On Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the pre-screening event for the movie Moms’ Night Out. I was unsure about the movie (the trailer was pretty cheesy/awful) but I never turn down a free night out and I thought it would be fun to drag a girlfriend out and have some fun. Since I have few pictures to support the rest of the post, here is what I wore (please picture that spoken aloud as awkwardly as possible):
The first five minutes of the movie had me second guessing my attendance – a mom who was trying to be a mommy blogger. The main character, Ally, also played Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy started off by launching into a Shondalogue (you know what I’m talking about if you watch any of the Shonda Rhimes shows such as Scandal or Private Practice – her characters go into the longest rants all.the.time – they drive me batty!). By minute six, I was hooked. I can’t recall ever identifying so strongly with a character – most surprising since we had almost nothing in common except for the fact that we were both mothers. That bond is incredible. She stayed at home and I work. She was a clean freak and germaphobe and I am…not either of those things. But everything else – YES. Motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And frustrating. And magical. And disappointing. And you constantly wonder what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into. She was funny and endearing and I totally cried a few times because her experiences were mine – yet expressed so much more poignantly than I ever could.
A theme of the movie was Ally’s frustration about not being enough. When she confessed this to another character (I won’t give it away, but this was my favorite scene of the movie!), they said, “Enough for who?” – letting her come to the realization that the only person she wasn’t enough for was herself.
I think we all can relate to that. Our children are happy and well taken care of. Our husbands love us and we keep a home – some with a little more dust on the baseboards than others *cough cough* – but we’re always harder on ourselves, holding ourselves to a higher standard than anyone else expects of us. Internal pressure is the strongest of all and it can break you if you don’t make peace. Embrace the mess and the chaos and the sticky fingers and the unwashed laundry and the neglected blog. So what if I didn’t work out this week or ate an entire bag of Reese’s Pieces while stuck in traffic or I barely blog once a week – those are little things in a big picture, a beautiful picture. My family is the beautiful, big picture that I always seem to be looking past for more.
I don’t know when they stopped being enough for me. My 30th birthday was yesterday and it started out on a disappointing note. My best friend who shares my birthday was getting whisked away on a surprise trip to Puerto Rico by her husband. Another close friend was surprised with a huge party, planned by her friends and with dozens in attendance. I’d always pictured a big trip away, maybe Vegas or a cruise, and then it becomes tough to coordinate with friends’ schedules and budgets. I was also frustrated since as my birthday gift, Tyler had planned a vacation to Smith Mountain Lake this summer and the people that we wanted to join us weren’t able to make a commitment – after spending hours planning and trying to coordinate, we decided that it was becoming too stressful and it was best to take a step back and try again for next year. I was feeling not enough by comparing my birthday to the birthdays of others. I was feeling not enough by communication issues that ended my hopes for a dream vacation. I was feeling not enough when Guinevere walked in the house and was SO EXCITED (like she is every other week) to discover that our “cleaning friends” had come and cleaned the house because seriously, why can’t I keep it like that all the time when Tyler and Guinevere both comment, every single visit, how happy it makes them being in a sparkling house? I didn’t feel enough because the people in my life that I’d hoped to get a call from on my birthday never called, and because our mailbox was empty, even though I had over 100 notifications on Facebook, most from people I barely knew. I was feeling not enough when I settled for a lower salary this week at a job I love, because someone else I know makes xyz more than me and still loves their job – and all I ever was doing was comparing myself to everyone and never stepping back and looking at my big picture. I spent the day feeling smaller and smaller and less and less valued.
Later that night Tyler and Guinevere and I went out to dinner to one of my favorite restaurants that is right near Tyler’s office. He caught a ride to work in the morning with a friend so that he could drive my car home and let me indulge in a Reverse Swirl Margarita. I forgot to bring the iPad and yet, still, Guinevere was so well behaved that the table of men next to us came over to compliment us on how sweet and quiet she was. She was almost more excited about my birthday than I was, bouncing until it was time to sing and blow out the candle. And Tyler, that sweet husband of mine, walks out of his office with a gigantic bouquet of flowers, even though I always tell him they’re such a waste of money because they die, just because they were beautiful. And sitting in the car, I opened his card and cried at the words he wrote. And then he reached back and pulled out my present (and we don’t even DO presents!) and it was a jacket that I’ve lusted after for forever. The sort of jacket that I think only other people can possibly afford and own, never me – the sort of jacket that I mentioned in passing to him, but never would have dreamed of seriously asking for. And that man remembered and hunted down the exact one he knew I’d love.
Jacket: Vince Paper Leather Scuba Jacket
Later that night as we were talking, I confessed my feelings of being undervalued and apologized for never remembering the only things that matter – how important I am to my family. Guinevere tells me daily that I’m her “best mom ever” and when she hugs me, she manages to hug me tightly with her whole body wrapped around me. I’m not just enough for her, I’m her whole world. I’m married to a man that, even when he walks in the door and I’m wearing no make up with the skin of a 14 year old and have my hair in a ponytail wearing yoga pants and one of his sweatshirts comes over first thing to get his kiss and then slides his hands either up or down – every day, he still finds me desirable. Every day, he always remembers to tell me he loves me, and even though it drives me nuts since he has the worst timing, he always calls at some point during the day just to say hi and talk about our days so far. And without fail, he always remembers something indulgent and expensive and something I think is completely “above” me, such as the Tory Burch riding boots for our anniversary or the Vince jacket yesterday for my birthday, and tells me that I am worthy of those things and deserve them. I’m enough for him, too. And its not just the expensive jacket (that while I felt undeserving of, you’d have to pry it out of my cold dead hands) – its the entire big picture of seeing how valuable I am to my family – how I am so much more than enough for them, I’m everything.
I feel ashamed for starting my day with such a negative outlook, but I’m so grateful for those two loves of mine for always reminding me whats important. And as I texted three of my girlfriends last night, please smack me upside the head the next time you ever hear me complaining – I have the most wonderful life I could imagine, merely cursed with a poor memory, low patience and a wicked green eye 😉