Yesterday was a cleaning day. Laundry, disgusting bathrooms, dusty furniture, grubby floors...all needing to be taken care of. I don't really mind cleaning. I just turn on some music and git 'er done. Actually, I do some of my best thinking whilst scrubbing a floor. Mindless endeavors are things like scrubbing, sorting, vacuuming and dusting, perfect for thinking through a problem or for singing at the top of your lungs--whichever makes you feel better. :) Apparently yesterday was a day of both for me. While I won't share the singing with you, I will share a couple of thoughts.
Guilt. We women are so very good at it. Those of us who happen to be both Christian and woman are absolute masters, having taken the concept of guilt to a whole new level. We feel guilt for a myriad of reasons, almost none of them good or constructive. Society tells us that we should strive for some ridiculously unattainable level of perfection. Just look at magazines, tv, websites, and books that are written for women. Seriously--what in the world? Apparently I am supposed to be skinny, run half marathons, make daily trips to the gym for workouts, have a career that is fulfilling and meaningful, have lots of mind-blowing sex with my husband, take care of the family finances and budget, plan healthy meals, make said meals from scratch, be responsible for my family's health, be sexy, be fashionable, be a perfect friend, a chef, and a taxi service for my children. In this fantasy world I have an organized, always tidy home that is peaceful and free of fights. I am never grumpy or filled with PMS-induced angst and I never, ever raise my voice at my children. I always pair the correct wine with the main course at dinner, am knowledgeable about all local microbreweries, and never have fines at my local library. I grow my own garden, shop exclusively at the Farmer's Market or Whole Foods, and my children always eat the perfect balance of green veggies and organic whole grains, with nary a Dorito or frozen dinner to be found. I make time every morning for prayer, meditation and quiet time. I give to the poor and help the needy, volunteering at the local food bank. I am adept at keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay. Oh, and most importantly....I never have a bad hair day.
Wow. It's a lot to take on and live up to. It is also a bunch of crap. Really. Perhaps I am the only woman who feels pressure to be something I can't be, but I don't think so. This has been on my mind since I wrote my last blog post. I never, ever want to make anyone feel less than, discouraged or overwhelmed. If you are trying to make healthy changes in your home, don't compare yourself to anyone else and don't expect to do everything perfectly. I certainly don't. We all live in the real world. It's expensive, busy, chaotic and messy. It's full of wrinkles and stretch marks, sagging body parts, hormone-induced pity parties, and evenings when all you have the energy to do is order a pizza for dinner.
We all need to stop the guilt. No, this doesn't mean we stop striving to do better or that we have to embrace mediocrity in all things. In my opinion, it's just about accepting who we are...and who we are not. It is about forgiving ourselves when we mess up, extending that same grace and forgiveness to those around us when they mess up, and hitting the restart button. After all, we are, most of us, just trying to do our best in this crazy, imperfect world. So smile, love the real you, and don't worry about the wrinkles. Make positive change happen where you can. Don't stress about the rest. I love all of you. Thanks soooo much for reading.:)