Authentic Joy – Being Real Matters

get real, find joy - 31 days of Joy in Motherhood from thishappymom.comI wanted to write about authentic joy, about how being real and authentic is a huge factor in how much Joy I have in life (as a mom or wife or woman or whatever).

But to do so, I have to make a big confession.

I struggle.

I like to pretend my house is neater and cleaner that it really is.

I like to pretend that my family eats healthier food than we really do.

I like to pretend that we’re better people than we really are.

And I struggle to admit the truth.

I get caught up in my own lies.  (yes, i called them lies.)

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in maintaining the illusion and pretense that I lose track of what’s real.

I’m so busy telling everyone that we eat only real foods that I make from scratch (hah!) that I forget the honest truth.  And then I get stressed out about the box of velveeta in my grocery cart because someone might see it.  (so i buried it under the collard greens).

I get so worked up about pretending to have a well decorated home that I am inevitably disappointed and unsatisfied when I walk into my actual house (the walls are still bare and there is absolutely ZERO decorating in evidence.)

I’ve been so busy pretending to be super mom that I yell at my kids for not responding appropriately when I’m in show-off uber-mom mode.

Telling the truth is liberating.

I’m not talking about suddenly writing a confessional of the 100 worst things I’ve ever done as a mom.    No one needs to know that.  My kids don’t need that documented for future psycho-therapy sessions.

I’m talking about being real.  Simple stuff.

Truthfully, I strive for about 90% of what we eat to be real food.  I’m comfortable with a certain amount of junk because I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with food, not perfect eating habits.  And I really like chile con queso with tortilla chips.  I’m not a big fan of collard greens.

Honestly, my house will never look like a show room.  Most of what is considered decorative just looks like clutter to me.  I’m too busy raising a family to fool with it right now anyway.

I’m a slacker mom, and I’m proud of it.  My boys are doing a good job of growing up and taking responsibility for themselves.  Why would I mess that up?  They’ve figured out how to practice spelling words and math flash cards without me.

Being Real Makes Room for Joy

Being real and authentic makes me happier.  It makes my family happier.   (in part because i quit buying collard greens to hide the velveeta box.)

We’re busy living the lives we chose rather than pretending to live the lives we think someone else would approve of.

I’m busy being the best mom I know how to be for my kids.  They need a velveeta eating, lizard wearing mom who can light campfires and go spider hunting.  They need a mom who comes home from that, takes a shower, and gets dressed in pink (with mascara and perfume) just to remind everyone that she IS a girl.

Once I accepted that a perfectly decorated house wasn’t a priority for me, I suddenly enjoyed being home again.  How silly is that?

I learned to accept who I am and quit pretending to be anyone else.

It’s a struggle.  But it’s worth it.

What is authenticity?

You can read up on the philosophical or psychological discussions on the subject if you want.  But to me, it’s simple.

Authenticity is me being the same person no matter who I am with or where I am.  I can turn the volume knob up and down depending on circumstance, but I’m not changing the channel.

Make sense?

I challenge you to get real.

I know that’s big and scary.  But I promise it’s worth it.

Think of it this way – When you pretend to be something you are not, you are refusing to accept and embrace who you are.  As you drop the pretends, you embrace who you are. 

(no, that wasn’t a typo.)

Pick one small thing and get real with it.

  • If you hate crafting with your kids, quit pretending that you do.
  • If cooking with your kids sounds fun but scary, admit you need help and find a buddy.
  • If you really stink at decorating cupcakes (i do) quit volunteering to bake them and offer to do what you love instead.
  • If you secretly hate pinterest, admit it and move on.

(this is not permission to go hurting people’s feelings or backing out of promises.  just tell them you won’t make the cupcakes after this round. and i’m still not advocating that you run down the street without your clothes on.)

Do you struggle with authenticity? 

This is Day 23 of 31 Days of Joy in Motherhood.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thishappymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DSC_0036.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

 

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. I love this post! I think it is so important to show our kids who we really are and let them be who they really are as well. I strongly believe in accepting people for who they are and not trying to be somebody I’m not just to impress people. I hope my boys are getting that lesson from me and are always true to themselves. I also hope they will learn (or already have learned) to simply accept other people for who they are. How boring it would be if we all had the thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses!

    • Thanks Jean! If I could teach my boys just one thing, this might be it. Being confident in myself and embracing my strengths and weaknesses took me forever to learn. I can’t believe how much happier I am being me! And yes, once I learned to enjoy being myself, I became much more tolerant other people’s unique qualities.

  2. Yes. Yes, and then, yes. It is so hard to admit that my reality is not the perfect picture I want it to be. I’m working on it. Thanks for sharing your struggles too!

    • The funny thing is, the more I accept that I struggle, the less I struggle. Once I owned up to the whole “pretending” thing, I became so much more at peace with who I am. And the more at peace I am, the less I feel a need to pretend to be someone else.

  3. Some days, being just me is easy. Other days, I really want to be that perfect mom/wife/woman. And I try. Then, when I don’t measure up (cuz I am far from perfect), I’m bummed and down on myself. Figuring out who I am and learning to be happy about the good and working on the bad makes those “free to be me” days happen more often than not.

    • I have that pendulum swing. Sometimes I want to be perfect and I beat myself up because I’m not. Then I get all discouraged and quit and just bum around. So I beat myself up for being a lazy slob all day. But then I find that middle ground where I actually like myself.

      It’s all about understanding my strengths and weaknesses and embracing both. You’re absolutely right. The more accepting I am of myself (all of me), the more of the “free to be me” days there are.

  4. This was a great read. I have 2 small children, my husband is a pastor, we stay very busy, and I feel the “eyes” of many to see how I raise my children and keep my home. It is definitely a struggle to just be me, but I feel like I’m getting more of a grip on that. My house is far from perfect, yet I know other young moms who have homes so clean, eating off their floor might be more sanitary than my table. I do like a pretty tidy home, but I am not a naturally creative person when it comes to decorating. I have to get help at times. I will admit I am my own harshest critic and I do beat myself up on those “not so perfect” days. But in knowing that, I am trying to lean towards my strengths and focus on those. I have children and a marriage that I am beyond proud of, which to me is more important.

    By the way, “Come Over for Coffee” is my sister 🙂

    • Cynthia, I think being a pastor’s wife has to be the hardest job out there. You are always on stage! I wish you could meet our pastor’s wife. Kristi is a free spirit. She rides a motorcycle, goes camping and hunting, and dresses to suit herself. She is amazing. Her kids are grown, and she talks openly about how hard it was when was in your season of life for the exact same reasons.

      Please know that you aren’t alone. And being yourself IS an encouragement to others. There are young women everywhere who would can look at you and feel a little less pressure to keep a perfect house. Speaking of which… let me let you in on a little secret. Those perfect looking houses aren’t so perfect. If you look hard, you’ll find clutter in the closets and dust bunnies in the guest room. Sadly, some of those moms resort to some interesting tactics to keep their house so perfect. (not all of them) I’ve known moms that kicked their kids out to the front porch or a neighbors house daily… if the kids aren’t home they can’t make a mess. I’ve known others that screech and scream and are so busy cleaning that they can’t play with their kids. Perfect isn’t always what it seems, you know?

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