Embracing the Ordinary

It’s something I’ve been trying to do lately – embrace the seemingly ordinary moments that I would have otherwise taken for granted. Silly things, really. Like watching my daughter perfect a fishtail braid on one of her dolls, listening to my son make a lot of noise music on his toy keyboard, or sitting on the couch with my husband watching another movie on another Saturday evening.

How often do I find myself at the end of the day, lying in bed, silenced by the wave of guilt that covers me instead of my blanket? I’d be lying if I said rarely. In fact, it’s almost every night. Did I love enough? Did I show enough empathy? Did I practice patience? I definitely know that I yelled more than I wanted to. I was annoyed with Annabella on quite a few occasions and I’m pretty sure I made that abundantly clear to her. And good lord, if Griffin would have climbed on me one more time I might have mistaken him for a jacket and put him in the hall closet.

People say toddlers whine, kindergarteners have attitude. Breathe. Keep calm and carry on. Keep a stiff upper lip. You’re the adult. Pretend if you have to. Fake it til you make it.

Bippity-boppity-bullshit. I’d need a fairy godmother to make it that easy. There are things no one shares with you when you have children and most of the time, having children is described as sunshine and lollipops, with the *occasional* diaper blowout or 2 am awakening.

That is a bold faced lie. It isn’t always comfortable. It isn’t always a bed of roses. The roses have thorns on them and you have to prune the roses constantly in order for them to grow. There will be pain. There will be guilt. There will be yelling and stomping – from me and the kid. There is always something I could have done better, some way I could have made the morning go more smoothly. It is exhausting and disheartening and sometimes I feel like I just can’t do it anymore.

That’s when I have to stop for a second. Look around myself. What do I really see?

I see my daughter who was not just perfecting a fishtail braid – she had spent literal hours trying to do so and it was a magnificent accomplishment for her. My son was not just making a lot of noise on his keyboard – he was making music and dancing his little diapered booty off. And those times I spent watching another movie on another Saturday night? It was with my husband, in the comfort of the home that we’ve built together. 

It’s in these ordinary moments that I find the mental polaroids, the pictures, that I hope succeed me. So I guess, in a way, there’s nothing ordinary about them. These are the bare bones of my life, and that’s…extraordinary.

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Like I said, extraordinary.

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Why “June Cleaverish?”

51thGz9gSkL1June Cleaver was your quintessential, suburban housewife. She polished in pearls and shopped in heels. She was a perfectly coiffed, stylish hostess. June was dedicated to her family and friends, she was an active part of her community, and was boss at needlepoint.

Here’s the thing:

June Cleaver wasn’t real.
She was fake. A fraud.
A black & white facade.

There came a point where I began to ask myself why I felt the need to strive to be the anti-me.

When I had my daughter 6 years ago, I found myself at a precipice. I had everything going against me. I was a new, confused mom. I was a tired, haggard wife. I was a recovering alcoholic. I was climbing Mt. Postpartum Depression with nary a safety net.

The expectations were mounting; and it wasn’t the external expectations – it was the expectations that I placed on myself. The expectations to perform at a level that I couldn’t possibly reach.

I refused help. I believed that a good mom, a mom that was meant to be a mom, wouldn’t need help. I had isolated myself from my friends, and I was terrified to leave the house, lest I drop my newborn while walking down the stairs. I was developing an obsession with my health, or lack thereof. Every pain became terminal, every ache meant I was one step closer to leaving this life. I was literally living in fear. I was trying to maintain the sobriety that I had worked so hard to achieve, but the fear of being seen for what I really was, the fear of having to tell the truth, made me abandon the support system I had built in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Motherhood, marriage, life – none of it was what I expected it to be and I felt like I had been punched in the gut.

In an effort to have some kind of connection to the outside world, I joined a popular blogging community, picked the pseudonym “June Cleaverish,” and began to post. I was social in the virtual world, and it was the virtual world that I believe gave me the nudge to get well. It became my venting ground, my online diary. I made friends and built relationships that I still have today. And although I wasn’t new to the blogosphere, having had some kind of blog on almost every forum since 2001, it was freeing to be able to write again about my newest endeavor: wife and mom.

Over the last six years I’ve been learning some hard lessons. Mostly that it’s okay to just be okay. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to hate your husband sometimes. It’s okay to want to call your child an asshole behind their back, because let’s be honest – kids are assholes. It’s okay to feel like you’re a square peg trying to fit in the round hole called Motherhood.

I’m learning that it’s okay to be “-ish” – the kinda, sorta, not quite, and in between.

I think I’m almost there.

Well, not really almost.

Almost-ish.

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