This Is My Highlight Reel

Everything you’ve seen of me (unless you’re family), everything I’ve posted up until now; those are the pretty, functional, shareable moments.

But I made a decision that, when I decided to start sharing the things I struggle with, I would be honest. Even if it’s ugly.

I want to do this because I’m sick of feeding into the “my life is always perfect” standard guide for what we put on social media.

So here it is, the “behind the scenes” of my highlight reel.

I might as well start with the one that is hardest for me to share.

I’m not skinny anymore. It’s easy to feel like everyone is in shape but you. Everyone shares when they lose the weight, but unless they’re a bodybuilder, they’re not sharing when they put it back on. Not many people are super excited to share a backwards transformation. Well here’s mine.

Before I married my husband, I worked so hard to get in shape. Now, here I am, two years and a baby later, and all-capital-letters STRUGGLING to lose the last twenty pounds. Everyone told me that after having the baby, the weight would melt off. Mine started melting and got stuck at my hips.

Here it is in all its glory. The reverse transformation.

Sometimes I burn dinner. Every time I’ve ever shared a picture of the dinner I made my husband, it was picture perfect.

I didn’t share the time I burnt chicken so bad that we had to open three windows, turn on all the fans, and almost go to the doctor for a prescription inhaler.

I didn’t share the time that I made him a healthy fruit pizza that he gagged on and said “please don’t ever make this again.”

And I definitely am not cropping, filtering, and posting a picture of the frozen pizza I made him because I don’t have time to cook an actual lunch today.

My marriage isn’t perfect. I’m a huge fan of public love; of sharing all the ways your partner is amazing to you and how life is all gravy and taters. I am guilty of posting that fairly often. Because I love that man. Honest, I do. But that’s not entirely real life.

But that’s what you post, because it’s not acceptable to share the gory details of the hard parts; The hours spent talking, arguing, and trying to figure out how to do marriage better. The fights where you have to finally agree to compromise, because you just can’t understand where the other person is coming from. How every morning you wake up and choose to do better. How your vows don’t come true by saying them at the altar but by practicing them in the home. And its not easy all the time for anyone.

My house is rarely spotless. Has anyone ever furiously tidied their house before someone has come over and then when they arrived said “Oh, excuse the mess I need to clean.” Because, guilty.

If you came to my house right now, you’d find a bunch of toys on the floor of the living room, a pile of laundry in the bedroom, and a couple of dishes in the sink. Even though I make it a habit of cleaning each room every single day, it still looks like we live here. Which isn’t weird or bad, and doesn’t make me a subpar wife, because we do actually LIVE HERE.

I’m not a superstar at motherhood. I have no clue what I’m doing most of the time. I’m running on instincts and coffee.

I mess up a lot. Sometimes my son eats chicken and veggies for dinner, and other times he has a quesadilla because I am out of groceries and don’t have the energy to tackle a Walmart run. Sometimes he’s happy all day long, and sometimes he cries and I can’t fix it, so I just cry too. Sometimes the bedtime routine is a bath, a book, and bed, and sometimes it’s the couch and tv until he falls asleep.

My highlight reel is exactly that; a highlight reel.

If you’ve ever compared your life to mine, you deserve to know that it’s not always green grass and sunflowers. Sometimes it’s mud patches and cow pies.

I choose to love all of it. The messy, the ugly, the imperfect.

I won’t change it for likes and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Things That Weren’t in the Baby Books

When I found out I was having a child, I headed straight to the library and checked out every book related to birth and child rearing. Since having a child, I have discovered that there is almost no practical information in any of those books. Here are some of the things I wish those books had told me about.

The Registry

Diapers and wipes, folks. Diapers and wipes. Maybe cash (can you register for cash without being tacky?). That Baby-nator 3000 you have on your registry will probably be used twice before he decides he hates it and it will be banished to the spare room to collect dust.

The iCloud Update

Before baby, my phone had about 400 photos on it. 9 Months post-baby it has 7,430. Back those photos up! Enough said.

The Gravitational Pull of Poo

Basically, everything on earth is gravitationally pulled downward, except for baby poop. Baby poop is attracted to the gravitational pull of the moon and always immediately shoots up the baby’s back towards the nape of the neck. Nothing can be done about this. Don’t buy white onesies

The Agility Skill-point Boost

Whether or not you hone your agility skills prior to having a child, you’ll soon be the Steph Curry of Sneaking – the Tiger Woods of Tiptoeing – the Gordon Ramsey of Getting the heck out of the room your kid is sleeping in without making a single peep.

The Dominant Bicep

If you’re right handed and pregnant, get to a gym stat and do some left-arm curls. Everything you do from here on out will involve one arm and one hand. The left one will be busy holding a 90 pound, untamed octopus disguised as a child.

The Catchphrases

As a parent, you’ll have a few key phrases that slip off the tongue without so much as a thought.

You might as well scrap that cute name you’ve been doodling in all your notebooks and legally make your kids name Babyno. “Baby, no.” is one of the top phrases you’ll use once that kid finds his wheels.

