I have a confession to make. I suffer from envy- creeping up often and in varying degrees.
I envy working moms, stay at home moms with their immaculate houses, business attire, blogs that I could have written, photos that I wish I had taken, houses I can only dream of living in. I envy travellers and athletes and people who have a cause. I envy you your SUV and your outgoing personality and your healthy, scrumptious cooking skills.
But let me assure you too, that these bouts of envy come in flashes, often times wisps, that flutter and reincarnate into something far healthier. Admiration, pride and respect form instead. Ugly envy turning into enthusiastic learning from your greatness.
Recently a woman asked me “So what elaborate activities do you have planned for Spring Break? You always have something on the go.” Only it wasn’t said as a compliment, barely containing an eye roll as she asked.
At first I was really taken aback. You are going to knock me for having fun with my kids? But then I recognized the envy at work.
There is an article circulating the social network sites right now called ‘Your Children want YOU’ in which she talks about how us mothers are getting ourselves bogged down in all the things we are lacking. We pin all these perfect things on Pinterest, envious of all these perfect mothers, forgetting that one person posted her amazing craft but probably has a sink full of dishes and KFC for dinner. Another has the most amazing meal for her family, but who’s to say she didn’t have to battle the spoonfuls into her kids mouth. We are envying the ideal that we see, but not the reality that it was. Then we feel like failures when our attempts fall short of our own expectations.
I take my job as SAHM very seriously and plan fun adventures for my kids often. But never forget that along with the fun comes limited funds, stained carpets, mommy meltdowns and clothes piled on the spare room bed that will probably stay there until company decides to come.
When my own moments of envy arise, it serves me well to know that this is their thing. If it is not my thing, I need to just let it go. If it is, then learn something. If it’s something new that I want to try, then girl go try but do not expect perfection the first, second, third or even hundredth time! Better yet, ever.
Not one of us is perfect. Even the fun adventures with my kids are not perfect. The joys are bookended with some sort of tantrum, spill, or frustration undoubtedly.
But the joy is the thing.
Living in that joy, irrespective of the how, is where true greatness lies. We would all be well served to remember that.