How's it going?
I have been feeling cruddy all week with a stinking cold and Hubba Hubba's been working like a loon! It's been a tough week.
Such weeks always leave me feeling lacking...and the result of this week's trials has been an idea for a post that has been ruminating and I want to talk about..... drumroll please..... THE INFERIORITY COMPLEX.
I am guessing I am not the only mama who looks around at the rest of the world on her down days and feels lacking. Everyone in blog-land seems uber creative. Felting, knitting, painting, baking, sewing, making beautiful things of one kind or another. It can feel a bit depressing when I am JUST ABOUT getting through the day/week/ month, with the kids fed, watered, dressed, let alone getting everyone out of the door for outings/expeditions. These things can, on some days, feel like a MAJOR achievement and take every ounce of my energy, patience and mojo. There is usually one child in the mix who very firmly wants to stay at home on those days I happen to have something really fab planned and somehow they become even more obstinate and stubborn when we need to go out and about doing less exciting errands. And yet life cannot be exciting and fun-filled everyday....we still gotta put out bins, get new tax discs, queue up for things and suffer the boredom or grosseness of certain unpleasant chores. Doing such things with four whiney children in tow can really take its toll when you are feeling ill.
Some days I look around at my friends, and quietly envy their talents and skills - heck, I'll be honest here... I even envy their children some days. I'm not proud of this. But it's how I really feel. It gets to me a little that I am neither a fantastic smallholder, keeper of bees, talented quilter, expert gardener, prolific painter, or able to do swedish massage. I am not uber stylish. I sometimes get BO. My kids are suffering from daddy's stupid workload at the moment, being super whingy, sulky, ungrateful and argumentative. They aren't eager to learn, settling down and being productive when I have my back turned. They'd rather fight and jump on the sofa. My home has been looking more and more of a mess just lately, and the kids seem to be wrecking furniture at a rate of knots. Two child beds with broken slats in the last month. The house is getting shabbier and shabbier as I have less and less energy to keep up with the tide of snotty fingers, yoghurt drips, felt-tip scribbles, and unidentified stains. The greater part of my garden looks like a mess too, with ground elder and stinging nettles running riot and saying ner-ner-ner-ner-ner at me, every time I clap eyes on them . I feel less than shiny and happy.
And I wonder how many of us feel like this sometimes? Surely it can't be just me?
How many of us feel lacking compared to others? Do you ladies compare yourselves to the rest of the world and think "Fuck, why can't I/my kids/my house/whatever be more like (insert a friends/cybermummy's name)"???
I think the problem may be that we look at everyone's lives and in our minds muddle all the best bits of everyone we know and love into one SUPERPERSON - a multitaskin' fanfeckingtastic ubermama, a complete renaissance mama, who doesn't exist but is made up of all the best bits. We hold ourselves up to this model when we feel low, and of course, could never compare with this invention!!! None of my friends can knit, garden, paint, bake, keep perfect house, spin wool, keep bees, be uber stylish, AND has obnoxiously well behaved kids 24/7!!!! I made that person up in my head!!!! SHE DOES NOT EXIST.
And when I think of it in those terms I start to feel a bit better. I remember that I can do some of these things, in turn, but not simultaneously. If I ignore other areas of my life and feel tip top, I too can have a perfectly tidy house, for a while. My kids can be angelic and intrinsically motivated to learn, when they are in a good space. One part of my lovely wild cottage garden is fantastic and thriving and I am super-proud of our humble veg-plot, the very thing I thought we couldn't achieve! Occasionally, for special occasions, I can scrub up ok, or even look quite nice! And when the chips are down, I have a capable and smiley hubba, who I know I can rely on to literally be my other half. We work together as a team: he is strong for me, when I feel weak. It swings both ways. When we both feel drained, we still work together instead of against each other. This helps us both to feel more whole. Occasionally I will make something crafty to give friends for their birthday or for Christmas, and it will be beautiful. Sometimes I bake a perfect cake or meal that is mega. And I am lucky to live in a beautiful house that many people would envy, even if it is a shit-tip most of the time!!! There are in fact a bunch of things I am pretty good at, when I take the time to appreciate them.
I don't need to be ALL these things at once, ALL the time, and I am feeling more at peace with this as the week has rolled on. I laughed to myself as I remembered the story of THE MIXED UP CHAMELION, so I thought I would include it here. If there ever was a story about accepting who you are and where your talents lie, this is it.
I feel more able, after reflecting this week, to really celebrate and feel inspired by the amazing multiple talents of my friends, and by the cyber mamas out there. I don't feel intimidated by their talents quite so much, I'm actually really glad that we are all different and inspiring at different times and in different ways. All us mamas do a fab job and are creative every day, in small ways and big. Hurray for diversity! Hurray for just being ourselves, and celebrating our own unique talents and skills!
XXX :-) XXX