I want to let you know that I know you are tired. Tired of the weight you carry, the weight that feels like it will never be lifted. The weight you carry with you daily (and no, I’m not talking about your physical weight, although I’m sure you worry about that, too). I’m talking about the weight you carry in your heart that comes from the need to feel like you’ve got this and the fear that you really don’t. I also know that you are probably tired of not feeling appreciated, and of feeling like you are being taken for granted.
I know you take care of most, if not all, of the everyday household responsibilities that need to be accomplished daily. I know sometimes you feel lost in a never ending cycle of feeding, changing diapers/clothes, bathing, playing, pretending, washing, drying, folding, cleaning, and the rest of the mindless crap from which there is no escape. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and try and take care of yourself, would you? You’re looking a little haggard.
I know you feel the pressure. Oh, the endless pressure. The pressure to be all, do it all, know it all, and have it all put together. We’re supposed to have a clean house, well-dressed children, well behaved children, and dinner on the table at 7. Oh, and be dressed and showered, and it would be nice if you could throw on some makeup once in a while.
The pressure to lose the weight, to stop getting frustrated with your kids, and to have a magical assortment of memorized recipes that are healthy and delicious. It comes from many places. Looking at Facebook and comparing ourselves, seeing moms on TV or in movies, browsing Pinterest and the hundreds of things we “should” be doing, or hearing it from our own mothers or friends. The worst part is that this pressure mostly comes from us. We do it to ourselves. We have created this image of a woman we are supposed to be who has all her stuff together, is organized, a fabulous cook, a stellar housecleaner, who is in shape, and still manages to take care of her beautiful, perfect kids, all while being a fantastic wife and a beast in the bedroom.
Newsflash: That woman doesn’t exist. She can’t exist, she would die of exhaustion. We have so many unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We manage an entire household daily, but if we forget one thing? Suddenly we feel like failures.
It needs to stop. Really. Since when is success tied to how clean your house is? And why the hell has everything turned into such a competition? Last time I checked there were no blue ribbons being handed out for Mom of The Year. Or for Mom Who Gets The Most Accomplished In A Day. You know why? Because no one cares. It doesn’t matter.
I want to tell you right now, stop thinking that you have to have it all together. Because no one has it all together. Not even when it looks like it on Facebook.
Being a mom can be oh, so thankless. You’re a mom, isn’t that your job? Isn’t this what you wanted?! And the guilt you feel from sometimes hating it is overwhelming. Not to mention shameful. How dare you complain when motherhood is supposed to be so glorious. Don’t you know how fast it goes? Don’t you know you’re supposed to cherish every moment?
Other people have a hard time understanding – surely it can’t be that bad, after all, you’re married to a pilot! If only they knew how much more chaotic that makes it. The shifting schedule, the juggling, the wanting 5 damn minutes to yourself. But it’s just you. There is no replacement, no handing off to Dad. You are a part time single mom, but you’re just gonna have to deal with that, mmmkay? No one wants to hear you complain.
Oh, you just made dinner and your toddler puked everywhere? No biggie, you’ll get it cleaned. Your baby was up all night and you have to work in the morning? See you at 8. Your toddler got hurt and you have to take him to the hospital by yourself? It’ll be fine.
But it’s not fine. And that is okay. It is okay, dammit. It is okay to feel like you’re going to lose it, it is okay to feel like you have too much on your plate, and it is okay to feel imperfect. Imperfect means you are trying. It does not mean you are failing.
It is ok if you don’t have a spotless house, or a perfect body, or perfect kids, or perfect anything! We have to stop the madness. Or we will go insane chasing this illusion of happiness that only exists with perfection.
I am telling you that perfect has a new definition, my friend. It’s called good enough.
It is good enough that you managed to get the kids fed and dressed (and off to school, if they’re old enough) and they are content. It is good enough that you showered today, or if you didn’t, that’s fine too. It is good enough if you managed to get out of bed and care about your family enough to put together anything edible, because a few frozen dinners or microwaved meals never killed anyone.
You are good enough. Just the way you are.
And I don’t care what anyone says, if your house is still standing and your kids are alive and healthy, and you managed to get through the week – then you have my respect. You are my hero. You are a goddamn gladiator.
And you are your kids’ hero, too. You think they care about a clean house? Do you think they care if you’re in sweats with your hair up?
Not one bit. I am every bit as fun without a drop of makeup on the floor playing games with my kids as I am all dressed up to go out. I am every single bit as beautiful with 5 or 10 or 20 extra pounds on my hips as I am when I’m skinny. And so are you. My kids don’t give a crap how much I weigh. The only weight they care about is the weight of my arms around them.
They just want to be loved. That’s it.
Do you love your kids? Of course you do. Do you show them? Of course you do. Then you are perfect. Because you do all the stuff you don’t want to do anyway, even when you don’t feel like it. When things are shitty, you love your kids anyway. When you are exhausted and grumpy and PMSing and hating the fact that your husband is gone and wishing you were anywhere else, you love them anyway.
Do you have any idea how amazing that is??
I know you are exhausted, and underappreciated, and sometimes you want to give up. But I am telling you, every time you don’t quit, every time you get out of bed again, every time you manage to pull off another day, you are stronger than what you are going through.
I want to thank you for not giving up. I want to tell you that I appreciate so much that you are hanging in there and not making me feel so alone. I want to tell you that you are beautiful and courageous for putting up with the daily crap that comes with being pilot’s wife and mom of kids. And you are doing a damn good job.
You need to know that what you do is important. Loving your kids is the best gift you could ever give them. Embrace the chaos, cut yourself some slack, and realize that just by trying, you are good enough.
And that is perfection.
The Flight Wife