Joyfully Imperfect

Photo by Alex, age 2 (identified by blue footie pajamas), who secretly swiped Mama's camera and replaced it after documenting cats and messes throughout the house

I’ve gone and done it again.  I’ve stumbled onto one of those blogs that has suddenly convinced me of what a total deadbeat I am.

You know the ones.  With perfect PhotoShopped children in perfect homes with handmade, organic, felted toys and descriptions of blissful daily joy.

I should know better.  I know those places don’t really exist.  I know Disney bluebirds don’t circle that mother’s head as she happily bakes bread every Saturday and her children laughingly play at her feet.

But the pictures…

But the descriptions of the days…

Suddenly I was sitting in my messy house with my children up way past when most people’s children are sleeping and feeling so inadequate.

And then I wondered if anybody ever wandered in here and accidentally got the impression that WE live that sort of life — all fairy doors and mud puddles and those ridiculous bluebirds.

So I’m here to tell you that we are not that sort of family.  This is not that sort of a house.  I am not that sort of a mother.

I try to say it fairly regularly and I try to include photos of the dirt and crumbs and stained shirts and chaos, but probably not enough.  I know how easy it is to sit on the other side of the monitor and imagine.

So once again, I’m posting a full disclosure post.

We are messy, loud, tacky, goofy and more than occasionally irritable.  The children bicker.  Their hair is usually messy.  My hair is usually messy.  My husband is half bald but the hair he has left is usually messy too.

My back yard is presently decorated with artificial Christmas tree parts that our neighbors gave us to craft with.  My six-year-old has used them to decorate the swingset, the lawn chairs, the lawn swing and several planters for “Christmas in April.”

I don’t know about those other mothers and what their homes and families are like.  I’m fairly sure they mean to inspire and not depress with those posts and pictures.

I have learned to read just enough of those blogs to get motivated — to clean the front porch, to try to bake bread in the bread machine tomorrow, to try that craft — but not too much that I start to think that I need to try to be that.

I’ve learned that I’m okay with not being perfect.  I like our loud, messy, crazy home.  Sometimes there’s yelling, sometimes there’s chaos, sometimes there are tears.  That’s real life.  But there’s also a whole lot of laughing and silliness and cuddling and talking and living the most perfect life for us.

Self portrait of the artist/thief, with runny nose



Filed under the big stuff

15 responses to “Joyfully Imperfect

  1. Mwah!!! And that’s why we love you !! 😀


  2. Kez

    lol – less kids, but the same deal here 🙂 I usually have to move dirty dishes or something out of the way before I take our photos 🙂

  3. sarah russell

    THANK YOU!!! you just described my home life with my 4 kids perfectly. My children are all young (under 6) and I always read your blog and see how wonderful your older girls have turned out and it makes me smile, hoping my “laid back” way of parenting will produce a similar result!! Thank you for being okay with doing it your way, I salute you!!

  4. Shawnna

    What a great post! It sure is hard to feel adequate with some of the blogs out there. I love how *real* your family is 🙂

  5. Aly

    Thank you so much for posting this! I stumble across those types of blogs as well and I, too, begin to feel the inadequacy of my mothering skills. But you remind me every day of what matters most and it is not having perfectly behaved children or a home in pristine condition.

  6. Thank you for this! It’s true – you get all wrapped up in what’s presented in blogs and it’s like reading fashion mags! 🙂

  7. Magical Childhood

    Thanks ladies! And Jessica, that sums it up perfectly. It is just like reading fashion magazines. I’m glad to have such good company in the chaos. 🙂

  8. What a wonderful, beautiful blog post. Over the past 2 months I’ve been visiting to your blog but have not commented until tonight. I love your honesty (and that little runny nose is precious… ) I’ve been blogging for about 2 months and now I wonder if I should be a little more honest, too (no fairy dust sparkling in my messy hair or blue-birds perched on my shoulder twittering a merry tune, either!) Thank you for a lovely post…

    • Magical Childhood

      Margaret, your blog is lovely. I love the garden posts and the mix of things you write about. 🙂

      • Thank you — I’m so glad you like it… I have a few posts in mind which have been inspired by some of your posts. I’ll be giving you full credit for the inspiration (of course) & when they’re up I’ll be sure to send you the links!

  9. jaya

    love this post.. not the full disclosure, but the “happy to be who i am” part. thats why we love you! because you are a creative, imaginative, lurve your kids, and make their lives (and ours) magical.

    we all have busy lives , we all prioritize. if somebody can do a fashion-mag life, well, good for them- but that will never be me. and i dont want to be that.

    so, thanks for this post. … and thanks for the inspiration you give into our lives 🙂

  10. Pam J W M

    I truly *love* this. I do exactly that – visit blogs and then feel deeply inadequate as a mother and homemaker. The other houses, so clean, so nicely painted and furnished. All the handmade, organic, and European toys. It makes me feel so bad, I lose sleep. I really needed to hear that it’s ok to be messy, live in a messy house, with messy kids.

  11. Rebecca

    Oh I just love you.

    We have some organic European toys. They are dirty and they have snot snail trails on them. When my oldest was a baby, we visited some friends of ours who have ten kids, who had a big pail of wooden blocks. I noticed they were the same as our blocks, but instead of being pristine like ours, they were really marked up and dirty. Now, three children later, I looked at our blocks yesterday, and said, hey, they’re starting to look like that family’s blocks! I felt proud.

  12. oh indeed – photo shop blah and how about just enjoying the muddy mucky bits anyway – hoo har – they probably aren’t having any fun!
    Great post.

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