Pinterest and I are best friends. The reason is I can hit that little “P” and I can dream my home more organized, my bedroom more HGTV-ready, and my snack for school a little more delicious. Believe me, I am an avid pinner of my vision of my very best life. On Pinterest, I get to be THAT mom – the one who has it all together, from the amazing birthday party to the healthy weeknight dinners. Pinterest is my creative way of creating a vision board.
A couple of years ago, I found myself frantically pinning all the things on Pinterest about home organization. I made the master household organizational binder, I bought the perfectly coloured tabs and ripped all the magazine solutions into it. I sorted my pantry. I got the perfect plastic boxes to organize my linen closet with beautiful labels. I systematically organized everything in my house from the baby’s room to the bath toys to my fridge.
I finished and thought, “Finally! Finally I’ll have it all together.” Me and my master binder would rule the household!
Planning for the win! Plan or fail. Black or white.
Enter real life.
It didn’t work like that. The kids dumped the toys out of the bins and didn’t put them back. The weeknight dinner routine felt like a too tight tie around my neck with expectations for groceries and what was in the pantry to be perfect. I hadn’t factored leftovers or what was already in the fridge into my weekly meal plan. My linen closet boxes actually worked (because no one could reach them but me).
You know what after all that organization – I still didn’t have it all together.
I still wasn’t happy.
I still didn’t feel like I had a grip on my best life.
I had to face the real truth – organization wasn’t the reason that I felt unfulfilled. Organization was like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound that needed stitches.
The gaping wound was self-care.
I was amazing at taking care of everyone in my family, but I kept putting my needs last. I even came after my dog, for goodness sake. I was still learning this motherhood thing, and I was determined to be the kind of mother that you see on Leave it to Beaver or the commercials about dishwashing soap. The perfect stay-at-home, on-maternity leave mom who did amazing crafts with her kids, activities and serve amazing nutritious meals at every turn.
Cheryl Strayed said something that really resonated with me about motherhood. If I could go back and tell my past self one thing, I would tell her what Cheryl said. Cheryl talked at length about how it seems like there’s only two ways to be a mother – a good one or a bad one. I was listening to this podcast in my car (as I do), and the tears started streaming down my face. Oh my God, finally. Someone said it out loud, I thought.
Dearest ones, there’s more than one way to be a mom.
I know so many moms, and they are would call themselves Hockey Moms, Entrepreneur Moms, Writer Moms, Athletic Moms… and the list goes on! They are so much more than good or bad, and so are you.
We are so much more than just mom. We are still people, after all. We still have hobbies, activities, and interests that make us who we really are. Those things that feed our souls so we can be the best moms we can be. We have to do those things – they make us who they are. They make us better moms, fuller moms, moms who are deeply fulfilled and love from every last cockle of our hearts, you see.
But most importantly, when we lead we have to show these passions. I cry as I type this for good reason…. I’m leading another beautiful girl in my household. She’s watching me! And man, she misses nothing. She’s smart like that. When I pursue my passions, she usually is literally in the backseat with me, cheering me on. You see when I write from my heart, when I go on my crazy adventures in the car, when I go to help a friend – my daughter wants in. She wants to be apart of that. She knows it’s the gold.
To digress slightly, the other person who said something about this to me that really resonated was my hematologist. He asked me if my kids played sports – I said, of course. He asked me if I ever sat in the bleaches or on the sidelines of their games and practices and cheered them on. I said, of course. Then he asked me gently, why won’t you let them do the same for you?
He was reminding me that my sport or activity of choice was just as important. I needed to teach my kids to be good cheerleaders – as well as good players. And if I’m not even playing – they don’t have the opportunity to do so.
Chuck Your Organizational Binder
Dearest one, chuck your organizational binder. You don’t need it. You already know first hand the in’s and out’s of your household. You’re already doing the best you can with what you’ve got. You’re learning, you’re adapting, you’re growing alongside those little people. You’ve got this. You’re already so capable.
Instead, I challenge you to find time for yourself. Little 10-minute pockets of self care you can do from home. Larger spaces of time where you can be kid free and do the things you really love to do. Adventures and new ways you can bring what you love into your little people’s lives.
What can you start doing right now that will feed your soul?