As many of you know, one of the ways I find balance in my life is by sewing. I love the creativity, the process, and the skills that I have learned over the years– all of my finished products are also pretty exciting to me. One of the lesser-known benefits from my sewing hobby has been the friends I’ve made through sewing. Like many other interests and specialties, the internet provides a means of communication for sewists the world over. My favorite sewing site is Sewing Mamas, a little corner of the web dedicated to moms and grandmas (and even a few dads) who sew for themselves and their children. I’ve been a part of this community for more than five years, and I’ve learned so much about sewing from the wise women there.
The owner and administrator of Sewing Mamas is a lady named Kelly who recently posted something that so resonated with me I asked her if I could repost it here. Kind Kelly said ‘sure’, knowing that there are a lot of us out there, forever striving for a perfection that doesn’t really exist. In the spirit of her wisdom, I challenge you to think of five things in your life that are wonderfully, fabulously imperfect. These things tend to contribute so much to our lives, adding layers and richness that can help us celebrate how blessed an imperfect reality really is.
the perfect internet myth
Many moons ago, before the Internet (gasp!), I had a friend whom I loved dearly. Somewhere along the way, someone told her she should always appear to be happy. And so she did. She always put her best happy face forward. But she wasn’t always happy. And pretending to be happy didn’t make her happy, it made others think her life was perfect and wonderful and they never realized when she was sad or overwhelmed, so they couldn’t be as good of friends as they might have been if they had known when she needed a little TLC.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It seems like the Internet has made that push for perfection, or at least outward perfection, that much worse. We look at all the pretty pictures, the impossible compilations of things we believe we must do – the weddings, the birthday parties, home decor… and then we try to hold ourselves to the standard of being able to do them all. Because if we don’t, whatever event or thing we are trying to do just won’t be good enough. We see the neatly dressed children, with their clean smiling faces in their tidy little spots and we want to believe they exist that way all the time. And then we tell ourselves our children should also exist in such a state. They should play nicely with their siblings all the time while our homes exist in a Leave It To Beaver land of nicety.
But here’s the thing. It’s not real. Those perfect things we see are a snapshot of one bit of a life, not the whole. We have to stop being so hard on ourselves. When the bar is so high that the only way to reach it is by pole vault, it’s too high. When I see mamas here and elsewhere comparing themselves to some unobtainable ideal, it makes me sad. I spent a good part of my life unable to differentiate between being the best and doing my best. The former is rarely obtainable – only one can be the best. But my best? I can do that. I can try and do that everyday, even though it’s not going to happen every day. And I have to remind myself that it’s okay.
We tell our children to be kind to each other. Please be kind to yourselves, mamas.