.
In the past couple of months we've adjusted to having a new person in our family (mostly!), we've weathered the flu, and I had a mild case of mastitis. But the most difficult thing was probably the transition from having help (mom/husband/mother-in-law/sister) to being by myself with all 3 kids and still feeling very raw emotionally. There were days that I felt lonely and sad - almost depressed. Luckily for me, it wasn't a true full-blown depression and I had the tools and support to feel better relatively quickly.
Lately, I choose to share my happy pictures and moments more. I hope people know that doesn't mean that our lives our perfect. It means that is what I want to share. I also have to consider my family's preferences too - Marisol especially, because as she gets older I'm needing to check in with her about what she's ok for me sharing. The truth is I have a LOT to be grateful for right now - a (mostly) healthy family, a baby that sleeps well (for now), a husband that grocery shops and cooks dinner after going to work all day, big kids that love their baby brother and are helpful and independent enough to do many things themselves, beautiful Spring weather, friends and family willing to help us out and bring us meals, mommy/baby yoga and a new babysitter (their first!) the kids like... As you can see my cup is literally running over right now.
We have our irritable, tired moments. I've had the "oh my gosh, I'm the worst mother ever!" gremlins visit my brain again. I've felt sad about the general state of the world and felt guilty for having it so good personally - wishing I could do more to change things. I know, deep in my bones, that a more communal way of living would be healthier and better for me and my family - but the longing isn't quite a strong this time around because of all of the blessings I listed above.
So yeah, I'm generally happy these days. Because I like what I'm doing every day and I'm happy to wake up in the morning (even though I'm not a morning person.) My life is pretty awesome and I'm not going to apologize or pretend it isn't true. But remember - snapshots people, snapshots. We all have our moments, we all have things to work on. This life is a journey, that's for sure, and that journey will always have it's peaks and valleys.
*blogpost coming soon about getting out of the house in general - how often, how far, and where... I know you can't wait!