Real Life

On this new day the sun pours through our windows, greeting us upon our awakening with a joyful hello.

We slip on our woolen slippers to buffer our toes from the chill of the wood floors. The waning embers in the woodstove from the night before have gently settled. One by one the children gather in the kitchen to greet this new day together. My youngest follows me to the wood bin to help me load up the wood stove for the day. My daughter and eldest son gather up their wooden bowls and we all sit down to homemade granola and raw milk for our morning refreshment. We sit together in the quiet of the morning joined around the long wooden table and shaker chairs set up in front of the wood stove. Daddy lights our lantern, and fills Mason jars with fresh orange juice that was juiced the night before.

Found this on another blog yesterday, which will remain nameless. It is apparently meant to be a true account of any morning at the writer’s house.  Here’s a morning at our house. Not this morning, or even any particular morning, just a collection of morning realities:

After an argument about money the night before, I wake up feeling cold and tense. Toddler’s newly re-found night waking routine means we’re all exhausted. I change two poopy diapers before I can get into the kitchen to make coffee. Since she didn’t sleep well, the Toddler’s already whining. I finally get her settled in with some granola, me with my coffee, try to read a few blogs, to get my brain in order. The Babe (who rarely likes to be set down for more than 10 minutes, meaning I wear him most of the day) hates when I sit down, and immediately starts fidgeting and fussing. I feel at the end of my little rope already and it’s only 8 am. I silently curse him as I get up to bounce/walk/cajole him. All I want is just 20 minutes to get my shit together, is that so much to ask? Then I look down at his amazing tiny person and feel the dreaded, crushing mommy guilt. How could I resent this little gift. What an ingrate. What a horrible mother. I want to go lay in my bed and cry, pull the covers over my head, but there’s last night’s dishes attracting cockroaches in the sink, diapers to wash, babies to bounce, toddlers to take on outings so she can interact with other little people. I try buck up and get on with my day, but the world feels sour.

Sorry this isn’t funny. When I was young, I escaped my real life into a fantasy world of my future, much like the glowy one above. Still I am sometimes tempted to recount my life with a rose tint, to tell myself pretty stories. More often I fall for the equally escapist technique of cynical or ironic humor. Which is what y’all were expecting from this post. And I could have, even wanted to deliver.

But what I really want to do, with my writing, with my life, is lay bare the real stuff. We all feel so alone, especially us mamas, in our feelings of disillusionment, failure, inadequacy, loneliness. Everyone is so busy pretending to the world that their life is either perfect or hilarious, that then everyone thinks they’re the only one suffering the dark corners. It’s backwards and wrong, and makes everything harder. When you expect perfection, everything short of it feels like a failure.

Life and motherhood are full of beautiful, miraculous moments. Also some really hilarious ones. Also lots of shit, real and metaphorical.

We have to stop telling ourselves these are all mutually exclusive! It’s not just okay, but the absolute way of the world for all this occur in one life, in one day, in one hour sometimes. You don’t have to wipe away your resentment to love your kiddos. You don’t have to never fight about money to love your spouse. You don’t have to have a perfect life to have a good life. Let’s try to remind each other.