We are in uncharted and choppy waters these days. There is no normal and nearly every routine we all held dear has been flipped on its head. It is certainly wild but as I have shared before, I’m stubborn in my commitment to make it wonderful.
As we look to social media as a core means of staying connected during our social-distancing times, we run the risk of seeing every post or tweet as an indictment about all that we are not. At times, these posts prompt a negative script within our mind that is unkind and unfair.
It is so easy to scan social media and wonder why everyone else is getting it right when you can’t seem to catch your breath. Especially now, we can see the homeschooling successes of other parents and wonder why it is coming natural to them, when you feel stuck on a repeating loop of frustration, with no end in sight. Just like you, they are messy too. And just like you, I’m messy too.
None of us have it entirely together. We may in moments, for a few hours, or even for one day but remember, each of us has to constantly adapt and work to overcome the challenges of today.
Rather than bemoaning how curated social media is I think it is time to celebrate the happy moments of someone else’s life as a reminder to each of us that there is still so much good. I love seeing how other moms are making it work and am appreciative of the tips and suggestions I collect from looking at what they are up to. Recently, I also loved learning that a #ZoomMullet is a “thing” and I’m not the only one wearing a button up shirt with my sweatpants, while on video-based calls for work. We can find support, solidarity and encouragement through our perspective of social media. We are not alone.
However, I also challenge each of us to find ways to share authentically about the challenges and struggles. I have found honest support and safe places to share with other moms, through posting about my day to Instagram stories. It is really helpful when I hear that other people feel ill equipped and overwhelmed because I am reminded this is not just me — we are all messy.
Rather than feeling like a big, gnarly, nasty mess I encourage you to see yourself as a lovely little mess. Just messy enough to be real but not a complete and utter failure. Each day that you wake up and try again, you are showing your resiliency and commitment to make it work. These days we need extra grace and patience with each other, but most importantly with ourselves.
Reflecting on the past week, day by day, it is clear it was a rollercoaster of emotion and varying degrees of at-home success for us.
Monday the dreary day made me feel generally down, for no other reason. I worked from our couch and drank extra coffee while the kids had free play. The sun came out after lunch and my emotional fog lifted too — thankful that within the same day I could welcome in a fresh start.
Tuesday we had major home school successes in the morning and then in the afternoon my work life got really busy and I struggled to be present — at one point I was down in our basement giving a media interview over Zoom. We celebrated my daughter’s 8th birthday and it was really special! I made a cake that was covered in a ridiculous amount of sprinkles and although not Pinterest perfect, she genuinely loved it.
Wednesday we were all really tired and went through the motions. Nothing was wrong but we were for sure in a “blah” place. The kids got more TV time then I would have liked but — we survived the day, right?
Thursday when the sun came up my little guy proclaimed, “Mommy, come look! The sky is on fire!” The day was awesome all the way around too! The weather was beautiful. The kids played so nice together. I hit a work stride and built in time to teach too. It was the first work from home day I felt fully energized and in a rhythm rather than scrambling to make it all work.
Friday I started the day working on a table adorned with pretty purple weeds in a cup of water — Harper lovingly picked these “midnight flowers” for me and they are absolutely perfect. I’ve noticed that the little things are increasingly becoming the big things. A work emergency popped up and I had to shift quickly into a deeply focused place to meet a demanding deadline — as a team we got it done!
Reflecting on two full weeks of work-from-home and homeschooling. I feel thankful, peaceful, and willing to keep pushing to make this work. I am committed to being honest about our challenges and messes, some of which are very literal as I gaze over our cluttered kitchen table. I also feel committed to owning all that is lovely in our days.
Embrace your lovely little messes.
It is not all good — nor is it all bad. Be willing to accept that things are complicated these days. Be bold in your commitment to honestly share the messy but also proudly claim the successes along the way. Help us stay all stay authentically connected by sharing your joys and successes — with a little bit of mess on the side.