I've loved the series on Simple Homeschool lately, where Jamie and the contributors (sounds like a band name) have shared their biggest homeschooling mistakes. One post at a time, they've saddled up to the plate to confess one thing they've wished were different about their teaching experience.
I'm also reading Grace for the Good Girl, a newly-released book by my dear friend Emily Freeman. In it, she confesses to myriad masks she's donned her entire life in desperate effort to keep her accolades as a good girl. She admits her imperfection.
At Relevant this past weekend, I sensed a repeated murmur of conversation wrapped up in the theme, It'sOkayToBeImperfectBecauseWhoIsn't?. Be it in your writing style, an embarrassment over your Twitter following, or your desire to be more "influential," the conference room became a breathing space for women to feel okay about who they are and the platform they've been given.
In short… People are fessing up to not having their act together.
I've told Emily that one of my favorite paragraphs in the early part of her book is when she admits to leaving a food-encrusted fork in the dishwasher because it's easier to just leave it there than to hand-wash it. I love that part because I do that, too.
And with the homeschool series, I nod as I read because I, too, am not Charlotte Mason. I don't create elaborate art projects or history reenactments, and I don't have a homeschool room. It's the dining room table and a quiet shelf of books for us.
I like reading these things because in their words I find my tribe. What's that C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know we're not alone"?
In large part because of the Internet, women are slowly chipping away at the lie that we need to be perfect. We more or less believe we don't have to work full-time and have a spotless house and have children that never argue and don a cookie-filled plate in a moment's notice.
But do we believe this is true amidst the little, everyday bits of life? Do we feel guilt when we open the steaming dishwasher and witness, once again, that food-encrusted fork? I know I sometimes do.
It's been awhile since we've done this at Simple Mom, but I thought it'd be a fun exercise to revisit. I'm going to list the things I don't do, and I'd love for you to join me in the comments.
Not out of obligation, of course, or even out of a weird, reversed sense of comparison ("You think you don't do much? Well, check me out…"). But if you'd like to join me, share a simple list of how you don't have your act together.
What I don't do
- I don't garden very well. Our tomato plant this year was my husband's doing.
- I don't exercise more than once per week. Kat's helping me with that.
- I'm already behind on my second book that was supposed to begin in September.
- I don't change Finn's diaper as quickly as I should.
- My Craigslist couch I bought in July still needs reupholstering. I haven't even started.
- I don't knit.
- The quilt I started early this year? Not finished. It's on our bed, safety pinned.
These things above, I'm okay with. With some of them I shake my head (seriously, now, I just need to spend a weekend finishing that quilt); with others I'm at complete peace (I'm really okay not knowing how to knit). And I don't feel guilty about this not-yet-done list, because what I do is not who I am.
Let this be a freeing exercise, if you choose to participate. Do it for fun and for encouragement, and not to feel guiltier. Share simply out of a desire to encourage other women, and perhaps to lessen a bit of your burden today. You already know what's on your list. You can simply choose to etch it out with your fingers.
What don't you do?
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