Friday, August 17, 2012

behind the mask

Last night I had the delight of meeting up with a good friend of mine and her kids. It's not often that I have a big-kid play date and it was really refreshing. During the course of conversation we started talking about our homes and the messiness of life. She mentioned that from my Instagrams my home seems so serene. I love hearing other people's perception of me - it's usually laughably inaccurate. I'm sure it goes the other way as well. I think of this woman as being very "together" and would never guess that she struggles with bathrooms that need to be cleaned or closets that need to be organized. I was thinking of her and of that conversation as I was writing this post - and that's what the pictures are about. I really didn't want to post these as large images but this post is all about giving you a peek into one of my many less-than perfect days so here I am in all my messiness.

what I REALLY wore
this is an older pic but I really love it - it's so life right now

Yesterday I started reading Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P Freeman and it has found me exactly where I am. I have been having those "did you read my journal?!" moments as I'm reading (the same thing happened when I read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and I love it) because she is coming from pretty much the same place as I am with with struggles so similar to my own.

Here is the biggest struggle of all for me - the "shoulds" of life. I think I "should" be a certain way - I "ought" to be just so.  A good wife, an outstanding mother, a good Christian raised in a committed Christian home, a photography teacher... the "shoulds" of life pile up and I drown in them. I "should" have amazing photos of my kids on the walls. My family and home "ought" to  look like a magazine, or at least like the cute blogs I read. I "should" never go to bed without a clean kitchen, I "ought" to be able to have my laundry always folded and put away - I was taught so well, this shouldn't be a struggle for me.

That is not my reality. 

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my bedroom this morning

I really want you to like & respect me. I want you to want to be my friend, I want you to call me for advice, look up to me as a leader, want to be more like me. So I am really calm and quiet when I'm in public, even if I sometimes yell at home. I only photograph my home when it's clean because that is the "me" that I want you to know. The me I "ought" to be. She is so awesome - so put together, so calm and collected, always. She is so selfless and self-controlled. She is so organized and neat. I desperately wish I was her. But if I can't pull it off maybe I can do the next best thing - make everyone think I'm her - even if really, I'm not.

I'm a mess.

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my bathroom

I have a pimple on my back. I have three baskets of laundry that we have been adding to and subtracting from all week. I get overwhelmed by the monotony of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, diaper changes, matchbox cars, balls and books that need to be picked up for the millionth time. I resent the ten minutes of quiet that The Hubs gets on his drive home from work. I am sometimes more focused on getting my kids to bed so I can watch my favorite show on TV than I am concerned about cherishing these fleeting years of having my babies in my arms and under my roof. My kids don't always listen and are sometimes downright mean. Sometimes I am mean right back. I am indecisive. I am scatterbrained. I am petty and impatient. I am terrified of being disappointed and petrified of being a disappointment to others. I can be overly critical, especially of other Chrisitians, and especially of Chrisitan leaders. I eat ice cream before bed at night. I really struggle with the whole Quiet Time thing.

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my laundry baskets

Sometimes I have unreasonable expectations, especially of my oldest child and most especially of my husband. Sometimes I expect my kids to be perfect, and let them know when they have been less-than. I care more about how our family is perceived than the reality behind the perception. I often become so consumed by how hard I am trying to make you like me that I forget to be concerned about you. And while I am trying so hard to appear perfect I come off as aloof and disingenuous.

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my kitchen

When I only show my good side I perpetuate the lie of the "should" and the "ought".  I am not very good at this, though I'm a tiny bit better than I used to be. I want the women in my life, my friends in real life and online to know that the struggles we face are common struggles. The things you battle with, I battle with too - and loose just as much (if not more) than I win.

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my dining area and front foyer

Guilt is not a great motivator and the gut-wrenching pain I feel from not living up to my own impossible expectations hinders me from being the woman that I am. It especially hinders God's grace flowing through me.

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my living room
Josiah playing Lego Batman, Eli is only in a diaper

Life is messy and really really hard. I'm not the perfect woman that I want to be, but when we meet in the less-than and struggle of reality there is room for intimacy and a lot of grace



6 comments:

  1. Such a great, honest post! This is exactly what our house looks like on any given day!! :)

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  2. Wonderful post! Those could be my own words about myself, and my home looks like that on any given day. I definitely understand. Thank you for being so open and honest......and you are so right, guilt is not a great motivator at all! I need to remember that.

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  3. You are awesome and this makes me like you even more! ;) I am THE. WORST. especially at laundry. I'm seriously trying to work a housekeeper into my budget because it would cause a lot less arguing in my house! My husband is pretty much oblivious and will post photos of jonah on facebook and I'm like thanks for showing the world our piles of laundry over there in the background. ARG! and Oh the SHEDDING DOG! This morning I went to put Jonah in the car and his BUTT was literally covered in white dog hair..embarrassing! On a different note yesterday I literally wrote the words patience and mercy on the palm of my hand at work to try and prevent my mouth from getting the best of me!
    Thanks Faith!

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  4. Excellent writing, sweet Faith.
    Proud of you.
    And, for the record, I also wish Wednesday nights were smoother so I could get to SYTYCD ;) Because I secretly wish I was a hip hop dancer!!!
    Love to you.

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  5. This is an incredible post! Thank you for your honesty! So many of the things you wrote are things I could have wrote about myself. I struggle with laundry and keeping the kitchen clean - and we even have a dishwasher now. I struggle with kids who don't pick up after themselves and don't like to listen. I struggle with high expectations of myself. Etc. etc. So thank you for this little glimpse into your life! You are certainly not alone!

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  6. Love you dear one!One day at a time.

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