It’s 6:30 AM. The alarm goes off and it begins. The to-do list. Make breakfast for the kids, pay the bills, finish the grocery shopping, tackle the ever-growing piles of laundry, clean the house… The list goes on… and on, and on, and on. But, wait a minute, my super-mom cape is at the dry cleaners. Without it, I’m just a regular human being trying to finish everything on my list and still have time to enjoy the sweet moments of life. How on earth am I going to get it all done? You know what? Maybe I don’t pick up the cape today. Maybe I go without it for a while and just be (gasp) me. The imperfect house wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend. Is that so bad? I used to think so….but maybe, just maybe it’s not.
I’ve often wondered, when I’m sitting at the computer editing a session and my 2 year old wants to play; “Am I a rotten mother for telling her I can’t right now, mommy has to finish her work?” Is it horrible that sometimes I plop my kids in front of the television just so I can get a few things done or that some times we stay in our pajamas the entire day with stinky feet and tangled hair?
And of course, while contemplating just how horrible of a mother I am, I choose that exact moment to glance out the window and spot our lovely neighbor across the street. The one who seems to have it all together. Work, motherhood, social life and she does it all while looking like, at any minute, she’ll be called to the set of a Glamour Magazine shoot. You know who I’m talking about. She’s also the mommy you constantly have the good fortune of running into at the grocery store when you’re wearing your, “it’s my day off comfy pants” and your husbands over sized sweatshirt, complete with mustard stains and all.
Aaand insert terrible feelings of self worth here.
It used to stop there, but now, on top of having to contend with that uber perfect neighbor across the street, we have social media to deal with. I’m the first to admit that Facebook is a big contributor to these feelings of guilt that I’m referring to. Not only am I getting updates from my perfect neighbor, but now I can follow my perfect dentist, co-worker, and third cousin who’s not only the perfect mother of perfect triplets but a neurosurgeon who volunteers regularly at the animal shelter on her days off. This social media envy also ties in with my love of photography. It’s recently become a habit of mine to gawk at fellow photographers and their busy schedules, perfect images and 10,000 plus fans while still managing to have all the free time in the world to take their little Johnny to the beach, the zoo, and G.I. Joe on Ice.
Okay, I give up! What am I doing wrong?! What am I doing to these poor children of mine? I’m sure it seems a bit ridiculous reading it in print, however, you know you’ve been there. You’ve felt that stabbing pain in your heart that maybe, just maybe, you’re messing everything up and failing miserably at this thing called motherhood. After all, it seems that EVERYONE (yes, I say everyone because, let’s face it, when we’re feeling down and throwing ourselves the world’s largest pity party) EVERYONE has it better than us. So yes, it’s fitting when I say, it seems like EVERYONE is doing a better job than me!
We as mothers, wives and friends have to decide to get real. We have to realize that these flawless moments we see, whether it be in line at the supermarket, or while surfing a social site, are like a final image I post to a client. They are the polished, edited, end result. They are only a glimpse into the persons life. A snapshot. What we don’t see is everything leading up to “that” moment. Hey guess what?! We can’t be everything and that’s okay. If I’ve got a busy work load, that housecleaning is just going to have to wait. Sometimes it’s okay to wear a dirty shirt out of the hamper because, frankly, you didn’t have time to do laundry. It’s not a horrible crime that 90% of the time, my floor looks like Santa’s workshop exploded on it. My children don’t always have perfectly styled hair and clean faces. And for me, instead of designer clothes from Nordstroms, and a shiny, well styled blow out…a.k.a. news anchor hair; I choose most days to rock the ponytail and hoody because well, it’s easier. I’ve had complete brain farts and paid the electric bill late a time or two. Sometimes I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. The other day, my husband saw me wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and asked me why I was all dressed up! But even with all of that, you know what? I’m still alive, I’m still content, and my children are healthy, happy and what I believe to be, normal.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we throw caution to the wind and become cave women. I love dressing the family up and going out for a fabulous dinner. I paint my nails…(occasionally, a nude pale color of course, let’s not get crazy here people) and one of my favorite Sunday morning past times is a good ol’ fashioned spring cleaning, even if it is January. As a photographer, I still love the thrill of taking that perfect picture, the one where the colors, exposure and subjects are just right. I’m simply saying we need to relax a bit and accept our flawed selves as being an acceptable part of who we are. Not something to hide or be ashamed of.
In an attempt to help me to become content with these thoughts, I’m engaging in a bit of at-home therapy. I decided to take a week and document my imperfect family. So here it is, a personal project by Photography by Lindsay. A peek into my, not quite perfect, world. Some of these images I captured this week have become my most favorite images of my family just being themselves, imperfect and so beautiful. It’s helped me to realize that even if I still struggle day to day with finding the perfect balance between business owner and mommy, I’m doing the best I can and the only person out there who is judging me for it, is me….
So, my Super Mom cape is at the dry cleaners, and you know what… I think I just may leave it there.