By Stacy Feintuch
My husband had vomit all over his blue t-shirt.
I tried to grab my too full black carry-on bag, but couldn’t. It was under the seat, stuck. When I tugged at it, it flew open, and my things went flying. There were now little bags of mini Chips Ahoy and Cheerios all over the aisle.
My four-year-old daughter had been screaming since we began our descent into the San Juan airport when she vomited all over her father.
I was holding my two-year-old daughter on my hip while she leaned her head against my shoulder. She was half asleep. I was sweating.
All I wanted was to get off this plane.
I looked around at the two other families with whom we were traveling. No vomit. Carry-ons neatly packed and carried effortlessly on shoulders. Kids were holding parents’ hands and walking quietly off the plane.
Why wasn’t that us? Why wasn’t I that mom, the one that breezed through the airport, not to mention the mommy world, effortlessly?
Why was I such a mess?
I tried so hard to be the mom that all my mommy friends appeared to be – perfect. But the harder I tried, the more disastrous it got.
My friends are all such amazing women. They can cook, bake, play sports, and entertain. They make juggling a million things look easy.
They are all beautiful. These are the moms that walk around in their gym clothes all day and look adorable.
They all have immaculate, perfect homes. There is never a drop of dust or a thing out of place.
They are all super involved. Committees, charities, PTA, fundraising – they can do it all.
Plus, they are fabulous mothers.
All of this seems done with very minimal effort. It appears just to flow.
Then there was me.
Do you remember that game, “Which one of these things doesn’t belong?”? I always felt like I was that thing. I was the one with the messy house and the even messier kids. I was never all put together.
When I walked around in my gym clothes, I looked like I had just been at the gym. I was always losing things – my keys, my phone. I would then run around trying to find them, which made me late for everything.
I tried. I wanted to be the one that did things effortlessly, the one that breezes through the day without a hair out of place. For me, it was impossible. The more I tried, the more it didn’t work.
A few years ago, I suddenly found myself a single mom. I no longer had the time even to attempt perfection anymore. Raising my two daughters alone, plus going back to work, kept me so busy I could no longer worry about things like entertaining and fundraising.
I had no choice but to stop trying to be something that I’m not, which was a blessing in disguise. I let go and started to appreciate my unique traits. I am a great mom, whether I can bake a perfect cake or not. My daughters love me, and they are turning into fabulous people. At the end of the day, that is what matters to me.
Once I came to this realization, I relaxed and became myself. Myself is a little different than all my friends. I am not that Type A, perfectly put-together woman. That’s okay.
I remember being the woman I was on the airplane. I was spilling things and sweating because I wanted to be perfect in an imperfect situation. I was trying too hard.
I am finding my way. I now accept the quirkiness that is me. My friends love me for who I am. If I am late, then I am late. I find things that I like to do, and I do them. I have stopped trying to be something that I’m not, and I am just myself.
I have learned to embrace the person that I am. Accepting myself has made me happy. Not perfect, but happy. I have also realized that no one is “perfect,” not even those who appear to be.
Now that I live my life with ease, I cannot help but wonder, “Do any of my friends now wish to be more like me?”
About the Author
Stacy Feintuch became a single mom to her two young daughters after the unexpected death of her husband in 2011. Proud to admit that her girls, now teenagers, are her world, Stacy also makes time to blog at www.thewidowwearspink.com and enjoy her new favorite pastime, yoga. She has been published on Scary Mommy and Her View From Home. You can also find her on Facebook and on Twitter at @stacyfeintuch.