The "Ugly" Truth

So, lifestyle blogs. The place where we are guaranteed to find radiating photos (taken on a DSLR camera, no less) of perfectly dressed children and their mothers (decked head to toe in overpriced, brand name clothing) working on a DIY project, laughing as they eat organic rhubarb (grown in their own garden — gotta' keep the farm-to-table trend alive and well!) cupcakes infused with lavender that were made hours earlier in their Pinterest-inspired kitchen on a reclaimed wood table (from Restoration Hardware or some other fantastically obscure designer based in Brooklyn). Give or take some of these descriptions to fit with the geographic location of the blog, and there you have the classic world of lifestyle blogging and the happiness it perpetuates.
I am absolutely no exception to this epidemic of showcasing our very best self, and I don't plan on stopping. (Did you see the cake I made in my last post? I'm practically H.H. Martha Stewart with that junk!) I am simply here today to share the un-staged sidelines of this blog, because life isn't constantly a platter brimming with a gingerly frosted cake topped with sprinkles (although my life is filled with a consistent supply of sugary treats of some sort because I firmly believe in eating my feelings).
What I generally share on this blog is a very small sliver of our life, and I'd be a big, fat liar if I said I didn't put a great deal of effort into creating a specific aesthetic and image that I want portrayed. (We bloggers would make for a mighty fine sociology study, don't you think?) So, here I am putting on blast the "ugly" parts of life as lifestyle blogging has conditioned me to think, when in reality this is just normal.
Couldn't tell you the last time I organized this shelf even if I tried. This is where all of our bills, paperwork and random stuff I don't know what to do with goes to die. (I am pretty sure there may be dead bugs inside that paisley box. I do live with all boys, you know . . . )
This dirty laundry has been piling up for a solid week now, and it will probably remain that way for another day . . . or three. Maybe even five if I'm feeling extra unruly.
And here is our clean laundry . . . What was that? It looks about the same? Thank you for noticing! I worked extra hard on it. I call it my "DIY Organization Hack" which fits right up there with my meticulously color-coded filing system as outlined above.
This picture doesn't do the crumbs and general filthiness on our counter the justice it deserves. Actually, the more I stare at this picture, the more I realize this is rather sorta' clean looking. Those dishes have been sitting in the sink for two days and that sandwich stands as a symbol of toddler rebellion in refusal to eat real food. Luke has eaten three bowls of Rice Chex today (with cow's milk that probably has been treated with hormones because I bought it at the Smart N' Final across the street because I can't muster the energy to drive to Trader Joe's . . . gasp!) and nothing else because I am too tired to argue with a 2-year-old that he needs to eat his vegetables and whole grains.
If you were to look reaaallly close, you'd see lots of dirt and crumbs that probably migrated from the aforementioned kitchen counters onto the rug. Those are regular old plastic toys that use batteries (another gasp!). It's not all expensive wooden toys and a playroom that envies that of a Swedish interior designer's nursery. And yes, Luke is still in his pajamas at 2 pm, and we have no intentions of getting out of them at this point in the day. Better luck tomorrow?
You know all those Instagram photos and blog projects I post with a lovely white backdrop in an attempt to make them look beautifully staged? They are all taken on this table, which just so happens to have grimy toe smudges and banana goo all over the bottom and edges.
Yep, I'm still in my pajamas, too, which consists of one of my husband's ragged tees and no pants. Complete with milk stains, snot and unknown bodily fluid I'd probably prefer to keep a mystery. No post-processing here, folks. This is me in my full glory with no makeup, under-eye bags, pimples and dirty, rooty hair. Oh, and that little green string in the bottom right corner? That's desperation in the form of a tied string on the bathroom doorknob to Luke's doorknob to keep him in his room because he refused to take a nap and we'd been battling all day, going back and forth with him opening his door and me barking orders in my best Napoleon-esque French accent to "get back in ze bed!" It's one of those days.
And while I was taking the above picture, I thought I'd add in this lovely bathroom mirror that hasn't been cleaned for about a week. And that concludes today's photo tour of our life.
I fear that in an effort to throw a little sunshine out into the world by means of sharing the cheery, creative parts of our lives, there is this stark backlash of inadequacy and exclusion creeping in and robbing our self-esteem as fellow mothers and women from all different walks of life.
I can just see the comments playing through my mind half the time as I read blogs and scroll through Instagram accounts, and I am betting you probably do the same . . . "Wow, her house is so perfectly organized and decorated, and mine looks like a daycare threw a rager. And man, is that thing from (insert various designer household appliances and furniture)?! Must be nice to have a wildly disposable income. Is that mother of five wearing heels?! Psshhh, puh-leaze! That girl is trippin'!" (Worst joke, EVER . . . )
I am writing these phrases from experience and as I read them back to myself, I would like to give myself a swift slap in the face! How and why do I let myself sink to those unhealthy, materialistic levels? It's toxic and downright shameful, honestly. Is all that crap really that important? Answer: NO.
As I stand here on my hypocritical soapbox, I am not intending to demean or belittle the beautiful lives that people in blogland choose to share. I simply want to inspire and empower my fellow women, and let them know that it's okay to be imperfect. Trivial and mundane things, such as unorganized cupboards, messy floors, pimples, and the contents of our closets and living rooms, to the very real and emotional things such as relationship struggles, physical and mental health issues, addictions, and labels based on socioeconomic status and race should not define us and be a gauge of our self worth. Nobody, I repeat, nobody is perfect, and we are certainly fools to compare ourselves to other people and believe that their lives come with no "ugly." After all, as our beloved Pinterest ironically says in sleek and whimsical typography, comparison is the thief of joy.
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