Idealism Vs. Reality

Being a mom is a tough job! I would be so bold as to say that being a mom is THE toughest job in the world. I’ve been thinking a lot these days about parenting and about idealisms vs. reality and how I can get so hard on myself for not doing everything the way I would like to, or how I plan and picture things should be. I have been waking up earlier than the kids lately so that I get some “me” time to do what I need to do to set myself up for the day and the task ahead of mothering these amazing beings that are in my care (quite a tremendous responsibility).

When I wake up in the morning, I generally have all of these ideas of how I want the day to go. I imagine and plan out what we are going to do, like read certain books, maybe take a walk, go outside and have a picnic or go to the park, do some crafts, teach them some schooling, have home cooked meals, do recipes, get some quiet time. In my ideal world, the kids are all happy and cooperate with me and go along with my plans smoothly. We all eat our meals together and no one is picky or fussy or whiny. The house stays clean and organized. Life is oh, so, good.

Then the day actually starts.

To my dismay, the day is not at all like I had planned and pictured it to be when the kids wake up. In fact, it generally starts out the exact opposite of peaceful, usually with a toddler crying upon waking up to a really dirty diaper. I am still not awake and ready to deal with everything the day has planned for me (the tests of patience and goodness, the learning to let go, etc.) as I am trying to calm the toddler, rinse out the diaper and also wake up two sleepy girls. Then it is time for breakfast. Even breakfast isn’t all simple and successful. Everyone wants something different. Autumn wants cereal, Kesa wants toast with peanut butter. Serafina won’t eat anything I put in front of her (she even throws her food on the floor), because she is still upset from the upset she felt upon waking and I myself am starving. The stress of the day has already come upon me and I am realizing how far from the idealism my reality is.

This is not everyday of course, but this is an example of how a day can be. Most days are good and things do go swiftly and peacefully. My point in writing this today is that life is life. Everybody, everybody’s life and every day in each of our lives is different. I know a lot of mom’s compare themselves, their children and their lives to each other and it SUCKS! Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we set these high standards for our parenting, our children and our lives? It is sooo easy to do too, with all of the parenting advice and different mom blogs on homeschooling, mothering, food and recipes, etc. It is hard for anyone to know who they are and what their reality is.

I realized about a year ago how hard I was making life for myself by trying to live up to these ideals and follow certain parenting or homeschooling methods. I wanted to have the life portrayed by others on their blogs or internet sites. I was driving myself crazy trying to do it all, (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeschooling, spending time with the kids, cooking and baking everything vegan and organic, trying to keep in shape, finding time with my husband, finding time for myself, keeping a clean home) until I realized I can never do it all perfectly. If I want to keep in shape or do my hair or make-up, I will have to sacrifice time spent with the kids or cleaning. If I want to spend time with the girls, I will have less time for cooking or cleaning or for myself. If I want to have home cooked meals, I will have to sacrifice the house staying clean or time spent teaching or getting outside. If I want to sit and write a blog post, that again takes time in my day and other things get put in hold. These are examples of the sacrifices we have to make, if we really want to focus on one area of our life and how we will have to learn to really prioritize our time if we do want to make it all work in a day.

The reality is that nobody’s life is picture perfect. People with blogs are not portraying their complete reality. They show one side, like the homeschooling part and it looks all glorious and peaceful and perfect, but maybe their homes are a mess or healthy, organic foods and home cooked meals are not a priority to them. Maybe other family’s make meals and family time a priority and they don’t spend much time on themselves or their appearance. The point is that nothing can all be perfectly perfect. Something has got to give.

From my blog, you probably have an idea of the way that our life is and it may be far from the reality. I don’t do everything perfectly, but I have been learning ways that I can make what matters to me work in some form of balanced way. I do love a clean home, healthy organic, vegan meals are important to me and my husband, I want to make sure the girls are using their minds and being creative, even if we aren’t exactly doing homeschool “properly” or to the standards of other blogs or certain methods.

The number one thing I find is so important for my sanity is to not look too much at other people’s blogs or take on different ideas and opinions from parenting books or websites and compare myself to others because my life is my life. My values are my values, my beliefs are my beliefs and I find that when I do start looking at those things, I tend to forget about our family’s priorities and uniqueness and our living reality and somehow fall into the trap once again of trying to fit a certain mould or do things the way I saw or read vs. what I feel is right or how the moment is actually presenting itself in life.

Maybe the kids are just fine making up their own imaginative games, but I feel like I need to do a craft that I saw somewhere. Usually when this happens, they immediately are not interested and it is as though I am forcing them to comply with what we are doing and trying so hard to make it fun and interesting. Meanwhile, in reality they were doing fine until the idealism snuck in on me and I started to try and change the already perfect situation because I felt that I had to make it better than it already was.

