Next month I will start my eighth year of writing this blog, where I share my thoughts, show my photos, and tell my tales of the wacky life I lead. Revealing the crazy anecdotes about parenting, and my life in general, is a form of therapy for me. It’s a way to show the world that I’m okay with people seeing my human side. I want to be honest about how human I am. I don't want to paint a picture of a flawless family. Keeping it real is important to me now, because I used to think I should only show the sides of me that were picture-perfect. At the time I was horrified by the idea of exposing my flaws, mistakes, embarrassments. But over time I have realized that we might as well laugh about and bond around our human experiences. If we pretend our lives look like a polished Martha Stewart magazine feature we’ll never truly know each other. We’ll all be too busy making sure that the image is right. And you can’t know someone if they’ll only show their camera-ready moments.
I’ve grown a lot since the days when I thought I had to present a flawless façade. I now believe that it’s important to share the human stuff, to admit the challenges, to laugh about the crazy parts. Sharing my life through a blog is my way of refusing to be pressured to show only the picture perfect moments. I am not interested in presenting my life as a Norman Rockwell/Tollhouse cookie/Hallmark commercial. My life is nothing like that, and I’m okay with this! Actually, there are commercials out there that embrace the human side—showing parenthood as it often is: an imperfect, trial and error, sometimes exhausting marathon peppered with amazing moments and hilarious outtakes. I love those commercials because they’re keeping it real. We’re embracing our imperfections. Parenthood in 2015 isn’t about being June and Ward Cleaver. It’s about being human, and letting your kids know that they can be human, too. Those commercials where the kitchen is clean, the clutter is nonexistent, no one has a stain on their sweatshirt—those weren’t filmed in my house! I guess those commercials are selling us a fantasy but I’d rather stay here in my reality. There’s mess. I’m not perfect. And that’s okay. I’m human and I’m willing to share that with others. Let’s laugh about it.
I laughed with a friend a few nights ago after my youngest child’s school music performance. My friend was taking photos with her three kids. I told her I was very impressed that her twin sons had matching outfits. “I couldn’t even find my daughter’s shoes tonight, and you found not one but two clean, matching outfits!” We laughed about the missing shoe. This moment fits with the point I’m making today: we’re human—why hide it? Let’s laugh about the unexpected, frenzied moments. Showing the real stuff makes life relatable.
These crazy moments seem inevitable on busy school nights that involve a performance and party clothes. The tone was set when I realized what a short window of time there was between school pick up and 5:30, when the students would meet to prepare for the 6pm show. There was a lot to do. The mayhem started when a few unrelated mishaps landed in that short window of time. Someone knocked on the door to discuss solar panels. I had to make phone calls about a missing homework assignment. I hadn’t ironed our daughter’s dress or found her shoes. Things got crazier when one of the kids put on tights with a hole in one shin. “What’s up with that hole?” I asked her. “Oh, no one will notice it,” she replied. I stared at her and said, “Your skin is light. The tights are black. The hole is completely obvious! Everyone will notice. It will look like we got your outfit out of a dumpster! I’ll sew it shut.” Of course, I couldn’t find a needle. I looked with all my sewing stuff. No dice. And the clock was ticking. I looked in the kitchen, where I sometimes keep craft items. No needle. Could I tape the hole? Get real. Tape would hold about two seconds. “And where are your shoes?” I called to our youngest. I only see one of them. “What time is it? Is everyone else dressed? We have to go in eight minutes! Someone find the shoe! I’m looking for a sewing needle! How did I manage to put my dress on backwards? No wonder it looks strange! Did you finish your homework? Did you start your homework?”
Several frenzied minutes later we’re finally out of the house and on our way. We’re running late, but I knew from last year that many kids did not arrive a full thirty minutes before the show—and guess what? It was fine. In the truck, Hubby drives and I’m in the passenger seat, twisted around backwards, trying to sew the hole in my daughter’s tights—the truck’s dome light is on so I can see—but I’m in such a strange position that I get a cramp. “Owww,” I groan. And then the allergy attack starts. We arrive at the school but the gates that were open for last year’s performance are shut so we have to do a u turn and circle back. I keep glancing at the time. How do we get in? At last we figure it out and get where we need to be. The performance is adorable. And then it’s pandemonium again as parents and kids mill around the auditorium, trying to find one another. We swim against the tide and eventually meet up and walk toward the exit. This is when I see my friend and her three kids, two with matching outfits, and laughingly tell her about the missing shoe and the chaos of our afternoon. People around us laugh, and I say, “I can’t make this stuff up. It really happened!”
And so I’m sharing another funny episode in this endurance sport I call parenthood. I’m not perfect, and I don’t want to pretend to be. Let’s laugh about the mishaps. Stay tuned because the one thing I can guarantee about this unpredictable journey of motherhood is that there will be more hectic, wild moments of scrambling, freaking out, making do, and laughing about it. After all, that’s life.