I hope you’re a fan of hellos, because the amount of time you’ll spend smiling and saying “Hhiiii” in an odd, high-pitched lilt is unquantifiable.

Some of your new phrases might also include, “Wanna bite?”, “Give Kisses!“, and “Please tell me you made coffee.”

The Back Seat Reach Maneuver

Everyone, do this exercise with me.

Put your arm straight out to the side, now, pivoting at the shoulder, bend it as far back behind you as you can. Curve your arm into an s-shape. Now rotate your hand at the wrist all the way to the left. This is the position in which you will hold a pacifier or toy in your kids face for the duration of many car rides.

Murphy’s Law for Infants

Never. Ever. Use “the baby is fussy” as a fake excuse to cancel plans. Dark clouds roll in, thunder rumbles, and darkness covers the horizon. A wolf howls in the distance. Your child is now in the foulest mood of his life, thus self fulfilling prophecy.

The Unexpected Embarrassment –

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the moment that your child rips a giant, behemoth of a fart in public and everyone around you assumes it must have been you.

The Unexpected Pain

Do you remember when you would eat laffy taffy as a kid, and how you would bite in and pull back so you could stretch that taffy as thin as possible?

Imagine a kid doing that, except to your nipples . This is breast-feeding when your baby has teeth.

Someone needs to make a Lamaze class specifically geared towards enduring all the bites, slaps, punches, pinches, and hair pulls you’re going to experience over the next few years. There is nothing sweeter than feeding your child, and looking into their big, adorable eyes as they twist the hairs at the nape of your neck and try to violently rip them out.

The Panic

Remember Pac-Man? A ghost, chasing a Pac-Man, who is running around eating dots at a freaky fast pace.

You’re the ghost, your child is Pac-Man. The dots are literally anything he shouldn’t be putting in his mouth. Best of luck.

The Partnership

My husband and I are now involved in a never ending game of hot potato and the baby is the potato.

Having kids can truly make or break a relationship. If you think having a baby will make your relationship instantly stronger, think again.

Sex? Almost completely off the table.

Conversations? All about the baby.

Date Night? You have to schedule them now.

In all seriousness, set aside some time to go out, talk about adult stuffs, and find someone you love to snuggle the baby so you can snuggle each other for a while!

The strength isn’t created by the baby, strength is built because of the joint effort it takes to keep the baby alive and happy.

The Catchy Songs

I say I hate Baby Shark. Honestly, I just say it to fit in. I love Baby Shark. God bless the soul who created it and shared it with the universe. It soothes my baby’s soul and brings peace to my home.

Every generation has and will have their own version of Baby Shark. I’m just glad mine didn’t get stuck with Johnny, Johnny, Yes, Papa.

The Emotions

Am I crying because I haven’t had decent sleep in two years, because I’m emotionally overloaded, or because this babies chubby, wubby adorable face is so stinking perfect?! Your guess is as good as mine.

How not overrated it is

Before having kids, I’d see videos of kids doing cute stuff and “awh,” like, keep scrolling.

But now, baby videos are so much cuter because I can imagine how I’d feel if my kid did those cute things.

And when it IS my kid doing cute things? Can anyone say “face with heart shaped eyes??” 😍😍😍

Watching your baby do seemingly simple things is literally so fulfilling.

I’m convinced that the maternal instinct includes an innate need to constantly say “look at my baybay!”

Also, if that doesn’t convince you that having a kid is awesome, you basically have a free pass to watch Disney movies in theaters without looking like a creep. Sign me up!

The Love

Dude. This kid. Wow. When he was born I felt like the Grinch on Christmas. My heart grew three sizes that day and almost exploded. This tiny meatball that I grew myself is now an almost walking kind of talking human and I kind of can’t handle it! I can’t even keep a fern alive, and here is my kid – crawling, laughing, literally being the worlds cutest baby – and I’m doing this!

Nothing could have ever prepared me for the amount of adoration I have for this tiny monster. The cuteness is soul crushing.

All of the books I read, the videos I watched, the classes I took – none of them mattered in the grand scheme of things. When it comes down to it, we all have it within us to be a kick-butt mom.

All it takes is one look at your very own little human, and suddenly you’re equipped with every skill necessary to do the job and do it well. And even if you feel like you’re failing, I can guarantee you one thing. To your baby, you’re the most kick-butt mom in the world.

(Bonus, sneak peek of my little dude’s 9 month photos!)

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I am NOT a Proverbs 31 Wife

Who here knows that every time women are mentioned in a biblical context – women’s conferences, mother’s days, weddings, oh my! – the “go-to passage” is Proverbs 31?  And when it does get recited, who here has shrunk a little lower into their seat?

I am absolutely raising my hand right now.

Every time this passage is quoted, my inner monologue gets louder with each line. The tiny, harsh, yet truthful, voice in my head interjects at each pause with a comment on my shortcomings.

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.”

