When did chasing perfection become more important than meaningful connection?

When did the appearance of having it all together become more important than having a door that was always open?

Or the shift in priorities that has a child’s birthday go from cake, pop and chips, evolving into an entire house decked out in the latest trendy theme *toilet paper included*? 

How did having mom friends morph from community to competition as each insecure woman tries to give the other the illusion that they have it all together?

———–

Seriously, I consider this conundrum all the time. Every opportunity to have guests over suddenly becomes a torrent of tasks that need to be completed before they arrive and I am exhausted before the night’s begun. 

The worst part, I’m not alone.

I am not the only one who wonders what happened to doing life with other women, even if for the sheer joy of KNOWING that there were others knee deep in the struggle.

We work so hard to hide the areas of our lives that are less than perfect, opting to stuff it all away in a closet or a closed-door bedroom for fear that the truth may be exposed. We walk around with spaces no one is allowed into. Spaces that desperately need light. 

I’m not just talking about our homes ladies … and I know that you are catching my drift. 

I am talking about life. Real, nitty gritty, LIFE. 

Where stuff happens, things go wrong, we struggle and we yearn for someone to see the deep pain or the feeling of loneliness, and yet, when we get the opportunity to open the door we stuff all the dirt away. 

Swept under the rug, shoved under the couch, tossed carelessly on the bed with the door firmly shut. 

Hoping that no one will know that this Pin-perfect house, this shiny little life, is not the real-deal. 

EMBRACE YOUR COMMUNITY and say, “Welcome to our chaos” there’s a pretty good chance, they want to say, “Welcome to ours too”.

Check out her post here!

Amanda Harper

I’ve talked a few times about the stress of trying to appear as though everything is going well. 

The Pin-worthy photos that populate our Instagram accounts or the mushy love posts we toss up on Facebook. We are forever in this state of trying to PROOVE something. 

But what are we trying to PROOVE? 

And to WHOM? 

When did the appearance of having it all together become more important than having a door that was always open?

Call me a hopeless romantic when I consider what motherhood should be like. When I dream of the village of women who do life together, raise children together, mentor and comfort one another. Friendships forged in the furnace of motherhood. Bonds that create families not limited by bloodlines but by the intrinsic value of community.  

I never, in my life, pictured the frantic anxiety that overtakes me every time I have a guest on their way. 

Whether it was a planned encounter or – heaven forbid – they are just popping by, when I was younger I wouldn’t have considered the desperate need to have it all together. 

At some point mommas, we lost focus of life and started chasing the wind. We started placing heavier importance on appearances, on standards, on PERFECTION, and we lost what it means to connect

Somewhere along the line we dropped the standard of “good enough” and raised the bar such that “perfection” was the only aim and, without it, we were failing. 

Lost in a sea of how incompetent we are, surrounded by frustrations and the feeling that we aren’t living up to what makes us good mothers. 

Because, seriously, a clean house, laundry that never hits the clean clothes couch and instead ALWAYS goes from the washer to the dryer, ironed and directly in the drawers, and meals that look like they were prepared by Gordon Ramsey himself, THAT’S what it’s all about.

*VOMIT*

We’ve let this insidious lie take root in our hearts and it’s devastated our relationships, we are so afraid of not living up to a standard that doesn’t exist that we won’t let others IN. 

We would sooner hide away, surrounded by our shortcomings, threatened by the ever increasing number of dirty dishes that take over our counter space, suffocated by the toys that never seem to make their way into the perfectly coordinated baskets, overwhelmed that we haven’t always used the organic, 1000% natural soaps to clean our house, our clothes and our children. 

We hide because this idea is too much to bear. 

And, when we do gather the courage to let someone in, we only let them into the staged areas. The spaces we cleaned 15 minutes before they got there. The “good parts”. 

Even our conversations and our relations include only the palatable. 

Our marriages are golden … unless they are obviously not *then we bash*. Our children are next level geniuses – of course Timmy is reading at the age of 4, he can also solve world hunger if you give him a platform. And our sense of self, of how it is all going, GIRL, we are on top of the world. We are mom bosses, we are sex kittens, we are best friends with everyone at the church and we are HAPPY. 

But don’t look in the closet, don’t ask any real questions, don’t allow us to sit in silence until it becomes so awkward that one of us blurts out, “they HATE the way their second child pushes EVERY.SINGLE.BUTTON and they’ve wondered if shipping one child of five to boarding school would be frowned upon.” Don’t wait for $#!+ to get real. 

Real isn’t pretty, real isn’t easy. 

But REAL is just what we need to be.

Here I am. 

Cassandra. 

The nowhere CLOSE to Pin-perfect mom. 

If I ever post a picture of my house you can be SURE that I have taken about 3 or 4 minutes to push aside any evidence of my REALNESS. I’ve probably yelled at the children to stay out of the picture, unless the picture is supposed to feature them, and I have stressed over what unknown strangers will think of the job I am doing. 

Will they double tab it, like it or LOVE it, will they comment something like, “wow, it looks great, your house is lovely Cassandra.”

All the while, as I hope for some sort of affirmation from people who make no difference in my life, I am desperate for the mom friend, the friend-family that will roll up her sleeves and wash dishes with me. Who will get on her hands and knees to help my kids into their boots and coats when my hands are full, who will clean up my child’s vomit when I am too pregnant and sick to bend over and do it myself. 

Hey, I’m Cassandra and I want you to know that you’r real, the nitty gritty and not so clean parts of life, they are cool with me. 

They are welcome here. 

Let’s do REAL life together. Where we can confess, ask for prayer, where we can ask for advice or just for a helping hand when we have neglected our housework for far too long. 

Let’s be willing to show the cracks and corners to one another, to allow vulnerability and to BE vulnerable. To remember that some people are good at the housekeeping gig while others are better at the just let it be care-free lifestyle. 

Let’s rejoice in our differences, set aside the competition and the need to measure up, and let’s remember that this journey is not about walking it with our heads up, our houses immaculate and our ego ever expanding. 

No.

This journey is about refinement, about enriching one another’s lives by filling in the cracks, and by painting a beautiful picture of community that’s been carefully crafted by God Himself. 

He’s gifted us, or NOT gifted us, in ways that remind us we NEED one another and we NEED Him. He’s putting women into our lives that help us to balance this load and walk in grace, with hope. 

But those blessings, poured out abundantly for those who lay down their pride and perfection, they are only available when we adit that we are not Pin-perfect, that we accept REAL, and when we EMBRACE the help offered by our community. 

Friends are a wonderful thing, made even more amazing when we allow REAL to dominate our relationships. When we expose the closets, the bedrooms, the corners of our life that require additional prayer. 

So, hello. I am Cassandra and I am not a Pin-perfect mom and that’s OK. 

 

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