I’ve had this post idea floating around for quite some time. Feeling that I needed to share and acknowledge that life isn’t always as pretty and put together as we can make it seem on blogs or Instagram or Facebook. I’m part of a fantastic MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) group and we just watched an interview that MOPS headquarters did with writer and speaker Shauna Niequist on mothering comparisons. It was a great interview and during part of it, Shauna talked about this very thing that I’d been drafting a post on. How online lives can be edited to look so pretty and perfect, that you can share only the happy, wonderful moments of life, and it’s so easy to see these images and read these status updates and think everyone else in life seems to have it all together. They have the perfect looking house, with impeccably dressed kids, who never throw tantrums, they make incredible meals, and renovate rooms in a days time. She talked about how we look at these things during our “low” moments, when we don’t have anything particularly fantastic happening in our life, and just start to compare our lives and feel like we don’t measure up. And as a blogger, I felt that I needed to come clean and air some of my “dirty laundry”, to share that I don’t have it all together and I struggle to find balance. So I’m sharing with you today a couple areas that I really struggle with…my house and well, myself.
Sometimes I joke with Caitlin while we are doing a shoot together, now we should turn around and take a picture of what the other side of the room looks like….the un-staged part. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with taking the time to create a beautiful project, set up a pretty back drop or scene to photograph it in and then carefully edit those photos and share them. I love seeing those images. They inspire me. They provide eye candy to just enjoy during those very precious few moments of downtime. And I love creating those projects and photo shoots. They help fill that creative niche, they keep me motivated to at least attempt to get some things crossed off my to-do list.
I’d love to say that after living here for over 10 years, I’ve got my house looking exactly how I want it. It’s so far from that. The progress on updating and repainting rooms has been slow…mostly due to a lack of time and lack of money. I’m glad to say that we do put spending time with each other, and with family & friends, above getting these projects done. But it doesn’t mean that I always feel okay with how things look or are progressing. And I’ll be honest – I put house work and cleaning pretty low on my to-do list. If something comes up, or I’m having a busy week (which is pretty much always!), my housework is always the first thing I neglect. And with three little boys, the mess, the chaos, can be a lot. And it kills a part of me, because I tend to always want things to be clean, organized and run a certain way. I’m just hoping that it’s shaping me into a better person to let these things go…
And does it always look like this here? No, we do usually get things pretty well picked up by the end of the day….and sometimes, it can even be worse!
My living room is pretty much always in this state during the boys waking hours. Couch cushions are never on the couch, the bookshelf has books thrown in haphazardly, boys are being silly…
The coffee table has cups and snack wrappers left on it. And someone always seems to knock my branch lamp shade & the curtains askew! I love our big pillows, but hate that they don’t really go with anything and have making new covers for those on my never ending to-do list. I’m also waiting to get a fresh coat of paint on these walls. And I’m dying for a new couch…Mike told me I would regret getting light colored couches…he was right!
When the boys get home from school, backpacks and jackets and shoes are thrown here…because we haven’t had the time to make the coat rack I want, that will include hooks low enough for the boys to actually reach. So mama’s got to take care of this everyday because they can’t reach the hooks!
I usually don’t like to let things get too chaotic on the kitchen counters, as the kitchen is the room you walk into in my house, and I don’t want to be greeted with chaos immediately. But life happens and my counters sometimes look like this.
One of things I really want to do is redo the stairwell. I’m not a fan of wallpaper and the stairs need to be repainted. Unfortunately, the whole wall going up the stairs needs to be knocked out (lath & plaster under there, that’s super wavy and cracked) and new drywall put up. So it’s a big, time-consuming, money project. So it’s been on the to-do list for a while.
Remember Levi’s sweet room with the awesome triangle decals? Well it needed a new ceiling and the carpet torn out, and a closet put in, so that’s happening (slowly), so his room currently looks like this. (Yes, the decals are staying, and no, he does not currently sleep in here…). I can’t wait to have his room put together again!
Oh my red bedroom! I picked this color for our room. I loved this color. I still think it’s a nice color, if you have a red room in your house I’m not hating on your color – I’m just so done with it and ready for it not to be on my walls. I try never to take photos in here…because I’m not happy with the wall color and because our bedroom is never picked up! It’s a pretty large room, so it’s easy to just throw any and everything in here.
And my desk, oh my desk. How do I let you get like this?! Another spot where everything seems to just kind of end up…
And here’s me….I tend to not want to share a lot of photos of myself here on the blog. One of my struggles and where I feel like I’m just not doing a good enough job, is with my weight and physical health. I love food and I hate exercise – not a good combination!
Not everyone is going to have the same struggles. Some of those perfect looking rooms and homes I see do really look like that all the time. Even those with little kids in them. Sometimes the things that we’re struggling with, that we can’t seem to take care of, or keep pushing to the bottom of our to-do lists, are things we can’t take photos of. Relationships that are falling apart. Or a lack of relationships. Bitterness eating away at our souls. If there’s someone that you think seems to always be able to do it all or has it together all the time, trust me, they don’t. There are things you are doing or have in your life that they aren’t doing or don’t have. And neither is better or worse. Just different. We need to learn to embrace our lives and our homes in whatever stage they are currently in.
This post isn’t meant to be a guilt trip on anyone, it’s just an area where I sometimes struggle and wanted to share and be a little more open and honest. And please know, I intend to keep sharing pretty, staged photos here on the blog. And beautiful real moments too. And I want to keep seeing those moments and photos from others (I’ll be pinning those because they are beautiful to look at and inspire me!). But I thought that maybe someone out there needed to see and hear that I don’t have a perfect looking house. And that I’m struggling with my weight. To be honest, this post is pretty hard to share. I feel vulnerable and so hesitant to even hit the publish button. But I want to learn to be content with where I am at and with what I have. I want to be able to appreciate the beautiful moments that are happening right now, inside these walls, even if those walls aren’t the color I’d like them to be. I want to be thankful for the life we have and the memories we are creating, even if it’s not exactly picture perfect. And I can keep working towards getting my house, and myself, to where I want them to be, but without feeling like I’m not doing it as quickly or as well as someone else might be.
In one of my favorite clips from the interview, Shauna said that one of her friends told her that one of your goals should be that when you have people over to your house, they should leave feeling better about themselves, not feeling better about you. I loved that and hope to always remember it…and hope that maybe by showing you some of my home as it is, you’re feeling a little bit better about yourself now. 🙂 (And if you’ve made it this far through this short novel of a post – wow!)
And these verses pretty much sum it up…“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Phillipians 4:11-13)
(If you’re interested in hearing/watching this interview, I found a video of it here. It’s a really fantastic interview on mothering comparisons. The first couple minutes are a MOPS intro, the interview starts at about 2 minutes in. And the part about our online lives starts around 18:30…)
Here’s to my beautiful mess and being real!