Not your husband, that’s who.

“Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Okay, but just yesterday you said that if he didn’t come inside and entertain the baby while you made dinner, you were gonna square up.

“She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.”

The only flax you’ve ever spun is flax seed… into your oatmeal… like three times in your entire life. How’s that diet going, by the way?

“She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.”

Yasss, girl. You’ve totally got this one, just yesterday you drove 30 minutes for takeout just so you didn’t have to cook.

“She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.”

Before dawn? Ha! You literally hand your 8-month-old puffs and corner him into the bed with pillows so you can sleep in for five more minutes.

“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.

Energetic? Yes (thank you, Folgers). Strong? Debatable, you’re still tossing around the ten pound dumbbells. A hard worker? Totally – but let’s be real, the only reason your lamp burns late into the night is because you’re scared of the dark.

“Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads.”

Dude. She makes her own bedspreads. Most of the time you don’t even make your own bed.

“She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.”

Lol you dressed in something you grabbed out of the laundry pile that you fully intended to fold and hang up, but you haven’t gotten to it yet. Also, those new KanCan jeans you wore to church today totally still have the size 11 tag hanging off the back pocket.

“Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Not you. You have anxiety attacks when you think about the future. Laughing hysterically though, that you can do.

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”

Ouch.  You were totally not kind when telling your husband to ‘please, for Pete’s sake, hold this kid for a minute so I can get something done.’

“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”

You are, most definitely, NOT this woman.

Ya’ll.

How am I ever going to be a Proverbs 31 wife? I’m not just struggling to be a Proverbs 31 wife, some days I struggle NOT to be a Proverbs 21:9 wife. My husband can surely attest to the fact that there have been days he would have rather hung out on the roof than hang out with me and my six-foot-seven, outlaw attitude.

Now, if you’re the woman who has had vacuum lines in her carpet since 1992, supper is on the table two seconds before your husbands stomach growls, and you’ve literally never stared out the window thinking fondly on the days when your children had not yet discovered their vocal chords – this post probably isn’t for you. You are definitely more precious than rubies, and just as rare.

For those of you that are in the same boat as me – the boat that keeps filling with water, and you keep grabbing every bucket in sight to shovel it back out – you are not alone.

For every dirty shirt that gets tossed in the washer, a dish ends up in the sink.

For every speck of dirt that gets swept up, a puff gets ground into the carpet.

For every moment of peace, there is a moment of chaos to follow.

(As I was writing that last sentence, my speedy little almost-toddler crawled into the bathroom and started licking a bottle of conditioner.)

Life has a way of making me feel like a hamster on a wheel – running to exhaustion, but seemingly never accomplishing anything.

And at the end of the day, when I’m finally getting to bed at eleven or later, I lay down and compare myself to the awesome mamas on my phone. The Pinterest mama, who has a photographable life and seemingly perfect children; the Facebook mama who defeats insurmountable odds every day and has the posts to prove it; the Instagram mama whose kids kiss her for photos when mine just pulls my hair. I lay down and compare myself to all of those women and, I absolutely guarantee you, I compare myself to you.

Me, with my one child and struggling.  You, managing all of your tiny beautiful children with grace.

Me, with my husband (who I’m so blessed to have home more days than he’s out working). You, a single mother doing it all by herself and rocking it.

Me, throwing on layers of clothing hoping it hides the fact that I’m so uncomfortable with this post-baby body. You, always flawless, literally gracing my timeline with your beauty.

And then God reminded me.

It says “Who can find a virtuous woman? She is more precious than rubies!”

I don’t know about you, but I have a limited selection of jewelry. Some of which would probably turn green, if I ever wore it. I am not, nor do I know anybody who is bathing in precious gems.

There is a reason that this woman is more precious than rubies, and it is for the same reason that rubies are precious. She is RARE.

She’s not that girl you follow on Instagram, she’s not all the pins you save on Pinterest, she’s not the lady you kind-of-sort-of know on Facebook. She is an ideal that God laid out for us to follow and He knows that none of us will ever be her without fail every day of our lives.

In a rare, quiet moment, God led me to a couple of verses that I am currently printing off and posting on my fridge.

Philippians 3:12-14 (CEV)

“I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.”

So, no, I am not a Proverbs 31 woman. I am still a frizzy hamster on a wheel, running a race. That is perfectly alright.

All my hamster-on-a-wheeling, my running in circles, this is the race I am running!

I will inevitably struggle. Sometimes the laundry wont get done. Sometimes I will let my anxiety get the best of me before I remember to trust in God. Sometimes I will make my husband want to go hang out on the metaphorical roof.

But this I can do: I will do my best every day to forget my short-comings of yesterday and keep struggling for what is ahead.

This is my calling. Not to have a super cute, Pinterest worthy kitchen. Not to fit into that size seven my unforgiving hips won’t let me pull on. Not to never fail.

My calling is to keep letting God mold me into a better wife, mother, and woman than I was yesterday.

Everything else I accomplish is the grace of God.