Wednesday, July 4, 2012

independence day

 
the fourth of july is one of my favorite holidays. maybe it's because i lived in a foreign country for several years. maybe i'm just especially patriotic. regardless, i love today.

i was going to post a fourth of july craft, a fourth of july dessert, any number of fourth of july fun ideas. those, however, will have to wait until next year. instead, i'm declaring today a personal independence day. this will be my mommy manifesto, if you will. maybe it will catch on.

today i'm declaring my freedom from the following:

1) the bondage of perfection. don't get me wrong. i love pinterest. i love every beautiful, crafty idea that it holds. it is amazing. however, somewhere along my pinterest pursuit, i've looked at all those things and somehow felt less than adequate if i couldn't somehow fit all that loveliness into my daily life while keeping up my house, raising good kids, and just maintaining my own sanity. somewhere along the line, we've moved the line of what is considered successful and have set the bar for ourselves immeasurably high. i am hereby lowering the bar. sometimes good enough is just that...good enough.

2) self doubt. i am a good mother. i am not perfect (see #1 above) but i am still good at raising my kids. the days when i lose it, when i want to run away and hide, the moments when my kids are on my last nerve and i say something i should not, when we have hot dogs for dinner three nights in a row, all of those moments do not diminish my success as a mother. this thing called motherhood is tricky and i'm doing the best that i can. it may not be today, but someday, my kids will see and understand that. i will trust that i am good at being a mom.

3) a negative body image. i have had five kids, for crying out loud. for some reason, when i look in them mirror, i expect to see my 20-something-self, never-had-a-baby-body staring back at me. i'm going to give my 30 something self a break. the fact that i can fit into any pants at all after having five kids is nothing short of miraculous. that doesn't mean that i don't want to be healthy or that i'm willing to just blow up like a tick as i get older. it just means that if i have wrinkles, if my skin sags in places it shouldn't, if gravity has done some damage that can't be repaired, i'm going to move on. it's not worth feeling bad about myself all the time. i'm going to be okay with what i look like.

4) comparing myself to others. somewhere along the line, we all do it. we compare our mothering, our kids, our lives with other people. it is exhausting and we will always find someone who is doing something better than we are. what is it in our make up that somehow makes us feel better by showing how successful we are next to someone else' failures? what makes us feel so horrible when we line up our own shortcomings next to someone else' success? why can't we just stop and learn to be comfortable in who we are, both good and bad? comparisons make me crazy. i'm choosing to be sane.

5) discontentment. life is messy. things get hard. there is always something more to do, pennies that need to be pinched, kids that need to be disciplined, relationships that don't get the priority they deserve. life is not perfect (again, see #1). i'm going to determine to make the best of it anyway. when things are really horrible, i'm sure i can imagine something worse. when the end of the year comes, i know i'll look back and remember the good. so, why not find contentment in the midst of the mess? i'm not saying this is going to be easy for me, i'm just saying i'm going to try my best. i don't want to miss a chance for happiness in the everyday. i'm going to strive for contentment.

6) ungratefulness. i sometimes wonder if my own children's lack of gratitude comes somewhere from the example i've set for them. i am so quick to complain when things aren't perfect, when there's a traffic jam, when the grocery store doesn't have an item i need, when my cell phone drops a call. it's no wonder my kids are quick to jump on that bandwagon. how did the universe come to owe us so much? i'm going to remember to look around in awe as i walk into a fully stocked grocery store. i'm going to look at my refrigerator and be thankful that today is another day that i won't go hungry. we are such a privileged people...sometimes too much so. we are quick to forget how good we have it. i'm going to choose to remember.

there you have it. the six areas where i'm declaring my own independence. what about you? perhaps i should take signatures like our own mommy declaration of independence. perhaps you'd like to add something to the manifesto. feel free.