Friday, November 2, 2012

Stealing Joy

We have a lot of photos on our walls. Call it poor man's art. Or an arrogant belief that our kids are really, really good-looking. I love looking at their photos.

But the displays in no way resemble this amazing photo display from House of Smiths.

Or this lovely gallery display from Pottery Barn:
In fact, it looks like this:

Yes, Martha Stewart told me I needed to design a template on my floor first, to make sure the frames would fit and would be evenly spaced. But really, who has time for that? If those pictures were going to get on my wall, I needed to just get them up.

And most days, I'm pretty happy with the gallery. No, the portraits aren't color coordinated. Most come from The Picture People or the JCPenney studio, not professional photographers. But these are the people I love. And I love to look at them.

But then I get on Pinterest. Or into the blogosphere. And I see what a gallery wall should look like. And suddenly, that wall of love turns into a wall of shame.

And it's not just walls. I look at these blogs and my house feels shabby. Messy. Poor.

I console myself by remembering that most of these lifestyle bloggers don't have kids with autism.

Then I stumble onto the autism blogs. And those moms are making sensory tables. Doing serious advocacy work. Totally rocking the autism life.

So I remind myself that most of them don't have demanding, but low-paying full-time jobs.

But the damage is done. On its own, my life is pretty good. I have three awesome kids. A home that's still standing (which is pretty miraculous some days). A sweet gig in the career track I chose as a second grader. Money is a struggle, but we have enough to live on.

But then I compare my life to other people. They get to have vacations. Family pictures with smiling kids. Mornings that don't include poop smeared on walls. Time for workouts or 5-mile runs every day.

And it's even worse when I compare myself to other people. Women who are skinny. Moms who don't seem flustered. Career women who take everything in stride. Women with coordinated accessories and outfits.

But mostly I compare myself to other moms. Those who are doing fun activities with their kids, decorating their homes for every holiday, coming up with out-of-the-box strategies to get their kids to do their homework and their chores.

I look at myself: A good 40 pounds overweight, exhausted, going to work in clothes that have baby spitup on them, popping in a Stouffer's lasagna for dinner, every night fighting with a teen to do his homework, vegging out in front of the TV while nursing the baby...

You get the picture.

The truth is, I'm doing the best I can. And most days, it really is enough. Amazing, even. So I need to stop comparing.

I made myself a little reminder that I printed out and tacked to a corkboard:
Then I compared it to this really cool print on etsy and felt bad. I guess some habits are hard to break.

If you'd like to print out your own reminder, click here.


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