Do any of you blog surf?? Sure you do, we all do it, but I find myself engrossed for hours reading other peoples' blogs.
One of the side effects of looking at blogs, I think, is that you start to feel this little, almost indescribable touch of wanting, having, doing that you didn't possess before.
Before I knew this whole other blogging world existed I was happy with my boring little simple self. That little touch of whatver it is...possibility...didn't nag at my soul. Sure, there was Martha Stewart, and Better Homes and Gardens, but those were just generic collections of paper with no name, no face, no reality. It was easy to say, "WHO really does that? or That only happens in a studio with good lighting and tons of creative design personnel."
But blogging you know...that's a whole different story.
Here's what I'm talking about:
I never had an overwhelming urge to can. My mom used to can and it brings back so many wonderful memories. A couple years ago I thought canning went the way of girdles and never gave it a second thought. And now I see all these really awesome blogging women canning food in these shiny beautiful jars, stacked in rows on beautiful pantry shelves, and it looks like such old-fashioned loveliness that I WANT TO DO IT TOO! (And I want a beautiful pantry shelf!) But do I really? It just feels like a huge undertaking...buying the jars and equipment...and would my kids really eat the stuff that I'd can? One more project. Still that little nagging at my heart. Maybe one day.
AND I want some really beautiful canvas prints of my children and our family in my house. How come I don't have those? EVERYONE has those except me! I used to be happy with my Walmart printed snapshot pictures framed in cheapy frames, but you've all upped the anty, haven't you? I WANT SOME.
WHY didn't I cloth diaper my kids? I want another baby just so I can cloth diaper him (her)? You all make it seem easy and the fabrics are so darn cute and it's so much better for their cute little bottoms. There's elastic thingys now, and velcro, where before it was just pieces of fabric and huge pins. NO FAIR! I missed my opportunity!
See, I can go on and on and on.
It can get more serious.
Look how much she loves and adores her husband! My husband BUGS me sometimes, especially when he forgets to put his clothes in the hamper every single time and also when he asks me where basic easy things are like pencils and screwdrivers, or when he sneezes so loud it makes me jump! I must be some sort of awful grouchy wife who can't love properly.
Look how much faith she has! I wish I could claim that for my own wallowing doubting heart. How much easier my life would be if I could just accept and get on with it, instead of this constant reading, wondering, debating.
Look how much work she puts into her children's education! I send my kids on some big yellow bus to learn and can hardly make it through 3 months of summer before I'm counting the days till a break. What aren't they learning that I don't know about? Why don't I have the patience...what's wrong with me?
And on and on and on and on.
I think everyone feels this way too, and it hits at some of those weak moments of your life when the doubt of being "good enough" creeps in.
But there is a whole other side to the story, where that little touch of wanting, having, doing actually makes you challenge yourself to your full potential, gives you some pretty darn good ideas that benefit you and your family, and also gives you a little reminder to do all the things you've ever wanted to do.
When I read someone like Stephanie Nielson and see the love and appreciation and closeness she has had with her husband for a decade, she motivates me to see the good...the long hours he spends at work to provide for us, the taking over of the bedtime ritual, the energy for fun, and remembering that us two are the reason all these kids happened in the first place, and overlook that darn bath mat. She brings out the positive, overlooks all that little crap. A good reminder.
When I see another mother excel at a hobby, maybe it's photography or sewing or cooking, I can challenge myself to find a hobby I love. I can remind myself that I deserve a little fun in life too. It doesn't ALL have to be folding laundry and sweeping the kitchen floor. It makes me over correct myself and find balance...knowing that I deserve to master something of my own too, and most of all that my children are watching and learning from me. Watching how I constantly learn and challenge myself, and practice to reach my potential.
If I can look at all this information I've let into my brain in the past couple years objectively, and not in a threatening, envious or "I'm not good enough way", comparing sort of way, I feel SO happy I've had the chance to grow. Comparing yourself, your life, your abilities, your talents, to someone else will never get you anywhere I don't think. As much as we are told to reach out, to look outside ourselves, sometimes I think looking inward is the answer too. Sometimes I've found that looking OUT, instead of paying attention to your own spirit, doesn't lead to anything but icky feelings. When I concentrate on me and my family and hold that in my upmost thoughts, what makes us grow, what makes us "good", I can filter all the outside stuff (SO much information we recieve today!) in a healthy way and use it or discard it. And sometimes if I'm in one of those moods, where I can't filter, it's better to pull back a little from all these sights, sounds and ideas, regroup, gain that sort of grounded, inner-core strength of knowing who I am and what I want for me and my marriage and my family.
As I've gotten older too, I've found that one thing is sure. NO family is perfect. NO mother is perfect. Everyone has their struggles. NO ONE is exempt from any or all and the sooner you know that the sooner you'll find a less bitter taste in that mouth of yours, I think. We all have days, months and years when we skate by on a clean, sweet breeze. And we all have days, months and years where we hit a brick wall and pray for salvation in any form. Sometimes those brick walls look like colicky babies, struggling children, annoyed spouses, and dirty filthy kitchen floors with no hope in sight, and sometimes a breezy day looks like some lined up peach preserves. Both are reminders to make the most of our potential by becoming the best of whoever we are each meant to be, to discover what we each consider important and meaningful, to learn and teach, to take from each other and give back, and to celebrate the journey of life along the way.