Periodically, my boys love to browse through the pics that I post here on my blog. They know that I write for them, and that at the end of every year I will print these posts off into a blog "book" for them to have for themselves one day.
So, today (which will be "yesterday" by the time I hit publish...as it has just been that sort of day where I can't get out of the way of myself), when my true-blue-and-bluntly-honest Jesse saw this picture that I had posted of myself over the week-end.....
I shall give them to you, verbatim:
"You can lie with your pictures, can't you? That picture looks like you're cheating and don't really have a baby in your belly."
Kinda' deep from a five-year old, don't you think?
And kinda' right on...
You can lie with your pictures...
And you can lie with your status updates...
And you can lie with your blog posts...
See, Jesse knows what I really look like. He's seen me side-to, and he's seen me when I wear something other than black. And he's right. That, my friends is why I strategically posted this picture of myself rather than a plethora of other - far less flattering ones - that I have stored in my files. I'm going scrap booking this weekend, and I wanted some updated pictures for London's album. Some where I was out of my yoga pants, and some where Mama had decided to do her hair that day. Some where my 25+ pounds of weight gain looked just a wee bit more flattering than usual...
But, in the interest of keeping things real - and I do so like things to be real and not be fake...Oh, how I am trying to just be raw and real - flaws and all - and not give a care in the world as to what others might think or say...
This is my side view:
Crazy pyscho outty and all....
This is my side view when I am dressed in something other than black:
Yoga pants - per my usual attire - and all:
I cannot tell a lie.
But you asking me to post a naked belly picture is where I must draw the line...
There are some secrets that have to stay within a family.
But, that little innocent comment really did stay with me for the rest of the day. It totally convicted me. I do believe that my young, five-year old son very simply wrapped his wee brain around a hard piece of truth that we - especially we, women - wrestle with every day. Especially in this age of on-line living where we only allow people to see this certain single dimensional kind of life - the life that we choose to allow people to see...and maybe a life that we can sorta' "tweak" to have others see what we want them to see...
I know I can be guilty.
And, I'm not even saying that's a horrible thing. I don't think we need to several-times-daily puke our flaws and failings out online for all the world to see. In fact, one of my biggest pet peeves on facebook is when people throw these little open-ended-make-you-wonder-what-they-really-mean-one-liners like: "...is really bummed right now." out into space, and you know they are just waiting for a boatload of comments to flood in saying: "Oh no! What's wrong?! Please tell us!!!"
But, that's just me. If I'm going to throw out a woe, I'm going to be straight up about why I'm bummed. But, then again, that's just me being judgmental, too, isn't it? Maybe that's as close as someone can get to throwing out a heartache and begging for a lifeline to be tossed back to them. Maybe that's as bold and as daring as they can go with their pain, and they are pleading for someone to toss the ball back so that they can unload their hurt. Who am I to judge?
And, maybe this is the forever plight of the woman - the curse of being "us," where we just can't help but compare, and where we are so very quick to judge, and where we just "know" that someone else's life is better, or they are skinnier, or they have a happier home, or because they do "this," well that just has to make them a better Mama than me.
And when facebook friend #236 just accomplished "laundry, dishes, ran my 5 miles, read 5 books to my kids, and cleaned the entire downstairs and it's only 8:00 a.m.!" while meanwhile, back at the ranch, I still sit in my jammies...sucking back my third cup of coffee...with my eye balls bugging out of my head because the one day I manage to get up before the sun...the Hoolies decide to wake up right along with me.... well, sometimes this little fake world that we all live in can manage to royally set us up for failure for the day before our feet have even really hit the floor, and before the kids are even out of bed. That's always fun.
But, then again -- maybe that same sweet Mama who just posted the update that made the rest of us all just feel like crap....well, maybe she's been having a pretty sucky week previous herself...but maybe today she woke up and managed to pull all of her stuff together, maybe it was one of those rare "conquer Rome in a day" moments....and heck, yeah-I'm-proud-of-myself-and-you-had-better-believe-I-earned-this-bragging-right-of-a-moment,-so-you'd-better-believe-I'm-posting-it-this-morning-because-you-know-what-is-probably-going-to-hit-the-fan-for-the-day-just-as-soon-as-I-hit-publish,-so-I'm-going-to-savor-this-moment-however-short-it-may-be!
And you know what?
Kudos to you, sweet Mama.
At least for me, those moments are few and far between, so when they come I'm going to wave my freak flag high and lofty, as well. Anything to make me feel like a stellar Mama - even if it's just for one moment of flipping glory before all h-e-double-hocky-stick breaks loose for the rest of the live long day.
Moments of madness.
And moments where we conquer.
Days that went amazingly smoothly.
And days where it's shocking that I allowed all three of my children to live.
Days where they make me proud.
And days where I would rather plunge my head into the toilet and flush repeatedly.
That's the life of a Mama.
And I find that it's much easier to share in each other's sorrows that to share in each other's joys because, at least for me, that crappy comparison trap always seems to love to rear its head at the same exact time that I honestly do want to stand and cheer you on in your victories.
But, I'm trying. Oh mercy, I'm trying.
I do believe that we women are each other's worst enemies. And we Mamas so desperately need to be each other's biggest cheerleaders. We need to be real and raw with each other. I think it's good to show the warts. But, it's true that we also need those times where we can safely share our little victories, as well - because the Lord knows those are few and far between, too. Those proud moments where -right or wrong - we can say: "See? I can play this game of motherhood, too! We're going to make it over here. Maybe, just maybe, I'm not going to ruin my kids for life, after all!"
And our skin is thin.
And our hearts bleed raw.
Our kids keep us humble.
And our flaws are ever glaring.
We know them.
We live them.
And this gig is hard. And sometimes it's pretty thankless.
But, no-one knows that better than us.....
And no-one knows what each other needs better than we do...
So, here's to keeping it real.
And here's to getting out of the way of ourselves.
Here's to giving ourselves - and each other - big baths of grace.
Here's to big Barney bellies with psycho outty buttons.
And here's to: "Jesse peed a mother load in his bed last night, I'm still in my jammies, and the boys have been watching t.v. since 7:00, and now it's 9:00, so I had best be hitting publish," as well.....