“How do you do it all?”
A friend asked me this at dinner a few weeks ago, and our conversation stuck with me like a magnet to a fridge.
In the moment, I was quick to respond with an “I don’t!”— perfectly timed and delivered for comedic effect.
I went on to explain to her that in order for me to succeed on any given day, something has to suffer.
There are days where this space of mine goes untouched. (Read: I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks). Others where my laundry piles high, I skip my workout, or the kids spend too much time in front of the tv. Some days I don’t respond to a single message on social media.
Every single day, something suffers.
I simply try and make sure that it isn’t the same thing suffering each day. And at the end of each week, I hope that I was able to give each thing equal amounts of attention— with the exception of my kids, who hopefully receive above and beyond what everything else did. PS: that unfortunately, isn’t always the case.
If there is a better way to do things, I haven’t found it yet. Maybe it’s just this season of motherhood. Maybe in the future I will be able to pursue all of my passions without a single stone going unturned on any given day.
But right now, this is where I sit. And after the conversation with my friend, I really wanted to express this. Because the downside to social media is that we hand select every corner you see. Even our worst day photos are the best version of our worst day— carefully angled and edited to draw the eyes in, so that you will stop and listen.
It’s smart, really. Because science has shown that most of you won’t stop scrolling long enough to even see our words unless we captivate your eyes first. But these images— 90% of them— are art. The photo I used for the main image on this post, is art. Damn good art. Brenda is amazing and knows how to make me look slightly less awkward than I am in real life— but it’s still art, none the less.
Think of it like watching a documentary. They show an overdramatization, a reenactment— because people respond to visual stories. Social media is the same thing. A carefully planned image of what is trying to be expressed has been created for you. It’s for your enjoyment. To encourage you. To inspire you. To make you think.
So next time you’re scrolling and feel you see nothing but posts from moms who have perfect kitchens, perfect outfits, perfectly lit photos of their children reading books quietly while they enjoy a cup of coffee that looks like it could still be hot (it’s not)— just remember that those images are not the now. They are art. Still frames used to speak to you. And they do, obviously. But I pray they aren’t whispering ideas of inadequacy to you. I hope that when you are on social media, you are not finding yourself plagued with jealously or comparison. Because they are art— not perfect depictions of reality.
I want you to know though, that this— is art too.
The unedited, unfiltered chaos of a mother’s living room.
The place where she tries to do it all by folding laundry while the kids watch tv, so that at least she can still engage with them and ask them questions.
The dimly lit, dirtiest corners of the home— the lived in ones. They are art.
With every crunch of a goldfish on the floor and spilt glass of milk, memories are being formed. Mental images. Art.
I know that one day I personally, will look back on photos like this one much more than the ones that have been deemed “postable” by our society.
So take heart, mamas.
Because the truth of the matter is, we don’t do it all. Don’t ever let those pretty pictures make you think any differently.
We all just simply, do our best. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it forever: Your best is enough, picture perfect or not.