A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Facebook of a DIY wreath I made with lots of help from the Hubs. I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it would be a fun, cheap and easy project. Fun, yes. Cheap and easy, not so much. But over the course of two evenings, and after two pricey trips to Michaels, we managed to get it done, and hang it proudly on our front door. I, of course, had to post a picture of my success for the world to see. A few hours later, my beautiful cousin posted this comment:
“So, is there anything you aren’t good at?”
This made me laugh, because, of course, there are tons of things I am not good at. But, over the last few weeks, her comment has got me thinking about why I posted that photo. And I think it has to do with the pressure I feel to be THAT woman.
Do you know the woman I mean? She cooks incredibly delicious, but also well-balanced and nutritious meals for her family. She keeps a tidy and clean house. She plays with her kids in ways that stimulate them intellectually as well as physically. She engages her husband in meaningful conversation, and tends to his heart needs, and she’s never too tired or not in the mood. She exercises everyday. She’s the most fun friend any of her friends have. She also manages to decorate her home with lovely hand made items that she crafted in her spare time. All of this while also being a full time stay at home and/or working mom. (There are also single, married with no kids, single mom, and grandma versions of THAT woman.)
I think we can all agree that this woman does not exist. She is a myth, and if she does exist, her name is Angelina Jolie-Pitt, and she has a staff. But even though we acknowledge that this standard is too high, too unrealistic, too unreachable, I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all try to project ourselves as THAT woman once in a while. We post pictures of our beautiful Christmas trees, and freshly baked cookies, our Pinterest wins and kids achievements. I’m not saying we are lying. I’m saying we can sometimes choose to show the world only a part of our reality, the part that’s most in line with THAT woman. Because I want the world to see the things I do right, not the things I do wrong.
So, in the spirit of being honest, of admitting that I am not now, nor will I ever be THAT woman, I’ve decided to compile a list of just a few of the things in this life that I am really bad at.
- Winter – We’ve already discussed this in great detail in a previous post, but it’s worth mentioning that I am really bad at doing anything winter related. I’m even bad at scraping off the car. My arms aren’t long enough to reach across the whole windshield, so there is inevitably a little line of ice right in the middle, obscuring my view until the defrost melts it away.
- Sports – Yes, I do mean all sports. There is not a single sport out there that I am good at. I have terrible hand-eye coordination, so any game where you have to hit an object (puck, ball, etc.) with another object (bat, hockey stick, racket, etc.) is out. Also, any game where you have to hit a ball with your hands, or throw a ball, or catch a ball is also out. (The Hubs once threw the car keys at me, and when, in what can only be described as a total fluke, I caught them, he stared at me in absolute shock, and exclaimed “Hey! You caught them!” I think this was one of the proudest moments for him in our relationship.) I have no endurance when it comes to running sports, and I’m not very good at kicking things either, so any sport involving either of those two things is not an option either. Also, I can only doggie paddle, so all water sports are no good. It almost goes without saying that any sport involving snow or ice is out. And I’m pretty sure that encompasses almost every sport out there.
- Orchid Growing – I cannot, for the life of me, keep an orchid alive. I love orchids. They are by far my favourite flower. My wonderful Hubs keeps buying them for me, for special occasions, and sometimes for no reason at all. And I keep killing them. (As a side note, this is one of the ways I know he really loves me). My mother can keep orchids alive for years and years. I once kept an orchid alive for two months. A new record! And then one day it just fell off the shelf… and died.
- Decorating – Now, in my defense, I’ve lived in a lot of rentals, and when you are renting a house, it’s hard to decorate it as your own. You end up buying furniture and decorations that fit the house you are living in, instead of ones that reflect your own style. Regardless of this fact, most of the time when faced with a blank wall, I just have no idea what to put on it. One big picture? A bunch of little ones? A shelf with books? Isn’t there something about three’s? Maybe I should put up three pictures, or three books? When it comes time to decorate my own home, I’m just going to have to pull a page out of a magazine and buy everything in it, including pictures of dogs I don’t own.
- Saying No – This is especially tough for me, although I’ve seen quite a bit of growth in this area in the last couple of years. Perhaps in part because I have a kid that I can blame it on now. But truthfully, most of the time I want to do the things I’m asked. I want to go to every kids birthday party, every baby shower, every get together. I want to make muffins for this, or contribute a salad to that. I want to volunteer my time to visit this elderly person or run an errand for that new mom. These are all great things, and I want to do them all. But more often than not, I just don’t have the extra time or energy to do these things, and so when I say yes, it comes at a cost to my family. Whether in grumpiness because I’m stressed about all I have to do, or in time away from them because I’ve committed to too much. And yet, a lot of the time, when I mean to say no, I am surprised to hear yes coming out of my mouth instead.
- Fashion – UGH!!! This is probably the number one thing I am terrible at. I hate dressing myself. I have no cool clothes. “No cool clothes,” you say? “Just go buy some!” YES! That’s a wonderful idea! Except that every time I go clothes shopping one of three things happen: 1)The shirt that looks so awesome on the mannequin looks ridiculous on me. 2) The shirt looks ok, but costs the entire budget with which I was hoping to buy a whole new wardrobe. As a result, I end up going to the clearance section of a less cool store and buying one that is somewhat similar to the original nice shirt but not as nice, and obviously not as cool. Still, it’s only $10 so now I can buy 4 shirts and a pair of jeans instead of just one top. These items are all ragged within a month due to their low quality. 3) The shirt looks good and is the right price! Yay! I take it home, feeling victorious. The next day when I go to put it on, I realize I have no pants that go nicely with this shirt, and no shoes that match, and also, no sweater to wear over it. The shirt sits in my closet unworn for three months.
And there you have it, five things I am terrible at. The list could go on and on and on. I have many flaws, many shortcomings, many faults. And being aware of these, I am grateful to have people in my life who know me well, who know my failures, and love me in-spite of, and sometimes even because of, them. I hope that my list allows you the freedom to be a little more of the you that you are, so that together we can let go of trying to appear to be THAT woman, and just be us.