June 19, 2013

Real Simple

I love magazines and organization ideas. I relax when I see order, method, color-coordinated bins and labels, or (joy!) white boards with neat to-do lists.

This is not my reality.

Reality is finding a recipe for corn cakes (how historic! how representative of colonial America! how educational for my children!), 'making' them, [half]baking them, then eating them. I had no idea corn meal + water was so incredibly, inedibly bland. Really. I cannot overstate this fact. Drowning it in syrup was the only way to get the kids to take more than a single bite.

Reality is having my elder child leave the table, then throw up the tiniest bit of historical culinary America. Not on the floor. Not on one of our books. His stomach expressed its opinion of corn cakes on a library book.

Why doesn't Real Simple or Martha Stewart or Pinterest have articles and photos of things like that? Tumblr's "Reasons My Son is Crying" comes closer to my reality. There are so many times in a parent's day when the parent thinks wildly, "Really?! Of all possible responses to this set of circumstances, my child chose THIS? Should I be worried about their mental function? Should I be worried about mine?"

Memory is a funny thing, y'know. I have no memory from childhood of supper being late, thrown-together, or procrastinated. I don't remember a house with toys strewn about, dust collecting, or pet hair accumulating under beds. When I shared this with my mom, though, she gave me a look of deep disbelief and told me that my memory was flawed. My childhood, she assured me, most definitely had all of the above.

This helps me adjust my expectations. Such updates help me fix a skewed perception of 'normal'. These touch points with reality help me understand that though an IKEA spread is great, my kitchen will never, never, never, ever resemble it for longer than 5 minutes together. And that's OK.

The reality is my life contains mess and disorder and unpredictable hiccups--sometimes several times in the course of a single hour. If it comes down to having an air-brushed magazine spread or having life, I choose the unsimple life.

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