Since the advent of the viral blog post on Facebook, I keep reading all of these supposedly supportive blog posts that talk about how we are all okay, even with all of our imperfections. And how accepting we all should be. And it’s true, which is why I’ve decided to just be myself from now on, whether or not you like it.
because I didn’t want to make you feel badly about yourself, thus eliciting another viral blog post. But it’s true. I’m awesome. And although I don’t judge you, and love you dearly, even with any and all imperfections, I’m afraid you’re going to judge me, so I take steps to make sure that we appear to be similar.
If you were to make a surprise visit to my house right now, it would be immaculate. Everything in its place, decorated seasonally to perfection. And yes, I have four children under the age of eight. I have a bowl of organic fresh fruit on my table, and homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven as I type. The laundry is all done, neatly folded and put away. Even my fitted sheets are folded perfectly.
If you give me some warning that you are coming, I quickly put the kids to work—I tell them to make a mess of their toys, so that you don’t feel badly. I have a piece of plastic that I light like incense to make it smell like I’ve been burning the food I’m cooking. See, I don’t want you to be overwhelmed with how I manage to pull it all off, so I hide it. It makes me uncomfortable when you start to compare yourself to me, and feel like you don’t come close.
But, hiding it is exhausting. So I’m telling you now—if you can’t deal with how less-than you may feel when you visit me, you probably shouldn’t come over. It stresses my children out to have to make a mess for company. I don’t really like the smell of burnt plastic. My kids don’t want to eat pedestrian foods like macaroni and cheese and hot dogs—they want kale and chard salads, tossed with homemade vinaigrette that they helped create.
I had a baby a few weeks ago, so I try to put on an air of overtired and overwhelmed, but really, I’m in my element. My children are all almost perfect. The Bigs never talk back, never whine, and trip over themselves to be as helpful as possible. They clamor for more homework and resist watching television, because it’s so boring compared to playing imaginative pretend games and writing novels. My two year old never throws tantrums, and asks when he can take his afternoon nap. He is also fully daytime and nighttime potty trained, and reads chapter books, if you were wondering. His two favorite words are ‘please’ and ‘thanks’, and he tells me regularly how much he loves me.
And my baby! He’s only three weeks old, but he already sleeps through the night. He is a breastfeeding champ (of course we would never ever poison him with formula), and was born vaccinated against all childhood diseases, thus eliminating the need to ever poke him with a needle, which might cause him distress. On top of that, he never spits up. Ever. Well, unless you pick him up. Then he’ll try to share his meal with you, because that’s polite. Also, he has quickly caught on that we have to keep down with the Joneses. But, he doesn’t ever spit up on me, just people who come to visit.
When I left the hospital after birthing him, my fourth child, I not only was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but they are all a little big on me—size six was just too large for a girl like me, so I guess it’s time to go shopping and find some size four pants. I guess that’s just the benefit to caving into my pregnancy cravings for grilled salmon and mashed sweet potatoes. My newly diminished size is a little awkward, because of course, since I’m breastfeeding, my figure is a bit top heavy right now, and my boobs haven’t fallen at all as a result of four years of breastfeeding (and counting).
Every night, I prepare a perfectly balanced three course meal for my family, using locally grown meat and vegetables. My wonderful husband comes home from work, jovially bounces into the house and throws all the children into the air, occasionally even juggling them (not Fitz, yet, of course). We all have a dance party before we read portions of the Bible together and say a family prayer. Then our children ask to be excused so that they may get ready for bed, and we sneak upstairs to watch the Bigs help the Littles prepare for bed, and then listen to them saying heartfelt personal prayers to God. All four children are in bed and asleep by 7:30, and Kullervo and I then drink a glass of wine, talk about the news and discuss politics and religion.
So, there you have it. I’m out of the proverbial closet. If you can’t deal with it, I don’t think we can really be friends, because putting on airs for you has been a bit tiring. I did just have a baby, after all.
*Some parts of this blog post might not be completely accurate.