We Will Never Be Perfect, but We Can Be Real

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"You're making me look bad in front of my husband; he's going to wonder why I need his help all the time." A friend of mine smiled sweetly at me as I loaded my four kids into the our mega van. They had all followed me out the door with their backpacks, full water cups, and in a line, even. I'm not sure how that even happened. "Trust me, this doesn't always happen." She smiled, but I wondered if in that moment she actually believed what I said as I shuffled my 5, 4, 2, and 3-week-old children into their car seats and cranked the air conditioning. It's already 100 degrees here. It's disgusting and the sweat began beading down my face the instant I closed the doors.

Down the road five minutes and the Toolman has to pee. For the billionth time that day. My oldest wants to know why I won't buy him In-N-Out Burger (even though he literally just finished a burger at the playdate right before that) and proceeds to pester the life out of me with question after question about eating out. Whenever we stop the car, the baby starts crying. My little princess and the Toolman sit next to each other and take turns screaming at the top of their lings and laughing hysterically. The heat is unbearable and my head starts pounding. Crash loudly complains that he is freezing. We still have errands to run.

The thing is, neither one of these sums up what my life is. We are not a perfect family all in a row; we are not total chaos. No one is. However, when you see the perfect moments in someone else's life, it's hard to not say, "Why isn't my life like that?"

I have a friend who has 10 kids. They are amazing. The girls wear beautiful dresses and the older boys are well spoken and polite. They love God and have been foster/adoptive parents for awhile. I tend to see their family and think, "Why do I struggle with 2 foster kids? What's wrong with me?"

I have a friend who ran a daycare for a long time out of her home. Her son is well spoken and smart; if I had to guess, I'd say he is more advanced than my son in school. I have the tendency to look at their family and say, "Am I not teaching my son enough? Maybe I'm not a good enough teacher. Why don't I have the patience with my kids sometimes but my friend can have the patience to run a daycare? What's wrong with me?"

I have a friend who is a foster parent who will talk about her insane experiences with CPS with a smile on her face. When I talk to her I sometimes wonder, "Will I ever feel like laughing about all of this? Why am I so angry at these people and I can't shake it off? What's wrong with me?"

It goes on... the friend with the amazing wardrobe who always seems so well put together, the friend who homeschools six kids, the friend who started her own business, the friend who is going to school and raising her little ones (who are amazing!). They are all superwomen to me. The lie is that their lives are perfect and that I can't measure up. That's not God though; God doesn't tell me I'm not good enough over and over again. It's about remembering how much He loves me and is perfecting me; those other things that bring me down are not of Him.

I just got done reading Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson. It's so good. He is all about being real. Not holding yourself to an insane standard. Not getting on Facebook, or picking up a magazine, or going to church and thinking you are just not good enough because these other families are perfect. That's not real (as he says over and over).

So I'm going to be real: When you see my latest quilting project on Facebook, know that it was probably completed five minutes at a time, and when I was in project mode my kitchen was a disaster and my kids ate cereal and frozen fish sticks that day. That's real.

When you see an amazing photo where all my kids are smiling, it's one in a hundred photos of blurred faces and someone getting poked in the eye ball or crying. That's real.

When we all make it to church with smiles on our faces and dressed nice, it's because we've been up for three hours already, we probably had multiple outfit changes on the way out, someone is unhappy about the toy they got to bring or their shoes, and I will spend much of service in the back room, straining to hear the message, nursing my baby, and trying to wrangle my two-year-old. That's real.


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