I used to have this nightmare when I was a kid.
I am in my room and a Sesame Street record is playing. (Yes we had records back then.) It’s an ordinary fun day and I’m happily playing when suddenly Bert and Ernie start singing faster and faster until I begin to panic. I cover my ears and scream. Usually about that time I awake in my bed screaming and my mother is standing over me trying to figure out why I am crying about Sesame Street at 3:00 in the morning.
Lately that nightmare has taken hold of my current life, except now Bert and Ernie aren’t singing. Balancing work, home and family has become a standard cultural icon in our modern society. So many of us are trying to keep up with the image of a perfect parent and maintain a professional career, that countless articles and self help books have been dedicated to the topic. I find myself in this same trap and while I can see how insane it is at times from an outside perspective, it’s a continuous merry-go-round and I just don’t know how to get off. On a good day, I get everyone where they need to be (including me) and I feel like I accomplished something. However, many days things do not go as planned and I feel like I’m getting by at best. Trying to measure up to my standard is tough. I want to have a clean house and be organized. I want to have my laundry done and folded and exercise my dog often enough that he is pleasantly tired at the end of the day. I want to be the volunteer mom at school field trips and the employee you can count on when you need her most.
More importantly, I want to be a good person—the friend you can turn to when you need one and the mom you can talk to when something is bothering you.
At days end, sometimes I replay all those moments, good and bad. I cringe at the memory of me yelling because we were running late to school and wince at the thought that I didn’t get the dog walked. The dishes that need to be put away mock my ineptness and the unopened bills laying on the dining room table threaten my sleep. It’s nights like those that I hang my head and wonder if I can turn myself from the inside out and display the person that I am aiming to be. But then maybe it’s okay that even in moments when I don’t quite make it, the effort will mean something. I’m not perfect but my intent is love. Tomorrow is another day and I will do my best to not yell. I will put away the dishes and pay those bills—at least some of them, for now. I will find time for yoga and I won’t be late for work. I will be available to all and I will balance everything without losing sight of the important things. Maybe.
Yes, I am a hot mess. Please don’t judge.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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