I’d Rather Be Honest Than Impressive

The daily yoga program I use is 3 Week Yoga Retreat on Beachbody on Demand. Until I can successfully do the entire program without doing child’s pose or regretting my life’s decisions, I refuse to move onto a more advanced program, if there is one. During the “Expansion Week”, the instructor kept emphasizing the point of foundation and not risking injury to look more impressive. And every time she says “I saw a quote the other day that said ‘I’d rather be honest than impressive’ and I think that’s a really great quote for out yoga practice on and off the mat.”

She’s right. The quote is 100% right. I see moms on my social media or across the internet who write notes to their kids when they make up a snack bag or on holidays make these elaborate crafts or food items with their kids. And I’m just like “They woke up, probably had clean clothes, and were fed. And they went to bed alive.” I’m excited when I can do the bare minimum of “momming” without wanting to drink a bottle of wine at the end of the day. I’m not an impressive mom. I’m not winning any Martha Stewart awards for a perfectly clean house. Heck, some days I consider it an accomplishment and a successful day if I made it through without wanting to cry in the shower.

But I’m okay that I’m not impressive. I’m okay that I’m a mediocre mom who tries to do more than what I think is the bare minimum, despite rarely even making that bar. I’m okay that I may not have an impressive career that people are interested in more than “wow, freelancer… huh.” Maybe it’s because I’m too apathetic to care about what other people think. I assure you it isn’t my self-confidence that makes me not care. I am what I am and I’m in okay with that, even if other people aren’t.

There are just so many expectations for us, whether we put them on ourselves or let others dictate it. I wake up at 6 every morning, assuming I’m not already up for 3-4 hours before that because insomnia (as is the case now, while writing this). Then I either start my day of getting the husband out the door, kids on remote learning, making sure everyone is set for lunch, including making lunch for my husband to take to work. Fit in workouts, cooking supper, my own work, and if I’m lucky I can at least do the dishes. Housecleaning is my last priority because honestly, there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything else that needs to be done. My house is constantly in disarray during this remote learning time. It’s certainly not impressive.

The point here is that it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be impressive. You don’t need validation. You don’t need to compare yourself to other moms because your kids just want you to be happy, to love them, and be there for them when they need you. My kid may run around with a dirty shirt that was clean in the morning but covered in hot sauce throughout the course of the day due to his eating habits. That’s okay. I’m not putting him into a clean shirt because neighbors might think poorly of me just so he can run around and dirty a second shirt in a day. I guarantee, you’ll be a lot happier if you stop trying to be perfectly impressive and start just being present.

And We Never Sent Out the Thank You Cards

Apparently even today, thank you cards are important even for birthday parties. The world ends if you forget. It obviously means that you are an ungrateful, horrible human being if you forget to do something that only takes but a moment of a time to send. How dare you?

How dare I. My youngest son had his birthday in September. I’m usually very diligent, sending out the thank you cards to the ones who like them within a week. To be fair, they were promptly written out. That’s the last we saw of those cards. Did we send them? My gut tells me no. My gut tells me that they were shuffled around in the hub of activity that is our house. There is the option of resending it, only the realization that I forgot a seemingly simple task over a month ago may have past the proper time to send it according to etiquette rules.

The fact is, we were busy. I spend more days that not reading emails from my youngest son’s teacher informing me of struggles he’s having in school. I have to manage the anxiety of my youngest son without letting mine get in the way. I have to spend more time than I’d like to admit in a day explaining that no, there isn’t a tornado or the fact that a paper was accidentally brought home isn’t the end of the world. It’s not easy like the days of monsters hiding. Now, monsters seem to be everything and there’s seemingly nothing I can do to stop it.

Every morning, I wake up at 6. I make sure my oldest is up and ready for school. I then start work. I’ll get started writing out blogs, most of which I end up tossing in the pit of despair known as the “Drafts” folder. I consider if I even want to blog today or revive the “Deleted Blog” series, where I put out those aforementioned blogs that I have (for whatever reason) decided not to post. I opt against it. (Though honestly, writing this now I probably will start using these as filler when I’m stuck with writer’s block or busy with appointments and can’t put a blog out, just for consistency’s sake.) I edit emails for clients. I lurk Reddit for Overwatch League/Overwatch news (and other things, because I’m now a constant Reddit lurker) to help me come up with ideas for blogs. I accomplish a lot in that one hour, which people don’t realize because “I don’t have a job”. I do. This is my job.

Then the morning gets crazy at 7. This is when I start the struggle of waking up my youngest. I listen to him cry and yell at me because we’re going to be late for school. Then as I walk him to school, some days I have to listen to him sob about how he doesn’t want to go to school. I walk back to the house to calm him down only to hear “WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!” By 8:30am, I realize that I have already been beaten down by failure for the day. It takes the rest of the day to work my way up from this feeling of being the worst mom on the planet. I spend the rest of the day working. I finish up my blogs and make sure they are scheduled to post on time. I stream to get my name out there, to raise my “brand awareness”. I work for my clients, writing articles and doing whatever else needs to be done. Sometimes, I don’t even finish everything I need to for work until 11pm. This includes family responsibilities of cooking, laundry, and trying to calm down my child because something set him off. If I’m lucky, I’m passed out by midnight. Sometimes the estimate is a lot later. Sometimes I wake up a lot earlier and get started.

At some points during this schedule, I have to handle making sure my oldest gets his overpriced class ring. I have to start getting him signed up for swimming. I have to research new ways to work with my youngest on managing his “quirks”. I spend a lot of time doing things that people don’t see. But, I obviously had time to mail out a thank you card and there’s no excuse for that level of inconsideration. It doesn’t matter that every day feels like you’re drowning because something has gone wrong so much that you sit back and wonder what you failed at to get to this point. The simple act of not sending out a thank you card epitomizes the guilt that I feel on a regular basis. The guilt that I’m not doing enough. I look at my house right now. It’s not a complete disaster, but it’s pretty messy. Will I get around to cleaning it today? That’s going to be a hard “no”, but I figure I’ll just not sleep tonight to get it done. Or I’ll pass out of exhaustion and get judged for another failure.

That’s the problem though. As a mom, I’m programmed to feel like I’ve failed at everything. We’re taught to think that our best just isn’t good enough. We’re supposed to feel guilty for our shortcomings. I spent too much time on my “not-work” because “writing isn’t a job” and I should have been cleaning for 8 hours while making sure I handle sending out a thank you card. My life is simple enough, right? We dwell on these perceived failures. I’ll probably think about that thank you card and wonder if it ever made it out all day. I’ll worry about being judged or have people think that I didn’t appreciate them because I forgot proper etiquette. I’ll worry all day about my child at school, who just now had a moment of hysteria about going to school. Because today, like yesterday, I have failed. Even if I didn’t really fail, I failed. If you know a mom, she probably feels like she failed today to. Let them know that they didn’t. They need to hear it more than you think.