I’ve been having a visit from the green monster of jealousy lately. The more I focus on it, the more it grows and the worse I feel. I want to live with more purpose and intent. I am in control of my life and happiness. Sure there are opportunities that some of us get from time to time but it takes action to make things happen. On the outside, others may seem like things just fall into place but that’s rarely the case. Things take hard work, dedication, courage and sometimes a little luck. Perspective Can Change Everything.
While we were growing up, I remember that someone told my mom that she must have homemade brownies waiting for us at home everyday and was a perfect mom. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mom. She did a good job raising us, especially as a young, single mom but she was not this person’s version of a mom, at least not everyday. Hearing that and even thinking of it now, makes me chuckle. I think misperceptions like that happen even more so now that we live in such an online based world. For the most part, we put things out there that we are proud of, a polished snapshot of life, etc. There are perfect moments in every life but rarely do things look the we see them online, all the time. It’s just not possible when you are living life. It’s important to keep that in mind, especially while pursuing the perfect world of Pinterest. Don’t let other’s perfect snapshot make you feel like any less or lacking.
Again, when I focus on these perceptions I have of others and how perfect or easy they seem to have it, I need to always keep in mind that I only know a version of their story, the one they want to share. Often times, the one they have styled and organized, and sometimes even photoshopped, to give an illusion of a more perfect place or experience. We are all humans, we have struggles and pain. We have perfect moments, yes but often inches out of the view of a picture is a whole different world.
For example, I shared a DIY – Photo Backdrop Stand a while back and I showed a behind the scenes look at our old house. If you look at the kitchen counters, the tables, there is stuff everywhere. If I just shared the pictures of my son above, it gives the illusion of a nice clean and organized house. Now that was the point of the backdrop stand and the reason I shared the picture. When I post other DIY projects, recipes, etc., I rarely share that. Not because I want to hide necessarily but because it doesn’t fit the post. Just keep that in mind. There are things going on in the background, physically, emotionally, etc. of every situation.
One area I have been especially jealous lately is not having a house. We live in a small 900 square foot apartment and I sometimes feel ashamed or embarrassed of that. My baby doesn’t have her own room and sometimes I feel like we are depriving her of a beautiful nursery like my son had when we brought him home. We used to have a 3 story home, it was a town house but it was ours. I could improve on it, paint it, etc. and to be honest I really miss the space, especially the kitchen and counter space. But instead of focusing on how cramped things get, how old it feels, how musty it can get in the rooms of this apartment, I need to remember the positives that it has and that we are making this choice for many intentional reasons.
1- We have a roof over our head. We provide that for our kids. It’s our job and we are are meeting it. My kids are so young, they really don’t even have any idea they aren’t in a house. They don’t care. My daughter would rather see me than be separated from me so room sharing is a good thing for her right now and when we get our room back for just the two of us, we will appreciate it that much more. I do little things to make the space hers for now, but while she is so little, in this fleeting moment we are providing her something she loves.
2 – We live within walking distance to my husband’s work, which means he is home almost instantly after work and almost everyday for lunch. I think I would feel much more isolated and alone being a stay at home mom (SAHM) if I didn’t get time with him as frequently as I do. Plus I sure like the guy and enjoy spending time with him so it’s become our way of life to spend most all of our time together.
3 – Being so close to my husband’s work also also allows for us to be a one car family, something I never thought was possible.
4 – Zero maintenance. Something stops working, I make a phone call. It’s handled quickly and at no cost to me.
5 – The rooms are actually quite big. My mother-in-law described our place as a box, and really it is just one long box but I don’t feel cramped daily (except maybe the kitchen). For our little family, right now, it doesn’t feel outgrown or like we are bursting at the seams. The layout utilizes the space well and better than most apartments we have seen before.
6 – Having a small kitchen has helped me learn to be more creative and resourceful. I cook almost every meal. Sometimes breakfast is cereal, but a lot of the time it’s eggs and toast or something I need to actually cook. I cook lunch everyday. I cook dinner most everyday. Usually with lots of fresh items that need to be washed, chopped, prepared, etc. (we are trying to be more “clean” eaters) and various appliances or pots and pans. But I’ve found I can use my kitchen table as extra counter space, plates can sit in the microwave until I am ready for them, etc. One pot meals are my favorite thing. Where there is a will there is a way. I think ultimately, the experience in this kitchen is going to make me SO GRATEFUL when we do have a bigger kitchen. I had no idea how lucky I was before!
7 – We have bigger goals than a house in this area. We hope to relocate a little closer to Stephen’s family – across the country wasn’t enough, we want to be “weekly Sunday dinner” close. By living in an apartment, we have so much more flexibility to quickly move without the stress of selling a home. We will pretty much be able to up and leave with a small fee. That’s a real goal and something we are getting closer to each month as Stephen works hard in his position to make that happen. That is very valuable.
8 – We live a lifestyle that allows me to be a SAHM. I am able to play and teach my kids everyday. I am becoming a pro tickler and cuddler. Of course, I was good at it when working outside of the home and that was very fulfilling for our family but I used to day dream of being at home and I am living that now.
9- Being at home has opened a world of opportunities that I didn’t even imagine. I have the opportunity to be creative everyday. I am learning to better market myself and keep my own client list active. I am my own boss and while I don’t pull in a huge income, I love that I am able to contribute to our family so much; both in caring for my children and a little financially. It keeps me sane, helps keep up my skills for if I ever do re-enter the traditional workforce, allows extreme flexibility with how we can spend our time, etc. I don’t think I would trade my day-to-day for a bigger kitchen.
When I lose sight of these things, I find myself dissatisfied and feeling almost entitled, like I deserve more. But in reality I have a wonderful life and perspective can change everything. One day we will have the other things I dream of. I never want to stop dreaming or having a desire to improve. I don’t want to become stagnant in my own life but I sure can learn to better adjust my perspective and appreciate the things I do have, while I actively work to achieve my goals.
Writing this out helps me remind myself of what truly matters and how I can find satisfaction in what I already am blessed to have. If you are feeling jealous or lacking, I would encourage you to take a minute to think about what is causing that and try to focus your energy on the positive side of it. You will feel better, I promise. Revisit the list when you need a boost. We will all be on our way to a better, more intentional life.