I have a crooked tooth. We don’t use the word “snaggle-tooth” at my house because it pisses me off; just ask my husband. Carrying my daughter left me with a wreath- yes, a wreath- of stretch marks around my belly button that sets off my new gallbladder surgery scars beautifully. But you know, I’m getting pretty cozy in this skin of mine. Here’s 5 other imperfections I’m learning to embrace:
1. I’m an intuitive mother; not a perfect one.
Sometimes I feel like I am the weirdest mom I know. I am a toddler-nursing, bed-sharing, fly-by-the-seat-of-the-diaper kind of mom and I spend a lot of time defending my choices to breastfeed a baby who loves bacon and snuggling in bed between me and her daddy. We don’t have a 7PM bedtime at our house; Ada sleeps when we sleep and wakes when we wake. And though I know I don’t do anything by the book (unless of course you happen to be reading something like Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik,) I sometimes allow the doubt to creep in on me. You know what I’m talking about, right? That voice that says…
She fed her baby vegetables instead of fruit first. Do you really know what you’re doing?
Her baby is so verbal. Maybe if you read more stories to your baby…
Co-sleeping? Are you sure you’re doing that for her and not yourself?
This is how I deal with that voice. I remind myself that God gave me the child I have for a reason. I was designed to be an expert on this child and I believe that what we so often call “intuition” is really the tool God gives us to raise our children in His image. I find that when I go against what feels right to me, if I try to be more like other moms, I feel like a fish out of water and Ada is just as miserable as I am. If we want to raise children who are comfortable in their own skin, we have to show them how! That means embracing the mother we are and not the mother we think we ought to be because a mom we know does things differently.
2. My house is not a set for a photo shoot.
My house is a classroom. A lab. A cozy diner. A refuge. My house is a nest. The dishes don’t always get done. The laundry piles up. The garage is…unnavigable. But despite it’s many imperfections, it’s where we live and we really, really LIVE. Sometimes we slow-dance in the kitchen instead of unloading the dishwasher, spill paint on the carpet while creating Christmas presents or skip cutting the lawn to snuggle in bed on a Saturday morning but it is a glorious, messy little life we live and I refuse to feel guilty anymore for falling short of Better Homes and Gardens.
3. No, I have not finished my novel. Yet.
I am somebody’s mom and though some people might think that is an excuse, well, it’s just my reality. Motherhood is the most meaningful, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done but also the most demanding. I have little left to share of myself at the end of the day, which I think means I’m doing it right. If I write my novel 50 words at a time in between changing diapers, then so be it. I am not less motivated as a mother. I have not given up on my dreams or resigned myself to a life of sweatpants. I have not lost my passion for storytelling or my drive. I may get there later but I will get there. I like the Julia Child’s quote that says, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” Right now, I need to give myself the freedom to eat this life up; the cooking will come.
4. I try too hard to fix people. My Keurig confuses me; what makes me think I can fix people?!
I think this one speaks for itself…
5. I can live lovely on little (without feeling like a loser.)
I literally write for my supper. I have to learn that hiding away in a lonely corner of the library and ignoring everything from phone calls to the sound of my daughter’s heartbreaking cries as I leave the house is not something I should feel guilty over; I do it in the pursuit of providing. I have to allow myself the privileged of going off the grid, guilt-free. I have to remember that even though freelancing is stressful and the weeks in between paychecks can be scary, I am doing exactly what I want to do. I have the freedom to write what I want to write. I have the freedom to kiss my daughter anytime I want. I sleep until 10:30 AM and wake up to baby kisses. Life is too sweet to sweat about money.
What imperfections will you embrace this year?