In today’s time, we are surrounded by beauty. Editors, bloggers and creators post the most beautiful and inspiring images. But sometimes these beautiful images have a backlash-like effect, particularly for Moms.
I don’t know what it is about motherhood that makes us want to be All Things. Maybe it is the number of things we are responsible for. And the fact that we really do want to do a good job with all of those responsibilities.
I always have a running wish list of things that I want to do. Projects around the house, hobbies I would like to pursue, etc. But I know in my life, it seems as though there is always something more pressing that needs to be done: the laundry, the dishes, the grocery shopping, cleaning, all on top of caring for the needs of my son. Just the day-to-day tasks can sometimes be overwhelming.
Looking at beautiful blogs, websites and Pinterest sometimes leaves me feeling like I am perpetually falling behind. How do other moms seem to get so much more done than I do? Shouldn’t I be able to do more?
Expectation meets reality. And reality falls short.
So what’s a girl to do in a world where we are inundated with beautiful images? Here are a few tips to help you embrace your own life, no matter how imperfect.
1. Recognize that the world we live in is highly-edited. This seems obvious, but when we constantly see beautiful, edited images it can alter our sense of reality. This can cause us to question our own un-edited realities. And it is not a fair comparison. Comparing your own reality to a photoshopped, cropped, staged version of someone else’s is just a recipe for discontent. This leads me to my next point.
Perfection is not attainable, and we should not expect real life to look like a magazine. Realize that you cannot be all things. Please understand that I am not in any way faulting media, bloggers or content creators because nobody has the power to make you feel inferior without your permission.
I want you (and me) to be able to look at beautiful things without having a negative response or feeling less-than. And that means that we have to do the inner work in our own hearts and minds.
3. Be thankful for what you have. I know it may seem like I harp on gratitude a lot here, but it is the single greatest ingredient for realizing joy and contentment in life. For more on this, I have written previously about the surprising and life-altering benefits of gratitude.
4. Prioritize the things that matter most to you, and let go of the rest.
I call embracing imperfection an art because there is a delicate balance between accepting imperfection and growing/improving yourself. The key is developing the wisdom to discern when you really need to work to improve something versus letting it go. Pick your battles. Figure out what things are most important to you, and focus your energy on those.
For me right now, it’s spending quality time with my family, eating good food and getting healthy. Even when I am not in weight loss mode, I love having dinner as a family around the table almost every night. I make it priority. That is not to say that we do not eat the occasional frozen dinner. I am sorry if that shatters your image of me. 🙂 But for the most part, family dinner around the table is priority for me.
What you may not see on this blog are the other things I often let slide over making dinner. Our house is frequently messy. I don’t go to the gym right now. I don’t do hardly any extra activities at the moment, other than this blog. My wardrobe needs help. Our house has several improvement projects on hold. I have a sewing machine that has been untouched for a year. I am okay with all of these things because I know that there will come a season where my son is more independent, and I will have more time to pursue those things.
This is not to say that priorities cannot change to accommodate different demands. It is to say that you have to let go of some things, even if it is just temporarily.
So I guess the goal is just to be able to recognize beautiful images for what they are – enhanced, edited, beautified, artistic depictions of life. And to know and accept that real life isn’t always quite so splashy.
Are your expectations unrealistic? Do you have any tips for being more content? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!