Another example is that maybe everyone is just fine with eating simple things and different things on a given day. One person wants cereal, another is OK with a sandwich, Craig is cool with leftovers, I am OK with oatmeal, but I feel like we should be having a “proper meal” and all sit together and eat at the same times and be that picture perfect happy family around the table. This never really happens to my ideal though because my husband’s shifts change every two weeks and we are up at different times, we are not hungry at the same times or for the same things. Here I try and control the whole meal situation as I see it portrayed in other people’s lives or on blogs or magazines, but for us it is just not always a picture perfect reality.

Here is how I have learned to prioritize better. My priorities, in order are:

  1. Organic, vegan foods are important. Meals together are best, but if it is just sandwiches, cereal, or oatmeal (still made with organic, vegan foods), then I am OK with that. Rhythm to our meals is important too. We eat 5 times, 5 small meals a day.
  2. Homeschooling the girls one on one, reading together to learn the lesson and taking the time to explain and illustrate the points to them is most important to me. If I don’t have time for that in the day and they end up just “doing work”, playing, coming up with their own crafts, or spending a lot of time outside, I am OK with that. For us, it is about allowing our children to be children and to provide a way of educating them without force, dogma or standardized testing. We have a more spiritual view of the world and each individual child vs. a material/scientific viewpoint.
  3. Getting up earlier than the rest of the family to do prayer, meditation and journaling helps me to start my day off right and with a more relaxed and peaceful attitude. I am better able to deal with the little stresses of the day when I begin my day contemplating the bigger picture. If I can’t do that, I at least have to do yoga at some point in my day (morning is best) or get outside for a walk to keep my sanity.
  4. Keeping up with the housework throughout the day is important to me. I like my home to be clean. It makes me feel better. Sweeping after each meal and doing the dishes after each meal, cleaning as I cook are all important to me. If I can’t find the time to clean as I go or throughout the day, I at least clean up before bedtime so that in the morning my home is clean when we wake up.
  5. Spending time with my husband everyday is important to me.
  6. Spending time all together to go for a walk is great when we can find the time.

Some sacrifices I make to meet my priorities are:

  1. I stay home with the kids to be able to homeschool, make our vegan, organic meals and keep a clean, peaceful home. We live off of one income. We do not buy more than we need. We walk everywhere and do not use our vehicle, unless we need to (mainly to get groceries every two weeks). We do not own a home. We use cloth diapers. We buy second-hand. We are OK with living with less.
  2. I do not take time for make-up, hair or dressing up in the day. I stay in comfortable clothes and keep my face natural and wear my hair in a ponytail. I exercise and eat healthy, but do not focus a great amount of time and energy on the outer physical appearance. I care more about holistic health than aesthetics.
  3. I go to bed early. I go to bed as soon as I can so that I can get up early and do prayer and meditation. This takes from the time that I could maybe do other things, like be with my husband, since he is always up late, but he is understanding.
  4. In order to maintain a spiritual outlook, we have chosen to live a more conscious and cautious lifestyle. We don’t watch T.V. or movies or follow the latest trends or “news”. There aren’t too many people in our lives who are on the same wavelength as us, because we are vegan and chose to homeschool and live more consciously. People don’t get us, so it can be lonely, but we have each other.

So those are some examples of what I do to try and keep a balance in our life, while still maintaining my priorities and keeping our ideals and values. I think it is great to get ideas from others and be inspired by them. I also understand that other people maybe just want to just blog the good in their lives too or share what works for them, but it is also easy to lose ourselves in taking in too much external conditioning, information, opinions and dogma.

Blogging is also something that I often struggle with. I love to write, but I sometimes wonder who I am writing to? Is it for me or for others, or both? Should I keep it public or make it private? Should I focus on one topic? Should I be less personal when I post publicly? I wonder these things all the time. I hope those of you who do visit my space often enjoy reading what I have to say or the more personal thoughts,or the random mix that is my life. And I hope that you do so while maintaining your own identity and feel inspired not to be like me, but to be yourself and live your life. I hope that you can feel in my writing that yearning for finding myself and my individuality and feel inspired to do that in your own life too. I have always loved to write and so even though my blog is not all about any one thing, I believe that my writings are real and reflect my life honestly.  When I write, I try and not write as though people are going to read it, but write it for myself and if it helps others, then I am grateful. Writing and putting pictures together in a scrapbook-type format is very helpful to me to put my mind in the right perspective and to reflect upon the good and beautiful things in life.

