Last week a new friend of mine asked me this question: “Leslie, how do you do a full time gig, your website, get your kids to dance and still remain standing?”
At first, I was flattered. I work from home by myself most days. Any sort of communication throughout my day is welcome, and when it comes in the form of flattery, that’s extra icing on my gas station donut. But then my new friend’s words made me think.
Was she really sending me a compliment? Maybe she thinks I do too much, and because of that my kids are overlooked and my house is a tornado and my car is falling apart and I have moldy sour cream in the back of my fridge.
The last three statements are correct. That sour cream has been sitting in the fridge since September, maybe longer. The first statement is not. That was my own head passing judgment on myself. It happens sometimes. I bet it happens to you, too.
It’s funny how someone can appear so put together in the public eye, but at home their life is a different story. Things are good in my life. I hope things are good in yours, too. But what friends and business acquaintances and strangers don’t see is that I can’t possibly get everything done that I want to do each day.
The clean laundry piles up. We’re talking 7 or 8 maybe 10 loads at one time, sitting on my floor in our unfinished basement. Sometimes my cat lays on it, likely after he used the litter box that I likely haven’t changed in a few days. And yes, I still wear those clothes.
The car falls apart. I hit a trash can and an opossum last fall. I wrote about it in this column for all you fine folks to read. The trash can took out my passenger side mirror. The opossum took out my fog light. Thirteen months later, they still aren’t fixed.
I pay for a monthly gym membership that I haven’t used since June.
My kids eat tator tot casserole, turkey sandwiches, cereal and frozen waffles on a weekly rotation.
I think you get the point.
No one can do it all. I remind myself of this each time I see a perfect picture on social media outlets or in magazines or on that Christmas card in my mailbox.
It’s an illusion and that’s OK. Sometimes we need that to make ourselves feel better about the imperfections we encounter on a daily basis. At night, when I should be folding laundry, I’m reading a book to my kids, or watching a movie with my husband. Those are the things that really matter in my life. What’s another load of laundry on top of the eight already there? It can wait.
Here’s how I answered my friend’s question: “I don’t get things done. I forget things, such as really important papers for my daughter’s class. And then I find out in meetings, the meetings that I lead, that I forgot to turn in that paper that I encouraged all parents to turn in.”
Did that sentence make your head confused? Mine, too.
This holiday season when you drive by the home with the perfect holiday lights or receive a Christmas card in the mail with a perfectly groomed family, smile at the loveliness of their efforts and then take comfort in the fact that they likely have at least one moldy leftover hanging out in the back of their fridge.