I am going to just go ahead and say it... I suck at life sometimes. Of course I could list the personal failures in my life, such as: a tanked marriage, train wreck relationships, career goals taken a backseat to being a mother, collapsed fitness goals... I have failed at it all and yet, here I am, still standing, still trying and still handling it all day by day.
Being a parent means failing at something daily. We don't like to admit it, but I am just putting it all out there. I fail at parenting ALL THE TIME. Burned the cookies, washed a red sock with the white laundry, packed the wrong stuff in the school bag, missed the bus...any of that sound familiar? Some days are better than others and some days are epic failures that take it all to another level. I have tried so hard for years to look and act like I have it all together. Most of my friends would look at me and say I can handle anything, but I can't. I mess up all the time. It isn't because I don't try. I do. I try really hard to have it all organized...except when I don't have it all organized and it all falls to shit. Being a single parent and having my son go between two houses means trying to balance it all and make it look easy. It's not. Most of the time I feel like one of those circus acts that spins those plates on the sticks and makes them all balance in the air...and then they fall and crash to the floor, breaking into a million pieces. I have the calendar, group texts, e-mails, newsletters, note from the teachers, Daddy's schedule, Step Mom's schedule, Grandma's schedule, a house to keep organized, a business and dreams I attempt to keep going, a dog to keep from neglecting and some fish that I'm surprised haven't ended up in a toilet funeral, making sure kiddos things gets from one house to the other and making sure that everyone is some version of happy all the time.
Are we over scheduled? NO! We don't do after school activities or extracurriculars. If we did I think I would feel like he wasn't getting enough family time between the two houses. So, there's fail number one. He isn't playing sports or going to piano lessons or learning Mandarin any time soon. Another fail? We barely ever make it to birthdays or playdates. All these parties are on the weekends. The weekends are difficult. I don't think people really understand that on the weekends we are doing our best to get time with the kiddo that is solely ours and uninterrupted. Is it selfish that we don't go to every single birthday party we are invited to? Yes. I want my time with him and I want his Dad to have time with him to be able to do the things we enjoy. Is it a complete fail on my part to make more time to do the parties and the playdate stuff? Yes. I am probably depriving him of having a full and active social life, but he's 4 and he has his whole life for that. These are the fails that we have chosen and as a family decided to NOT prescribe to the idea that we have to do everything that everyone else's family does all the time. Some fails are completely accidental and inevitable given the nature of our two-household-parenitng lifestyle. I have read an e-mail wrong, or missed a room meeting, or find an invitation lost in the SPAM folder or stuck to the back of a school project I have discarded into the pile of random drawing and workbook pages. No big deal, right? NO!! When this type of fail happens, the involuntary screw up, it devastates me. I don't know why. It's not like I missed anything so important in his life that he would be changed forever. It's the little things. But the little things are what kills me the most. It's those times when I just pull over into the parking lot and cry into my hands and think, "How am I supposed to do this for the rest of my life? I am awful at this. Why can't I just get it together?!" It's in those moments when I feel alone and overwhelmed and incompetent. Let me just say this: I am not alone. I have help. I am competent. That being said, the loneliness and inadequate feelings still linger there in my head and in my heart. It's just a fact. The reality of trying to keep it together for everyone all the time is that when I screw up, I feel it to my core. It's like a punch to the gut or a swift kick to the crotch.
Most of the time the guilt of failure is not because I am disappointed in myself, but in the fact that I don't want to let down everyone else who is counting on me. I am supposed to be the one who leads this family. I am supposed to be the one to be the HBIC, the captain, the ringleader and the lady boss. When it all goes wrong, I blame myself. It can be a very difficult place to dig myself out of sometimes, but it's reality. Confession: A lot of us are just deceiving the world when we put out this filtered, picture perfect image, when we know it's very rarely ever picture perfect. The difference is that I am learning to be OK with being the hot mess express sometimes.
I'm learning to be OK with sucking at life sometimes. I'm honest about it. I tell the people around me when I am feeling like a complete screw up. I am not the only mother on the planet that feels like a dipshit sometimes. I don't have to be perfect. I don't need to have it all together, or to even pretend like I know what it looks like to have it all together. I am learning that the mistakes that I make and being fallible is lesson I want my son to learn. Perfection is not real. I want him to be honest and be accepting of his greatness, as well as his faults. I know, I know...Its a process. We don't all just wakeup one day and say "F#%$ it! This is me, world!"
Real talk: I struggle with accepting myself everyday, but I have also learned to forgive myself. Without that forgiveness the weight of trying to be everything to everyone all the time would swallow me whole. Embracing who we are as complex people with likes and dislikes, skills and deficiencies, moments of superhero-like grandeur and times of absolutely soul-crushing embarrassment makes life a lot more interesting than the faux filtered Instagram worthy ideal of perfect we set ourselves up to believe in.