It is always nice to receive your comments and emails! It makes my morning to hear that someone out there can relate to some things I write or are enjoying my recipes. I mean that in a truly heartfelt way. I know I have tried in the past to connect with other bloggers that I felt inspired by, only to be completely ignored and outcast. The blogging community can be pretty harsh! I never could fit in with other bloggers and do the following, visiting and frequent commenting thing. So please know that I recognize each one of you as human and real and I feel connected to you. If you take the time to comment here or email me, I will always appreciate it and reply back to you. I never want people to think I am higher than them or do not have the time. I am human too, just the same, even if I have a blog or wrote a book.

Stay sane. Stay you. Enjoy your reality.

tiffany6

22 thoughts on “Idealism Vs. Reality

  1. I love getting little peeks into your head and heart. Beautiful things always come out. So many good questions you are asking right now, searching for the best way to live out your journey as a mother, not the perfect way, but the best way for you. Prioritizing and sacrificing, isn’t that what motherhood is all about. I like to call it “surrendering”, allowing myself to let go, simplify and in return I enjoy this journey so much more.

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  2. Thank you so much for that post.. I really agree.. Being a mother is hard. I’m a mother to 3 and always trying to juggle everything to give them the best life and then try and not forget about my self. My mother was a great mother.. She was so great to us.. But then I remember resenting her for not doing more for herself. For not loving her self enough. She died when I was 23 and I wish I could have told her how great she was. But I hope I can learn to be as good of a mother as her and also good enough to my self.. In the end being happy is all that matters.. No what makes everyone else happy. Just listen to gut and keep busy. One of my favourite things to do is do child like things with the kids.. Like water fights or running in the waves.. Just pointless fun. Anyway im ranting but just wanted to say I hear you =)

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

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    • Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂 I agree with everything you said! Last night I was feeling kind of sad too and tired and just blah feeling and then the girls came in my room and started making up silly songs. We laughed so hard for so long. Being with them in that sacred space of childhood is an amazing mood booster and just seeing how carefree and happy they are about the simplest of things really helps me to realize how easy it could be to just let go and enjoy the beautiful journey of life. Too bad as adults we somehow forget that and our minds often get in the way. I think we can always learn so much from children. Comment any time. 🙂

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  3. Boy can I relate to that planning how the day would go and then it not turning out that way at all hahaha. I get caught up in the meal thing all the time. When it is just me and the girls I don’t really care what we eat, it can be a mishmash as long as it’s fairly balanced nutritionally. But for some reason when my husband is home (which is most of the time, he works from home) I feel like it has to BE a meal. I was stressed out this week getting ready for Talisa’s birthday party tomorrow. No time to make meals every day when I am making all the party food! He told me to calm down, we can just make-do and eat whatever we can rustle up. So it wasn’t him putting that “meal stress” on me, it was myself. I think it is often we ourselves who put the stress upon ourselves without realizing it.

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    • 🙂 🙂 🙂

      I agree that us women put the stress on ourselves! My husband is always reminding me of how good I am doing and is really not worried about the girls learning and the meals as much as I am. We have to learn to be OK with doing less, but I know our hearts are really just wanting to do the best thing and be the best for our family. Hope your party goes well!

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  4. I said it before, so I will say it again. I LOVE coming to your space!! From the recipes, to the more personal posts you write.
    I too have these same struggles that you write about. Us Mama’s are tough! We do a lot for our families, and also deserve a little “me” time now an again. I also try to do yoga every morning, and I must say it does wonders for my day! Sometimes I feels like I’m being pulled into a million different directions and yoga helps me stay grounded.

    The Blogging world is harsh, which is why I have never blogged. Not sure how i am a type of person to put myself out there like that. But I’m so glad you do Tiffany!! 🙂 You help me see that no, I am not alone in my thoughts. Your family and mine would get along so well. We too are choosing to live our life’s differently than most people around us and I argee it is lonely at times. But look! This interweb has the beauty to connect us with like minded folks and I am so grateful for that!

    Thank you Tiffany, thank you for making me feel once again that I am not alone. Thank you for blogging and thanks for being your beautiful self! Have a great weekend.

    Love and light

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    • Thank you Kahla! I am glad that you can relate a lot to what I write. Yoga does wonders for me too!

      I wonder if I am really the type of person to have a blog because my space is not a typical blog that is all picture perfect together and I don’t like to present myself as an authority on any one subject or like to give any one any advice on how to live their life. I am just living my life and writing about it as I go and I am not sure if that is even worth sharing with the world. But then I get comments like yours and it is such a relief to know that there are others out there with similar thoughts and feelings and that to me is why I do share it and not just have it private. I love connecting with others who are just as real and human as I am and not afraid to admit it to themselves and have connected with so many people from all over the world. It really is amazing!

