Do you ever look at the lives of other mothers and wonder how on earth they manage to pull off pool days and park visits and date nights and dinner parties and all the fun things, while also dressed to the nines and having (gasp) hair that is actually styled?
Some days it feels like I’m the only mom out there who honest-to-goodness has no energy for all the fun things in life. There are a few popular blogger and vloggers I follow that always seem to have energy for things I can’t even dream about, and I’m over here at 10 AM, still unshowered in my PJ’s. How on earth do they do it?!?
Unfortunately, I have no easy answers, but I will say this: I’ve spent a long, long time wishing I was different. When I was younger, I used to make New Year’s Resolutions to myself. I’d vow things like I will talk more or I will be more fun. Looking back, it breaks my heart. I was so young, and even as far back as middle school, I thought there was something “wrong” with me because I just wasn’t the type of kid who was the life of the party or who knew how to easily collect friends.
But now? Now I know there was nothing wrong with me. Just like I have to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me today if I can’t “keep up” with the rest of the moms who seem to be out there doing non-stop activities and hosting epic parties when I can’t even remember to buy enough napkins when we have company over.
It’s so tempting to get frustrated with myself and resort back to that 12-year-old version of me who wished I could just be different: more stylish, more put-together, more all-around fun.
But I’m not that person — I wasn’t back then, and I’m still not.
I’m the kind of person who needs time to mentally prepare for any type of social gathering (yay for being an introvert!), time to decompress after any social gathering, time to prepare and make lists for activities so I don’t stress out about them, and as for looking stylish or put together? Well, you can forget it.
I’ve spent so long fighting the type of person I am and I’m tired of it. The other day, as I drove to a 4th of July gathering, my mind started to drift, imagining that I’d have some awkward moments and I’d get tired and want to have some alone time, and maybe I should just go back home and curl up with a good book.
And immediately I felt my mind try to berate me for just being me, the way it always has: Why are you like that? Most people like parties! Why are you such a loser? Get it together, you’re an adult!
But suddenly, I felt a shift in my thinking. Instead of putting myself down, I felt a little burst of self-kindness brewing. What was so wrong with being introverted? What was so awful about the personality I was born with? Maybe the world would be a little better all around if we could all stop being so hard on ourselves, huh?
It felt a lot nicer to be kind to myself for once. Maybe it has something to do with getting older, maybe it has something to do with just finally acknowledging that this is the way I will be, well, forever. Whatever it is, I’m finally standing up for all of us moms who struggle with feeling “less than.”
Maybe we have to hide out at home more often than other people. Maybe we pull off the pool parties and the fun trips for our kids and the elaborate dinners, but we need a little more downtime to recover from them. Maybe we need two hours to decompress after a one hour social gathering. Maybe we don’t know how to curl our hair or dress like we’re ready for an Instagram photo shoot.
But you know what? We are fine just the way we are. We’ll do things a little slower. We’ll cling to our lists and plans and carefully guard our alone time and sometimes spend entire days at home in our pajamas, but in the end, we are doing our best as moms while also trying to keep our own sanity intact.
And there’s nothing wrong with who we are or how we do things.
So if you need me, I’ll most likely be at home, scrolling past pictures of your fun pool party while I organize a rousing afternoon of books and puzzles with my kids. And we’ll all be just as happy, thank you very much.