After two weeks of having family here… all together…in our house…in every single bed and pretty much any surface that would support a body… and after two months of planning my daughter’s first birthday party which culminated in 75 people partying in our already overstuffed house, the dust is finally beginning to settle and I am finally beginning to breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and my in-laws, and I really do enjoy having them here. I love seeing how much they love my daughter and seeing how much my daughter loves them. Truly, nothing gives me more joy than to be with my family… except when I take NyQuil and have those very vivid and quite graphic dreams about Ryan Gosling.
That being said, with a house full of people it was a bit hard to relax. It’s tough to find the alone time I so desperately need when there is always someone everywhere you go. Plus, I spent the past two weeks on my very best behavior… shopping, cooking, entertaining, smiling, laughing and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning… I swear that dirty dishes have been breeding in my sink. But even more exhausting than the constant cleaning is the constant role-playing. There is nothing more tiring to me than pretending to be someone I am not. Even if it is just a slightly better version of myself.
Even though I know that my family loves and respects me, for some reason I feel the need to prove how good of a wife, friend, host, entertainer, and most importantly mother I am. And man, am I tired. I spent nearly two weeks treading lightly for fear of offending someone. I scurried around in a whirlwind of activity for fear of someone discovering the truth… that I am not as clean, organized, friendly, together (ha) or constantly happy as I pretend to be. I scuttled around following orders to get my daughter more clothes, less clothes, different clothes, and to retrieve more water to stave off dehydration or more food to stave off starvation. I alternated between letting her cry it out so I don’t seen weak, and picking her up at first wail so I don’t seem cold. I bit my tongue at unsolicited advice, and nodded my head at tips that I don’t intend to follow. But really, who am I trying to fool? Surely no one who knows me thinks that I am anything close to perfect, so why try to keep up an appearance that mostly exists in my own mind?
After having 24 hours to clear my head, some things have become begrudgingly apparent. While advice is sometimes (ok often) annoying, it is given to help… not to hurt. It is not given to question my judgement and certainly not to imply that I don’t know what the hell I am doing. And even if it does imply that I don’t always know what I am doing, the truth is… I don’t. Mostly I am just muddling through, figuring things out through trial and error, and error, and error. And, yes, I spend a lot of time pretending that I know what I am doing. So actually, I could use some advice… even if I don’t want to hear it. Maybe if I stop spending so much energy pretending to be perfect, I could spend a bit more time on really trying to be better.
So, my beloved family and friends (and not so beloved random strangers who feel it’s your duty to share your opinions despite wearing dirty, fuzzy slippers in public. true story.) while I can’t promise that I will always take your advice, I promise that I will try to accept it in the loving spirit it was intended. I promise to try to listen to the wisdom you have to share, but also to question you when I don’t agree with what you have to say, instead of just nodding politely. And at the end of the day, I promise that my husband and I will raise our daughter the best way we know how… because that’s exactly the example that our parents set for us. Most of all, thank you all for loving us and our daughter. Thanks for your advice, even if I don’t always take it. And thanks for your presence in our lives… although maybe we all don’t have to be present at once for a little while. At least until next year…