At a graduation party recently, a woman came up to introduce herself and said she reads my blog occasionally when it shows up in her newsfeed. Just like any other time this has ever happened before, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that anyone is reading this thing (besides Mum and Gigi of course - hello Mum and Gigi!) Blogging can sometimes feel very lonely, me just sending these words out into the void with no response, so to hear someone I don't know say they've read and appreciated something I send out is incredibly humbling and heartwarming.
We chatted for a little while about our kids and lives and then she said that she just wanted to say Hi and let me know she's read the blog before. "Hah, it reminds me of all the things I'm doing wrong as a Mom!" It felt like a bolt of static electricity and I quickly tried to recover, "Omigosh, No! You're awesome, we're all just trying to do our best!" but the conversation was sort of already over and I felt like I was making it totally weird when she was just trying to give me a compliment.
This is not the first time someone has said something to this effect to me. Although I think they're meant as compliments, it's hard to take them as such when it comes at the expense of the mother's own self reflection. My primary goal for the blog is to write about our life so that I can look back and remember that it was just like this in this very moment and how I felt about it right then. My secondary goal, if possible, is to inspire other families towards kindness and empathy.
Let me make this very clear: I am by no means a perfect Mom. I am in no way doing everything right. Like at all. Just like everyone else on the planet, things that get shared here and on social media is the highlight reel, people. These are the bits and pieces that I'm proud of or that make me laugh. Photo albums are made up of the happy pictures, not the hard times. But it's the hard times that get you to each next happy photo. (That is a line from the movie Just Married, friends - but true none the less).
So for truth's sake and making sure it's clear that I'm just as frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed as any mom out there - let's do a reality check with Team Studer -
Our dining room table is covered with items that are being collected all over the house because I am on a minimalist kick and want to get.rid.of.all.the.things! I'm just making my way through every corner and room and tossing things in the trash or in that ever-growing pile. This has been going on for three weeks now. The pile does not make me feel better (where are you dining room table?) and the battle for regaining space and organization seems to have almost no dent. If you can't tell, this is a pain point for me in my life right now.
We have three kids, five and under, who have a preference for jumping, running, tackling, and climbing over playing with toys. For the toys they do play with, they would much rather dump out the entire container and then use said toys for inventing, weapons, or leaving them about the house in very odd places for later discovering. I keep trying to find new solutions (and get.rid.of.all.the.things) for the toys, games, and massive collection (how?) and nothing has stuck or worked yet. We are well into year five of trying to figure this one out, folks.
True story: after Gemma got in trouble for not listening for the fifteenth time before 9am, she asked me, "Mom, when I grow up and be a Mumma, can I scream at my kids too?" nice. My totally unperfect response: "Yes, if they don't listen like my kids." (Me as a grandma hates me right now).
We have two big dogs that shed a lot, track in muddy pawprints, and think all spaces are their spaces - including beds and couches. We also have a cat that sheds a lot and leaves claw marks in the back of our furniture. Bullet doesn't get near enough exercise, Trixie eats too many dropped snacks (vet suggests she needs to lose about fifteen pounds), Lola and Bullet need to be separated at all times, and every single one of them could use some more time and love from their furparents.
Every expert and experienced parent will tell you that one of the most important things to do as a family is to eat together. We are really good at eating all together at the dinner table with no technology because we believe it is important to our foundation as a family.
Ya know what no one ever tells you about mealtimes with young kids though? How exhausting and frustrating it is: the noise, the endless talking, the chewing with food flying everywhere out of their mouths, the spills, the whining about food they don't like, the constant up & down of getting refilled drinks, napkins, new silverware to replace the one they dropped on the floor. And the clean-up, sweet baby Jesus in Heaven, the clean up. You never knew food could be stuck in neck creases, underneath the chair, and in the curtains like this until you've eaten meals with young children. (maybe not all young children? Just my children? okay, my children, then).
I am good at some things as a Mum, just like YOU are good at some things as a mum to your kids. It might be easy to look at my blog, other mom bloggers, and pins and tell yourself, 'That is such a great mom, why can't I do that like she can?'
But here's the flipside to that: We can't do a lot of things too! We are battling those same voices everyday with why we can't do something (many things!) as good as we want to.
Why don't I ever talk about organization and cleaning on this blog? Because these are NOT things I am good at! Why don't I have a blog that focuses on healthy and clean eating? Or exercise? Or diy home improvement projects? Or calm parenting? Or homeschooling? Again...all things I am not good at it.
But I do seek out other moms who CAN do those things in the blogs that I follow and on pinterest - not as a reminder of my own weaknesses, but as I way that I can try to grow and learn and be inspired.
We have a saying in our house when our kids try something new and fail. When anyone becomes frustrated and whines, "I CAN'T!" Our reply is, "We don't say can't, we say 'Not Yet!"
Do I feel satisfied with our routine in the day, in the week...Not Yet!
Am I happy with the way our home is organized and clean? Not Yet!
Do I make exercise a priority in my life as a way to support my body and mind? Not Yet!
Do I end each day feeling proud of all my choices as a Mum? Not Yet!
Do I end each day feeling proud of all my choices as a Mum? Not Yet!
It gives me an ache to think that anyone would come here to read and walk away feeling like they are less or overwhelmed. To you Moms feeling like this, I say ME TOO! I am no supermom - I am no perfect mom. I am just 'Mumma' to these kids of ours and I'm spending big parts of my day frustrated, exhausted, and ignoring that little voice in my head that keeps whispering, "You are not good at this," as I walk by loads of laundry, send smart-mouthed kids to time out, and glance at my never finished to do list.
My hope is that you can come to my tiny corner of the web and sit for awhile, recognize a little bit of your own life, maybe be inspired to say 'Not Yet!' I want this to be a refueling station where you can fill up on laughs, inspiration, or simply a recognition that you are not alone - even though some days it sure does feel like it, doesn't it?