“Stacy is my organized one. Her house is spotless all the time” My mom bragged. Her friend looked at me and smiled. I froze.
“No, it’s not.” I quickly corrected.
My mom nodded. Her friend looked back and forth between us…my mom nodding, me shaking my head. “Is that a ‘yes, it really is’?” she asked my mom. “Yes” my mom said.
“No, it’s not” I said again. “After 5 children I’m pretty normal”. My mom continued to insist so I changed the subject.
But it bothered me. A lot. If you’ve been reading here for a while you know the journey I’ve been on with being real. The reality is that I am a normal mother of 5 children. Do I try to have a clean house? Yes. But our house goes through various stages of neat and messy several times a day. And every year we go through cycles of it being neat more often than not to it being cluttered all the time – until I finally cave and go through the house getting rid of excess stuff. Again. We’re normal. Hate to disappoint you but that’s the truth. 😉
My mom has not been in my home in almost 4 years (and even then it was a brief 2-3 hour visit). The reality is that she really has no idea what my house looks like day in and day out. So why the need to insist on perfection to her friend?
It got me thinking about how many times we may portray not only ourselves as being perfect – but also those around us. When we talk with people, how do we portray not only ourselves but our husbands, our children, even our friends? Do we portray them as perfect, and in so doing put pressure on them to live at that standard of perfection when it may not be healthy for them to do so? Do they feel like they’ve failed if they’re unable to be what we have caused others to think they are? How about the pressure it puts on those who hear us making such statements – friends, siblings etc. – who now feel the need to measure up to the “perfect one” and who struggle with not being able to? And when they fail, will they then fall into the trap of falsely portraying themselves and others in order cover the fact? What if we let not only ourselves be real, but also our children, our husbands, our friends. Then, and only then, will people really feel free to reach out for help when they need it and be able to genuinely encourage others along the way. Then, and only then, will people be free of the constant comparisons and be able to relax in who they are.
So much to think about. And change.
On a side note, even though I was frustrated with the comments, I was also encouraged to see the reaction in myself when the comment was made. In the past I would have just smiled and said nothing, secretly pleased that I would be seen that way. Instead there was a genuine horror within me at the falsehood. And I spoke up. It felt good to be real…to want to be real…to dare to be real.
So if you’ve wanted to change, but are hesitating, be encouraged. It IS possible! Dare to step out today and be real with those around you. Break the cycle of “pretend perfection”. It’s well worth it. For you, for your family, for your friends, for everyone around you. Remember:
When you’re real, you are reachable…
When you’re real, you can be trusted…
When you’re real, you can help others…
When you’re real, you can be you.