I often visit with my friends about the journey of womanhood. Where we’ve been, where we are and how we’ve arrived at some of the places in our lives. A common denominator is the sting of overwhelm that most of us have felt, but usually don’t talk about. As women, we are challenged with the heroines of our childhood, both fictional and non-fictional, who’ve made it look easy. They swoop down in their beautifully fitted body suits, brightly colored capes and high heeled boots, with every hair in place and their makeup unflawed, as they tackle the villains of the day and fight the obstacles that attempt to stand in their path along the way. It’s an amazing scene, but one that I have not been able to live up to after many years of trying!
When I think about the things that pull me into lulls of lack, I am failing to recognize that I’m there because I miss the realization of what it took to make it to that place. Let me explain; when I was a young new mommy working my way through the day to day tests of motherhood, my daughter would sometimes have these massive diaper explosions, where remnants of the disaster would ooze onto her usually soft pink or pastel colored outfit. I remember the feeling of utter disbelief as her small face would look up at me as if to ask “what now, Mommy?” Along with the second expression of the same question peering from my husbands’ eyeglass covered, brow raised gaze. The truth is, I waited for my out of body experience, where I would watch in amazement as this quintessential version of me would rise up confidently without pause, and save the day with her super fast diaper changing skills and extra outfit (that of course she had tucked away for emergencies) in hand, scoop up my precious baby girl, rush off to the ladies room and return moments later as if she’d just stepped away to powder her nose. This never happened. I quickly realized that my fantasy would never be my reality. That my out of body experience was a dream that would be put on pause until after the other six hundred and fifty two things were completed – or at least attempted – so that I could retreat to my bed for a few hours of sleep and continue the adventures of the woman that I wanted to snatch my body.
What I didn’t recognize was the outstanding job that I had done to make it to that point of the day. The fact that I’d actually made it out of the house with my little person while not forgetting the other necessities for the outing. She was clean, prior to the explosion, and so was I! We’d actually accomplished a great feat to make it out of our house and that simply was enough. But in that moment, I couldn’t see any victories.
After four decades of living, with nearly two of those spent as a wife and a mother trying to measure up to the wonder women of life, I have finally found my own recipe for seeing success in myself!
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up! I am not perfect and it’s not personal, even if it is. I don’t set out each day to make myself look bad, perform mediocre or fall short in my day to day tasks. My plan is always to get what I have to do done, but sometimes things are tossed my way that throw me off. It’s not personal if I forget to do something – it’s a reminder that I’m not perfect and that’s ok, because I will always do my best.
- You Can’t Un-Everything! I don’t intentionally hurt people, break things, etc. For example, I backed my car into my husband’s parked car on Valentine’s Day this year. BIG OOPS! So, as I sat in my car wondering how on earth I would share this bit of bad news with him, a good friend of mine called me. In my state of panic, she said five beautiful words to me…Well, you can’t un-hit it! That changed everything – except the fact that both our cars had to be repaired. I’ve since applied this to just about everything in my life. There will be things – lots of things that you can’t undo. The conversations that follow those inabilities to undo may be difficult, but I choose to believe it will be ok.
- Life Can Be Hard, So Celebrate Often! I have a To Do list that runs miles long, and my husband keeps one that always requires a litany of items for me, as well. Additionally, I am tasked with keeping up with our household, my businesses, projects for my family and community and so much more that sometimes it weighs on me. Some days are just hard, so I choose to celebrate small victories. I love a party, and although I have very little rhythm and no knowledge of new moves, I love to dance. What that means is that you might walk in on my celebrating anything with an attempt at a dance I’ve seen my kids do – and it might be ugly, but I own it and it makes me laugh through the rough times.
In those moments of defeat, when you compare your efforts, your wins and yourself (because I know you will) to those of the heroines, both fiction and non-fiction, who swoop down and save the days for their families, I want you to think back to the scene where you wonder if they will really make it out of this situation. Remember the look of loss of their faces, the debris that is flying around them and the walls that are crumbling on top of them. Don’t forget that they, too, have moments of defeat; then they figure it out and they rise up for the win. And what about the details after the victory, who cleans up the mess?
Girlfriend, you’ve got this!