“Why are you crying?” my concerned husband asked. He didn’t ask this in an annoyed way, more of an I-don’t-know-what’s-going-on way. To answer this, dear readers, I need to back up to what had happened that morning…
Now, this event happened a few years ago when we only had our oldest son Noah, who was probably about a year and a half old at the time. You know that stage, getting into anything he could reach, crawling into every room with an open door, putting anything in his mouth, you get the picture. So, we were at a couple’s house who had invited us over for breakfast. Once we walked into their home, I was amazed. It looked like it could have been out of a magazine. Perfectly placed kitchenware, cool décor, fun cactus plants everywhere, and then there were these curtains… They were white, crisp, and beautiful.
“I love your curtains.” I told the couple as we walked inside. “Where did you get them?”
“I made them.” My friend replied, and I’m pretty sure my mouth fell to the ground. I had been yearning to pick up sewing again, but just hadn’t had the time to do it. At that time I was a full time mom, part time graduate student, and part time barista. Of course, that logic didn’t sink in to my head at that moment. All I thought was, She made these awesome curtains, and I haven’t even made a stupid pillowcase. Yet, I didn’t really have time to ponder that thought because I started chasing Noah as he was trying to get in to the bathroom.
“I’m just gonna close these,” I muttered while closing all the doors in this gorgeous house, and couldn’t help but be amazed at how clean and organized the entire house seemed to be. Again I started comparing myself, Look how clean she is able to keep the house. You can’t even seem to keep the toys off the floor.
The rest of the morning we chatted, I chased Noah and made sure he didn’t try and eat a cactus, I tried to keep my breakfast down because I was my first trimester with our second son, and I tried not to just lose it until we got in the car. Then the waterworks came… And there I was blubbering about these awesome homemade curtains. While my poor husband had this confused look on his face, but the more I blubbered, the more he smiled.
“Amanda,” he told me in the most patient way, “You can’t compare our house with their house. You chase a toddler all day long, and then go to school or work every evening. You do an amazing job. You’re a good wife and a good mom.”
I didn’t believe him at the time, but the more I let that sink in, the more I believe those words. Even now, two more kids later, out of school and no longer a barista, I still have to remind myself of that… And even though I haven’t sewn my own curtains, it doesn’t make me any less of a wife and mother.
As women, we tend to compare ourselves to other women—a lot. Sadly, that doesn’t do us any good, instead it harms us. That day I missed out on truly enjoying myself with that sweet couple because I kept thinking negative thoughts about myself as a wife and mom. I had set unrealistic expectations on myself and could only focus on everything I thought I was doing wrong instead of focusing on the most important thing; which is loving and serving my family.
I had to kill the unrealistic expectation of “having a perfectly kept home” because I have three boys ages 4 and under. There will be toys that make their way to every room in the house. There will always be eggs on the floor after my boys eat and sometimes I may not have the chance to sweep them up before one of them tries to eat them again. There will be days I have more laundry piled on the couch than in the dressers. I would still love to sew my own curtains, but today will not be that day… But every day I try to love on my boys as much as possible, because they are more important than a perfectly cleaned house.