Less Is More
Everyday Life with My Boys
I find myself in a strange new place lately. I have for years now been pushing to grow, learn, expand in some way. I have devoured as many of the personal development seminars, books, email chains and IG pages as I can. I have learned an immense amount about becoming self aware and pushing through discomfort to reach my next goal and it has landed me with an unimaginable amount of memories. The places I have seen and things I have done would blow my mind if I ever took a minute to stop pursuing the next best thing and really took a moment to absorb what I have accomplished.
With the newfound realization that my journey in 24/7 motherhood is coming to a close in the next few years as my boys begin their journeys in school has been hard. I have been forced to ask myself what’s next in more than a philosophical way, I am actually going to need an answer to that question and soon. With these changes I have begun not to go further into myself, but rather to seek human connection. Any girl will tell you that there have been times that they want to share their struggles without a desire for a solution. They just want to be heard and to know they are not alone. I have hit that wall in my life. I just want to know that I am not alone in my daily struggles.
This world is full of people and accounts that will show you what the perfect life looks like: clean, organized, smelling like the freshest candle available at Bath and Body Works; full of smiles because tears are for bad parents and bad people. I have started to crave in a very tangible way the connection to people I can be fully raw with. People that can see my house a mess and my refrigerator empty but coffee pot full, people that can come over in their pj’s with their hair up because they know that’s how I will be too and nobody thinks twice about it. I am not sure where these people are, or if they are just a memory from college days, but that is kind of connection I am in search of: honest human connection without WiFi connection.
I have been doing my best in recent weeks to unplug (hence the gap in posts) and really enjoy the people around me. I have sent my oldest off to preschool and watched him flourish and immediately claim his independence in this world which simultaneously broke my heart and made me beam from the depths of my soul and ear to ear. I have planned an event and summited a mountain with other strong, amazing and encouraging women. I literally met up hours before the sun rose with women I have never met and went into the mountains to encourage each other until we all reached the top. These women are the people I want to surround myself with. I have been told by my husband that I will be going to a grown up girls camp where I will be surrounded by other women that want to push themselves in the outdoors and within to be better versions of themselves. I have gone on dates with my husband (which are fewer and farther between now that our sitter started school again - the nerve!). I have gotten the privilege of playdates with other families I love and also more playdates with just my littles.
I have been remarkably busy, even if my posts do not reflect that. So many of my favorite memories in life have been devoid of a social media share. It might be one of my favorite things that the moments that have been so big for me will always be just a memory for me to have. I scoff at all of the elaborate ways people have to ask for a date to homecoming or hand in marriage; and don’t forget to get the whole thing recorded! Not only does that put pressure on the people doing the asking (as if that was not hard enough), but it requires that the receiver has the most over the top reaction to it. The whole world seems so staged and orchestrated now, genuine emotion put on the back burner to getting the shot and the likes.
It can all be overwhelming and easy to fall victim to. I had a friend recently put it so simply by saying that ‘for every action in this world there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Her point was that for every smiling picture there was a mess to clean up in the background, for every family vacation full of fun there was time spent packing and planning and tantrums on that vacation that took so much planning. That thought has really stuck with me as I watch so many people, myself included, spend time lining up the picture they plan to take instead of just enjoying the beauty of the moment. I do my best to get candids of my littles and try to embrace the hilariously awkward smiles of kids trying to smile for mommy on anything I pose. Getting two or more kids to look in a singular direction, smile and keep their eyes open at the same time is all but impossible, so I try to take one or two shots and move on in hopes that at least there is something adorable there.
The idea of taking kids out of the moment to get a picture of the moment seems backwards to me. I have been trying recently to go into their world a little more instead of pulling them into mine. My oldest has started to ask me to take his picture in everyday moments that I rolled my eyes at first. In front of construction before we get into the aquarium, next to the shopping cart abandoned in the parking lot, on a rock, next to a tree outside of the movie theater on our date. My favorite part of his demands is that he almost never smiles in the pictures he requests, when I tell him to smile he yells at me “I AM!”. It is always a very timid, close mouthed smile, not the over the top mouth open, bubbling with excitement kind; but isn’t that more honest anyways?
I have been looking through social media lately wondering how many people really spend that much of their time with a mouth-open, full of laughter moment while walking their dog. There is no way that happens ever, right? What does that photo shoot feel like? Is there someone off camera practicing their stand up comedy tour, and how do I get those people to follow me around while simultaneously taking my picture? I imagine that I would feel so drained after a photo shoot like that.
It also makes me wonder what kind of world we are encouraging for our little ones. If my smile isn’t Insta-worthy then I am a failure? Kids internalize all sorts of crazy things, so how can we shift that mindset to be more uplifting. I have been leaving my phone in my purse more often, or in another room so that I do not become sucked into it. Some days I can go the whole day fully engaged in the world of my toddlers and you can tell they absolutely love it. Other days I spend the entire day comparing myself to others on social media and those days are the worst.
What I really would love more than anything is to sit around a table, with people that I do not have to explain myself to, and just hang out. Stay up too late talking about nothing and everything with no phones or cameras in sight.