“Don’t compare yourself with others, you are doing fine…”

Dear Sis,

I know that you see me posting pictures of my home cooked meals, perfectly packed kids lunches for my kids, (pre-quarantine) and snippets of a clean and put together home. Let me tell you; that is not how my real life looks like everyday. Some of you have asked me how I do it all and make it look easy. The answer to that question is – I don’t do it all, I’m not always put together and I don’t know it all. The truth is, some nights I’m too tired to even lift a finger after a long day of work, trying to be present with kids, catching up with some chores – I end up ordering pizza for dinner and I even let my kids have fizzy drinks with dinner because I’m too tired to argue with them over why they shouldn’t have fizzy drinks at dinner, I just let them be out of sheer exhaustion. Some days I have piles of laundry that needs to be folded and put away and it takes me days, sometimes weeks before I get to put it away. The truth is my life can be very unorganized, albeit a beautiful mess, if you may.

Why am I sharing this with you? You see, I see so much of my younger self in you, a young wife and or mother who looked around at other wives and mothers around her and felt inadequate. I was that young wife and mom that put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to be like the other moms I saw and observed thinking they had it all together. I cannot tell you how many times I would go home after several play dates with my kids when they were younger feeling like I had to change so many things about myself, my home, and how I parented. I would feel sorry for myself thinking I was a lousy mom who would never measure up to the other moms I encountered. How and why were they so organized and put together and I wasn’t, I’d ask myself? I would listen to their stories of how they made their own baby food, how they read every single night to their kids, how they had this routine and that routine and I’d be like man! Where do they get the time, let alone the energy to do all that AND with such grace and consistency?

What I didn’t realize then, was that these women that I looked at with so much wife and mom envy had their own struggles and battles they were dealing with about the very same insecurities I had and more. In spending more time with these women and in getting to know each other, by being vulnerable with each other; we would reluctantly begin to share our struggles in dribs and drabs about our fears and insecurities as fellow wives and moms.

It occurred to me then that no one has it all together. It was a great relief to know that I was in good company after all, that the very things I worried about, these women worried about too – we were all just trying to be half decent moms. If anyone had told me prior to this time that these women I looked up to had struggles like mine, I would have never believed it based on my casual and initial shallow encounters with them. It wasn’t until we all let our guards down when we learnt that we were all just young wives and mothers who were trying our best to raise our kids well, and to the best of our knowledge of what we thought motherhood was supposed to be like. Coming to that understanding took a lot of pressure off me.

If you learn one thing from this post let it be this: find wife/mom friends that can be real and vulnerable with you and vice versa. You need honest and open women in your life, women who will build you up by being real and truthful about their own struggles. Only then will you truly grow in your wife and or parenting journey. With my new found perspective, I opened myself up to learning from other women some things that I thought would work for myself, my kids and my household. I took what I thought would work for my family and I tailored it to suit mine and my family’s needs. Some things worked, others didn’t. I ultimately found; through a lot of trial and error and tweaking of ideas what worked best for me. I let go of the notion that I had to be and do things in the same way as Amy/Sylvia/Tari.

I steadily figured out routines, traditions, meals and many other things on my own, drawing inspiration from the women around me but without feeling the pressure to be like them. Please don’t ever feel pressured to be or to do things like me or anyone else. Be inspired by all means but understand that you have your own journey to tow, what works for me might not work for you and your household.

Pay attention to the needs of your family and find solutions and ways based on them and not on anything or anyone else. Keep in mind too, that pictures only tell a very small part of people’s life stories and they’re just that, pictures, not every day reality. I don’t have it all together and honestly, I don’t think anyone does. We are all just winging it and trying to give this wife/mom life our best shot and sometimes we nail it while other times we totally miss the target and that’s totally okay too. It’s all part of the journey of being a wife, a mother, a parent. Relax, embrace, take in, and be present along the ride with your family – make the most of what you have and aspire to live YOUR best mom/wife life.

With Love,

Trudy M.