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The Downside to Being the Mom Who Has it All Together

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Photograph by Twenty20

Please let me preface what I'm about to say with the admission that it probably sounds more than a little bit douchey and self-absorbed, but I'm pretty sure I'm one of those moms that people tend to look at and think, "She has it together."

I told you it was going to sound douchey, but let me explain.

Here's what an outsider looking in at my life might see: a mom who works from home and has a tidy house, three young children who are usually fairly well-groomed, a full social schedule and a diaper bag that betrays her penchant for perpetual preparedness with its resemblance to Mary Poppins' infamous carpet bag—complete with any emergency item or snack that could be potentially needed. I constantly have 28 different "balls" I'm juggling—meal prep, kid activities, freelance projects—and I handle it with a decent amount of poise.

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Here's the thing though, looks aren't always what they appear to be and contrary to what the internet would lead us to believe, having and doing it all just isn't possible.

For every one thing I seem to be good at, there's another area where I'm totally failing.

While those things I listed above may be true, it's mostly because I'm a Type-A people pleaser with obsessive compulsive tendencies. My house is tidy because messy rooms make me anxious, and the reason I'm perpetually prepared is because my mind always goes immediately towards a worst-case scenario type of situation. My kids are well-groomed because I worry about keeping up appearances and my full social schedule is the result of constantly worrying about hurting people's feelings and not being very good at saying no.

For every one thing I seem to be good at, there's another area where I'm totally failing.

My kids probably miss out on a good chunk of childhood fun because I'm always reminding them to clean up and worrying about them getting too messy. I'm constantly rushing around in an attempt to check off all the boxes on my to-do list, which means my kids are forever being hurried from one place to the next. Sometimes I snap at them when they do typical kid things like taking a million years to fasten the buckles on their shoes or for waiting until the last minute to use the potty when we're running late. A lot of times I'm so "busy" that I forget to simply take the time to just sit down and play with them.

These are things I'm working on.

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Even though I may seem to have it all together, I'm not having very much fun. I'm stressed out and anxious and exhausted all the time. I guess what I'm trying to say is that "having it all together" really isn't a thing.

So when you're perusing your social media feeds and feeling the guilt of being "not enough" creep in, please remember that guilt is a liar. You are enough. We all are. We have our strengths and our weaknesses. None of us are perfect and there is such freedom and relief in being able to say that.

Here's to parenting to the beat of our own drum—embracing the things we're good at and letting go of the things we aren't.

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