A few months ago I was talking to a friend of mine. She said this to me:
“You just always seem like you’ve got it together.”
And then today a co-worker said the exact same thing.
I am beyond befuddlement. I do not know who they see. So let me set the record straight.
No. I. Don’t.
Every single day is a monumental struggle. Last night, for example, Michael made dinner early because sports make life impossible, and then had gone outside to put something something fluid something something necessary something something vehicle, leaving the children with my portion of the dinner. When I walked through the door 20 minutes later, they had obviously eaten it. And then the deprived ones cried of extreme hunger pangs less than an hour later while I was trying to eat my off-brand Cinnamon Life sitting on the toilet overseeing bath time while another complained about homework requirements for a solid hour.
This is my life. NOT together.
Every morning I intend, set my alarm for, and plan to wake up 45 minutes before the rest of the family to have my devotions and quiet time. Every morning, I program my alarm to say things like, “You need to wash your hair today. GET UP!”, or “You have to pack for your trip to Kentucky, GET UP!!”, or “Nolan has a math test and needs extra protein at breakfast, GET UP and make him an egg!!” Every morning, the coffee maker is programmed to fill the air with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee by 5:30 am. And lately, every morning, I tell the alarm to stop it. And I snooze my way through the 45 minutes of quiet that I desperately needed before the day begins.
And then it does.
Waking up is not only hard on me. Every morning Zachary claims that he has woken up both blind and lame and is unable to proceed with any task. He dramatically army crawls up the stairs, lays prostrate at the top, and waits for mercy from a parent. Josiah lectures us about not having put him to bed early enough the evening prior. And Nolan begins each day with a proposal to restructure the education system to suit his personal needs. Michael and I have an unspoken agreement not to speak before at least a half cup of coffee. We typically stumble towards each other and acknowledge that the day has begun with an armless embrace.
The flurry ensues and though we have been technically awake for 2 solid hours, we are ALWAYS rushed to get out the door. And IF we manage to get out the door without forgetting the reading book that was last read ‘while I was jumping on the trampoline’, it is always later than I had originally intended. Then, while dropping them off, I am writing a check for a fundraiser/school lunch/field trip/school picture that I didn’t order but they sent anyway and that my son cut out and framed before I could tell them I didn’t want their manipulative forty-five dollar ‘proof set’ thank you very much/school carnival. At this point, I typically spill coffee somewhere because I can’t drive, put on makeup, write checks, and manage the coffee simultaneously.
And my whole life smells like a wet soccer cleat. It’s all the vehicles, the closets, the bathrooms, everywhere. There is this demonic spongy layer between the inner and outer lining of the cleat that absorbs sweat and dew and makes a mixture of death that hovers and spreads and lasts. I’ve tried to kill it with every Pinterest plan there is. NO. It is the devil himself manifest in an odor. And if your Pinterest plan worked, it’s because you are desensitized. My nose is my superpower and THE SMELL PERSISTS.
We recently had family pictures made. I have posted them on social media.
We look like we have it together, don’t we? BUT LET ME BE CLEAR. Behind every single perfect family photo is an argument about adjustable waist corduroy pants. And underwear. And smiling. And all the things that make family pictures family pictures. Remember, we post the HIGHLIGHTS.
No, I don’t have it all together. And I regret projecting that I do. Because moms, let’s stop looking around and finding our faults in other peoples’ momentary glimpses of perceived perfection. Her perfect pig-tailed daughter probably eats her boogers when no one is looking, and her son does not enjoy the Ralph Lauren seersucker shorts with argyle socks…no matter what the picture projects. He doesn’t. She gave him candy to keep him from tantruming in public. I know because I have put my kids in that stuff. And they looked great…
The only thing I have together is a group of girlfriends that really know me and tell me to hang the cleats out the car window, forge the homework packet, and let him go commando to relieve myself of at least one argument. It’s my fellow soldiers in the trenches that keep it real with me. Next time you see her, and are wondering about how she has it ‘all together’, ask her to have a cup of coffee with you. I bet she tells you about her struggles. I bet she is grateful someone asked. I bet you find a friend and start to bear one another’s burdens. And perhaps you will live out the incredibly cheesy, although true, cliché…
We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.