The Bulls!@# Promise of Balance
Once upon a time I wrote about balance.
I think I had 2 kids under 6 at that time. I'm pretty sure, if anything, only Betty was in school and only part-time. Molly was a toddler or baby or something and I was pretty sure I had everything well in hand and balance was completely achievable for a woman looking to run a full-time business and be super-mom.
I was a liar.
Ok, maybe not a LIAR....I truly believed it was a real thing. Balance in my life was not some fantastical unicorn concept to be found in Narnia or something. All the lady-bloggers TOLD me so. Balance was a REALLY popular topic. That along with fluffy white dogs and driving your Mercedes to the beach to twirl in some diaphanous dress. This was all very well-like photographer blog fodder.
So...I eeked it out. Afterall, Perpetually Tan Beautiful Photographer Girl could, I would be damned if I couldn't keep up. I could take the kids to their school stuff, run Molly to the doctor or take her out into the yard for bubbles or whatever, feed the dog, pay the bills, keep the house clean, and be boss-lady.
I THOUGHT I was eeking.....
But, for all the bloggers and podcasters and Instagrammers and Facebookers and Tweeters saying you just have to "center yourself" or that there are ways to achieving this unicorn concept of "balance" if you just WANT it enough, TRY hard enough, realize that if you do X, Y, and Z that it'll come.....I'd like to cry bullshit.
Big, fat, loud bullshit.
See, as I get older....add another kid to the pile....add more nuances to my business....add add add add...I realize that Moms are more and more expected to be the CEOs of their families. It's not Dad anymore. No disrespect to Dad, but hasn't it ALWAYS been Mom? Dad goes off to work. That eats up a large portion of his day where the running of the household is not within his control or concern. Mom is left to hold down the fort, whatever that fort may be. Sometimes that fort is a job, which adds a whole new layer of complication. Because no matter what Mom may do for a living....she is still CEO of her household.
Add Mom deciding she needs to run her own business and all hell breaks loose.
Mom better get her Super Suit out of the cleaners because shit needs to get DONE.
Kids need to be fed. Clean. Dressed. Diapered. Shuttled around. Dropped off. Picked up. Teachers need to be communicated with because they need pencils, and donations for the upcoming Spring party and hey, ever thought about volunteering? Oh, did you sign that sheet for whatever field trip? Can you go on the field trip WITH me, Mom? Can you? Bryntleigh's Mom goes to EVERY field trip! Don't forget about so-and-so's birthday party and my super-special school project that you're going to do most of but your kid will get full credit for. Oh, and you know that house, the cars, the stuff IN the house, all that food the kids need? Yeah, that needs to be paid for. You need to sit down and dole out the money and make sure it's not late. You forgot to click "send" to that payment...GOD, you SUCK AT THIS. By the way, Kidlet #1 is entering puberty and has a million questions about all THAT entails....and she's REALLY upset about it ALL the time and you need to be super understanding about that because you don't want to scar her for life, right? Kidlet #2 is juuuuust developing a smidge of jealousy about Kidlet #3, who is a walking, talking, ball of destruction whose nails really need to be trimmed and you REALLY need to start reading to her because didn't you know her language is developing and if you don't read to them every night they're all going to end up idiots who do not contribute to society?
I'm not diggin' at Dad here. Dad does his thing. But studies have shown that Moms more often take on the "home shift" work: the organization, the delegation, the care and management of the household.
So, here's the thing. I am NOT ranting.
Ok, maybe I'm complaining a TAD....just a little bit.
But this is not meant to be some long-winded rant.
What this IS meant to be is a big fat "I FEEL YA, SISTER". I do. I SEE you. I HEAR you. And I know what's REAL and what's BULLSHIT.
All of what we ingest on the internet with the perfectly curated feeds, and pretty skin/hair/nails, and vacations to relaxing places where one can quietly bring themselves to a peaceful chi-harnessing or something.....this is not real. Not at all. This is not life for 99% of us mothers/business-owners. This is something CREATED by the owner of THAT business to sell things. Which, hey....more power to them. That's how business works.
But it gets into your SOUL. It stares at you from the warm glow of your phone as you lie awake at night WILLING yourself to fall asleep as you worry about mortgages and your kids' mental well-being and whether the produce you just bought will spoil before you can use it (yeah.) It mocks you....it says "Look how EASY I make this look. YOU ARE TERRIBLE AT LIFE."
These people fight with their spouses and their kids yell "I HATE YOU" at them. It happens.
They get stomach upset and zits and their hair looks like shit and NO it's not because they're not using the latest and greatest beauty product....it's because who has time for that garbage?
They have embarrassing body things and strained relationships with people and sometimes they sit in their room alone and realize they may not be 100% happy all the time.
Because, let's face it. Who is?
These people are choosing to put up the facade of perfection, of together, of balance, and of positivity. And MAYBE this is a good thing? Gives all of us down here on Earth something to strive for. What's that saying? Shoot for the moon, if you miss you'll land among the stars?
You fall back to Earth, burn up in the atmosphere and what's left of you plops into an ocean (if you're lucky).
Put that on a pretty meme and smoke it.
I think it's bordering on toxic, sometimes. We see what's out there, what is presented as normal, and how can we help but feel absolutely worthless? Mediocre, at best? I know I'm a strong, educated person but it gets to me sometimes. What if you're NOT strong enough to resist it? What if you easily fall prey to the lie?
What if we all just decided enough and just presented life as it is? Is it really SO terrible that it needs to be scrubbed, curated, prettied, and filtered so much?
I'm guilty. I know it. Everyone is.
Girl, let me tell you (and boy...whatever).....I fixed my nose in nearly EVERY picture I posted online for YEARS. I was so aware of how much I hated it that I straightened it out. I figured it was just a little tweak, no one would care.
Why did I care? Well, because well-liked, popular girl photographers don't have big, crooked noses. DUH.
So, I see you...hear you....(God, this sounds like a Who song....) Moms out there trying desperately to make your self-made world happen and feeling like you are falling short with every aspect. Because I feel that way too.
I'm not going to tell you that you are all doing a wonderful job. I don't know that. Hell, you hear every day in the news about some schlub that neglected her kids to go get her nails done or something. People suck sometimes.
What I AM going to say, in my attempt to be inspirational for a moment, is that if you TRY and if you CARE....that matters for more than you think it does. It's okay if you need to leave the house without makeup to go rush to pick up the kids....even if that Mom over there looks like a supermodel when she picks up HER kids. That's not your life.
And I can promise you...if I see you out there...all makeupless with your toddler screaming bloody murder over some injustice...I'm gonna throw you a "I'm with ya, sister" sign. I'm going say "Same" and you do the same for me and we can all just start to agree that the lie that is social media doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. We are not going to let it seep into our real life and make us feel like shit.
You do you, any way you need to get it all done. Be the woman of the house and the boss and the mom and the owner and if you need a nap, carve out time to take one because dammit you earned it.