      Thank you for all of the encouragement and kind words. I really appreciate it! 🙂

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  5. Your words are so true. You write about thoughts that were or are in my mind too. Many years ago I had a completely different picture of how my ideal family day should be. Of course it almost never went this way, usually like the way you write about, so I was very angry. Angry about the things that did not happen the way I wanted them to happen. Angry with me. Angry with the world. But beeing a mom or in generell beeing a human means to learn and to grow by its experiences. I have never been the mom who needed books or other moms opinions to tell me how to love my kids. I try to do everything I do because I listen to myself and my children. I appreciate my life and I try to LIVE. A perfect family day now to me is a day where my children laughed a lot. A day where my children huged me or I huged them. A day where we say that we love each other. Of course, I also love a clean house…but unfortunately I am more the chaos person and so are my kids. Which is reflected in their room. I could spend half of the day to tell them to clean up their room…ending them up in tears and myself doing it…or…I could let it be their room and their decision when to clean it up or how. To spend the precious life-energy that we have on meaningful things and on people we love is more important than “to care about the wrinkles on our jeans”. 🙂 Oh and there is one more sentence that is always in my mind: “You don´t live in a museum. It is your home!”. A friend once told it to my mom, when she was concerned about her living room not cleaned up. 😉

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  6. i love hearing about the real stuff. It can be irresponsible if people look up to a blog for guidance and that person is painting a picture of reality that isn’t. Life happens too! Great post!

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  7. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog. I was browsing through your archives and you have written so many inspirational stuff! Anyway, as a blogger myself, I recently struggled with the writing for oneself vs writing for others dilemma. After musing, I feel that a blog should first and foremost be for oneself. It may sound selfish, but solely writing for an audience turns blogging into a chore and becomes a meaningless task. That side, I try to separate my thoughts (the “I” parts) and the sharing parts (the third party perspective) into separate paragraphs so it is easier for readers to read.

    I’m no mum but after reading your post, you made me appreciate my mum much more!

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    • Thanks Sabrina! I am glad that you found my space. I agree that it is best to write for ourselves. Well, that is the way I feel most peaceful anyway. I don’t feel as though I should be giving others advice about what to do (as though I am the expert on any one subject) or how to live their lives, but write for myself in a way to sort out my mind and reflect on my experiences and if other people can relate, then that is all the more wonderful. I love hearing from people who feel connected with me or share similar thoughts and feelings. It is most important to be ourselves. Thanks for your comment!

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  8. I can relate to feeling lonely at times because of your chosen life style. We are a vegan home, trying to live as consciously as possible while maintain overall happy thankful attitudes. We don’t have a TV and often that alone excludes you from many conversations with family and friends. We are also doing a Natural Unmediated Childbirth in our home in two months and as you can imagine–its been tough. From family especially. They seem to think we are living in the wrong century, when truly, we are just doing what makes us most at peace. It helps to remember how unique everyone is–each person an interesting hue of the rainbow, and while we can not always match perfectly, our contrast truly is a sight to behold.
    Thank you always for your voice. Your optimism is radiant.

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  9. I found your blog looking for a vegan chicken recipe and I am blown away! I LOVE your recipes and am going to order your book. I have every, and I mean every raw and vegan cookbook there is. But there is something about your recipes that excite me and they are superior and different than all the rest. Do you do a meal plan? Weekly, Monthly? That is what I am trying to accomplish now. We homeschool 6 kids and your homeschool pictures are inspiring. As far as others not being on the same wave as you, you are not alone. After homeschooling and being vegan for 5 years I did not realize that I would become an outcast to society and frowned upon. I cared way too much what people thought and now finally I am at a place that this is who I am and people’s opinion of me are irrelevant. I don’t admire the successful family keeping up with the Jones. You are the type of person that get me excited and inspires me. Your blog is a blessing and not in vein!!! Thank You!!

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    • Wow! Thank you for your comment and your kind words Filitsa! I am glad that you found my blog and that you enjoy it so much! 🙂 I don’t really do a meal plan. We have certain meals that we like and I do them in a rotation during the week. In winter I make a lot of soup, so these days that is what we are enjoying. In summer I make lighter meals, like pasta salads and things. I also bake a few times a week to have cookies, quick breads, muffins or cinnamon buns on hand in the freezer to have for snacks or a sweet treat. There are some posts on here that pertain to meal planning, from when I was attempting to be more structured. If you browse under the meal plan posts, you will find more information there. Thank you again for taking the time to reach out. Comment anytime!

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  10. Tiffany, I am really impressed by the honesty of your blogs. I am not a blogger myself but I like to read what you write. I can connect to what is written. In my experience people create a ‘virtual life’ (as I call the life shown by them on the internet) and try to live in that away from reality.

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