The Real World vs. Highlight Reels

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin shared an article online about how moms compare ourselves to others, and how we compare our insides, with other people's outsides. I started to think about it more and I came to realize this is a huge deal for me when it comes to still struggling with anxiety. In fact, now having a good twenty months to over-analyze my anxiety (its just what I do), I'm pretty sure its one of the biggest factors.

First let's take a step back in time. Remember when I posted about Perceived Perfectionism? Yup, the article was a big reminder of perceived perfectionism. Ack. It was almost a year ago exactly, when I wrote this...
One of the things that causes me a high level of anxiety, despite fully knowing that it's ridiculous, is getting ready to take the kids to any type of party/gathering. I'm not talking about the usual chaos that ensues when you have a two and half year old and eight month old anytime you try to leave the house. I'm talking about my NEED to have it look like I have the perfect little family with nicely dressed, recently bathed babies. I can not force myself to leave the house after nap time (even when we are late) without having given both babies a bath right after nap time. In my head, I think, you big dummy, just give the kids a bath BEFORE nap time, because that's one less thing that you have to do when trying to leave the house because its crazy enough. Nope. No can do. The thought of giving them a bath then putting them down for a nap drives me crazy because kids get sweaty when they sleep. Their hair gets messed up. What if I take my babies to a party with messy hair?!?! The world might actually end. Obviously, that's an exaggeration and my brain knows that's not true, but that's not what my body tells me.
I didn't really realize how long its been going on until a recent weekend when we were heading out to a Birthday party after nap time. Yup, I woke the kids up to give them a bath first. Although I have to say that it was mostly because they didn't take a bath the night before. I feel like I am to the point now where I can at least leave without the bath thing (although they were just extra dirty and stinky this time). After bath, I was getting Emma dressed and she really wanted pig tails because I always tell her how much her Mimi and Pop love pig tails. She was pumped. We get dressed and Mommy can only find one of the two bows that match her shirt. Yikes. As crazy as it sounds, the panic totally set in. What makes it hard is that Wes will see me running around the house like a crazy person all because I can't find two matching bows. He doesn't understand that although it seems insignificant in the scheme of things, it's not insignificant in my head. The thought of putting two different bows in her hair, or putting two of the same bows in her hair that didn't match her shirt made me feel ill.

Okay, okay, I know....where the heck are we going with this? Here is how it all ties together....

You know how you hear so much about the pressure that magazines and TV and models put on young girls to look rail thin and how it's society that we have to change and embrace "real" women? Yup, same thing here just with moms and the Internet.

It’s natural to make comparisons, I think especially for females. Us moms compare ourselves to every other mom we meet. It's just what we do. Any mom out there that says they don't do it is lying. But now-a-days (I always feel old when I say that) a lot of what we have to go on and compare ourselves to is what we see on the Internet. We compare ourselves to what we see on Facebook. We compare ourselves to what we see on Pinterst. We compare ourselves to what we see on blogs. We rarely get to compare our reality, to other's reality. We look around at the women and moms online and we see perfect houses impeccably decorated that the mom of four young kids did it all herself. We see amazing crafts and recipes that moms just whip up at the drop of a hat. We see the pictures of a perfectly put together family on Facebook.

Whenever I have a bad anxiety day, I start to question why "life" is so hard for me to handle and not for others? Why doesn't my house look like what I see online? Why did my kid go to school that day with half his breakfast stuck to his pants? Why did my kids have to eat mac and cheese for dinner and do nothing but scream and whine the entire night? My house is a mess, there is dog hair on the floor, stuff is everywhere despite the fact that I cleaned the kitchen three times the day before. I spend half my weekends cleaning, never get the entire house clean, and the parts that I do get cleaned, are messed up before I even go to bed that night. There are home projects half done everywhere. My bedroom still looks like it did the day we moved into our house in 2005. Why doesn't my kitchen look like this? Heck, even if it was decorated like that, where's the dog hair? Where are the shoes and toys and ripped books and hats and lunch boxes and dirty dishes?

It's because we don't see what "reality" is for all these other people. We see their "highlight reel". I'm starting to try to remind myself that life isn't always sunshine and rainbows for everyone. But sometimes that hard to do when all you see if perfection. I bet that if we all posted about what life is really like, we wouldn't feel so bad about our in ability to keep up with the Jones's.

Don't get me wrong. I love looking around the Internet for DIY project ideas or inspiration pictures and I always love what I see. But find myself with the same feeling when I'm done that you get after walking through a model home and then coming back to your own house. Ugh.

I better sum this up because who knows how long I could ramble on! I don't even really know what the point of this post is. Maybe its just to help convince myself that it's okay for Emma to go to a party with two different bows in her hair. Maybe its to make myself feel better that my house is a wreck seven days a week. Maybe deep down I hope some of the famous bloggers out there see it and start to post what "real life" is really like for them as well, as opposed to the staged pictures. Maybe its just in the hopes that one other person who is struggling with the same thing sees it and just knows that there is someone else out there who has a love/hate relationship with the Internet. Who knows, but whatever the point is, it makes me feel better just writing it all down, so I guess it was worth it. And in the end, I suppose none of it really even matters. What matters is that my babies are happy, and healthy and having fun.

Next time I post about a room makeover or a DIY project, I'm going to post the picture you would normally see online (cleaned and staged) and then what it looks like in the real world.

Yup, that would be The Squishy checking out what is across the creek at my parents house through his binoculars. Backwards. Every time he looks through them, he yells "Cheese!!" God love that little manly.

1 comment :

  1. LIKE, LIKE, LIKE!!!
    I'm right there with you!
    Did you see my clean basement when you came over? Oh good, it looked nice, right? I was hoping everyone would think I'm an amazing housekeeper. But did you open ANY of the doors to the other rooms down there? A-HA! You didn't? Well, it's mostly because they wouldn't open anyway with all the crap stashed behind them :) Seriously. Next time you come over, I'll show you. I really will. And then you will feel LOADS better :)
    I love you because you are so IMPERFECT! Dog hair, non-matching bows, unfinished rooms and all :) You make me feel better about myself :)
    Maybe one day, I'll get the nerve to post a pic of my normal kitchen on Facebook. It's always a hot mess. We'll go viral and start our own imperfect mom revolution.


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