I live in this constant limbo of feeling fully content in all things and always seeking the next best thing. I can look around my home some days and bask in the beautiful coziness of it all, feeling safe and warm. I can stand at the kitchen sink that very next day mentally writing a list of all of the ‘to-dos’ or ‘to-buys’ that will somehow make our home perfect.
It’s a trap I fall into with a simple scroll through Instagram. So many pretty pictures. So many beautifully decorated homes. So many women seemingly handling life with grace and poise. I know it isn’t all real. Seriously, anyone with a child knows the mess they can bring. But I still wonder every time I see a photo and think ‘Wow, that’s so perfect’ in awe and if there is some sort of magic (or maid) behind some of these images.
So many claim that it isn’t what it’s really like. That the pretty images are not what life is like, that their life isn’t as beautiful as those images portray. They flat out tell it to my face but I still don’t believe it and still find myself in this strange place of trying to live up to a environment where all is perfect.
I can’t be the only one that does this and I probably have fallen into the trap that pretty images only belong in that space. I don’t know why I do that. I don’t know why I feel like I need to bring only my best while shoving the mess or chaos to the side.
Actually, I do know why.
There’s this desire I’ve had my whole life. I have this silent desire to be seen but not in the spotlight. I like to highlight the good and the pretty for fear that anything messy, crazy or chaotic will bring criticism or comments.
I also have this desire for the real and the raw. When I edit photos I prefer the rich detail, the raw form of the subject and I absolutely cringe at fakeness (Nothing bothers me more than filters on photos. That one filter on Instagram that makes you look like you’re glowing can stay…this momma needs that one)
I crave the real. I like the beautiful. I desire the raw. I am drawn to the pretty.
It’s a silly dance but the truth of it can absolutely slap you upside the face. How many times have I said ‘I’m fine’ when it’s not? How many times have I apologized for the mess in my home when I really cleaned beforehand? How often have I purchased new clothes or items for the house because I’m not satisfied with what I have? It all comes back to joy. This dance between being content with what the good Lord has gifted and falling into the ‘not good enough.’
I come to the conclusion that I am not perfect. No one is. I really am never good enough because I fail, a lot. Perfection or ‘being good enough’ doesn’t exist, especially if I am measuring myself according to someone else’s picture of what their life appears to be.
So, what do I do? Do I still go on Instagram? You bet. I am a visual person. I love to be inspired and to hear other’s stories. Do I dwell on their ‘perfect’? Sometimes, yes but I am brought back to my own self. I know perfect doesn’t exist. I know that the real and raw business of being a mom includes the mess. It’s there. It always will be in some form. I am learning to embrace it.
-My house is typically cluttered with toys, dog hair, and I am in constant wonder as to how the bathroom sink can get so messy in so little time.
-My photos of my art are my best. They are the ones that I put up for sale. I have a stack of artwork that has splotches or mistakes that is larger than my pretty art pile.
-My patience with my children comes a lot from my personality. I am generally a calm person but even the most patient person snaps every once in a while. It happens.
-My pretty house has flaws, mistakes and things that make absolutely no sense as to why they are that way. Some of that is because of my right brained way of painting and some is because our house was built in 1914.
-My basement looks like an episode of hoarders. I’m working on it.
I will continue to post pictures of the pretty parts of my home, of the pretty food I make, of the pretty artwork and of my perfectly adorable and well-behaved children. I mean, for real, who wants to see my scary basement full of junk or the bathroom after the toddler learns how to take off a poopy diaper?
But to show the not-so-perfect may be worth it. Behind all that and more, is the mess. The real and the raw which when you think about it, is the beautiful.
**Photos are from our annual trip to Madeline Island. Where the cell reception is bad and the biggest ‘to-do’ is finding rocks to throw into the lake**