Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar...

helps the medicine go down. Whether we realize it or not ... we are swallowing (or giving) sugar with the medicine we take (or give). Sometimes, however, the "medicine" may be more toxic than healing. You know, the whole, "My neighbor is such a sweet person, but she ......"; "I love him to pieces, but sometimes he...."; "I really am grateful for all I have been given, but...."; "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that, but....". Maybe I'm being a little too heavy handed with anecdotes and analogies. Humor me, por favor? Thanks.

I have come to realize that "but" is rarely followed by something positive and uplifting. Beyond that, it seems like saying a general and vague positive thing about someone makes people think that they have carte blanche to say as many negative things they can think of about that same person - all while getting a free pass with no guilt attached.  I am definitely not innocent of offending in this department, yet I have truly made an effort to watch my tongue and be mindful of what I say.

Perhaps it is my profession, but I make a point to not say something unless I truly mean it. Words can hurt - even words with good intentions can turn ugly and deliver unintended wounds. The difficult truth, when delivered with love and discretion, can be the best tool to bridging a gap, righting a wrong, or communicating feelings. That being said, spreading an ugly truth can be just as spiteful or sinful as starting or spreading a rumor. While imperfect, I am beginning to master watching my own tongue. The next step to this constant work in progress is to be mindful of what I am taking in - to be mindful enough of the destructive nature of some words that I ask that they not be passed along to me.

I try to limit my sugar intake but, in this case, perhaps I will begin asking for the sweet stuff a la carte - hold the spite.


Monday, December 12, 2011


I might post on Facebook about an amazing dinner that I made with appetizers, sauces from scratch, and a dessert that would put a pastry chef to shame - but that will mean that nearly every other night that week I punted by making grilled cheese sandwiches, breakfast for dinner, or something else that took nearly no effort! I might have posted pictures from my son's first birthday with a three tiered cake, a homemade banner with his name, handmade party favors, food for 30+, and decorations to the hilt - but I learned that spending that much time and money on a child's party is absolutely ridiculous and ensures that I, the mother of the honored guest, will be so stressed that I can't revel in the blessed day with my precious child (never again). I might "check in" at a restaurant with my hubby making some think that we are the perfect couple who finds time to date each other and keep the romance alive - but the reality is that my man is so busy with grad-school that we barely see each other and, when we do, it is usually with a poopy diaper in my hand, my hair in a pony-tail while I don sweatpants, and a peck is pretty much all that can be slid by before Robby has to lock himself in another room to study.

I think you get the picture. :)  What is that little saying? Oh yes, "Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes"...or something to that effect. Well I'd like to coin my own phrase, "Don't paint your shoes to be four-inch Luis Vuittons which make your neighbors swoon with envy when, in fact, you rock your Toms every night of the week until the cameras are out."

I think we all have compared ourselves to each other at one point or another, and you know the old adage: You are your own worst critic. I think that a problem in our culture is also this: we hide our true selves behind the pictures we paint. I am not saying we each have to own up to all our bad habits, post pictures of ourselves without makeup on, sing our weight digits from the rooftops, and chronicle every tiff we get in with our significant other. But, it also isn't necessary to try and paint a picture that we hand-make every child's stocking, bake on a daily basis, have all of our laundry done and folded at any given time, and always look like the picture of perfection when our husbands walk in the door. (No - I don't practice polygamy - I am trying to garner your support be referring to you if we are together in this. Clever. I know.)  

What is the problem with these beautiful pictures we paint? They make others believe that we can - and do - do it all. It has become more and more apparent that our culture is plagued with women who are trying to be the perfect everything (and to put off that image) and then become depressed or get down on themselves when they aren't keeping up with the picture of perfection next door. This is a whole new era of Keeping Up With the know?

No one can do it all. I can't work full time, be a perfect homemaker, an always cheerful wife and mother, a chef, a seamstress, etc. Can I try my hardest to get things done and be happy in the process? Yes. Should I prioritize my life and try to focus on what is truly important? Most definitely. I guess I am saying that we all need to be a bit more real. You know? To portray our own realities a little more often.

I make a point to dress my son like a little GQ model but I STINK at staying on top of the laundry - I swear that there is always a massive pile waiting for me and giving me the evil eye. I coupon clipped with the best of them and even taught classes - until that ball had to be dropped so that I could focus on other things that weren't getting done. I am confessing my imperfections in the hopes that those of you who appear to me to have it ALL together will do the same - making us all feel a little bit better with what we actually ARE accomplishing.