Your Routine: Keeping Up with the Joneses

Hello Readers!  As we near the end of the year, I want to turn our attention to how we perceive others and how we attempt to portray ourselves to others.  Right now, you’re probably neck deep in Pinterest projects, Elf on the Shelf scenes, Christmas family photos, and Advent Calendars.  And you’re probably following at least one mom whose Instagram photos look like a Crate & Barrel kitchen scene or something from Better Homes & Gardens.  In other words, she’s the type of mom that does perfect Pinterest pictures with her kids and projects that you envy and admire at the same time.

I call this woman Mrs. Jones, as in “Keeping Up with the Joneses”.  This is that perfect friend you met that you admired or that blogger whose pictures and projects gave you inspiration.  And most likely, you have tried to emulate her, and you have failed miserably at least once or twice.  And by now you probably envy that woman for her perfect life when yours has fallen apart or you can’t stand her because nothing ever seems out of place for her while your life is a frazzled mess.

I get it.  We all have that mom in our lives.  I have my own Mrs. Jones who makes these creative baby foods, uses cloth diapers, has two perfect kids who always listen to her, has the perfect marriage, works full time, and she still has tons of time to spend with her kids.  She never seems to be in a bad mood, and there is nary a hair out of place for her.  Rather than envy her or try to be like her, I tend to turn to her for advice when things get tough.  And she is my best friend, even though I am not the same type of mom as her.

But there are a couple of moms I know out there that appear as Mrs. Jones on their Instagram pages or social media but often are not that way in real life.  I know this because of my own experience with a couple of them.  At first, this irked me because I know the truth about them.  It often made even me feel like I was a terrible mother since my own parenting style wasn’t the same.  And I wanted them to be real.  But I suddenly realized, when my husband Ryan pointed it out to me, that even I try to do that.  Even I attempt to portray Mrs. Jones on my social media.

Yes, I did cloth diapers, but it didn’t last past our son Sean’s fifth month.  I had been sick with a cold, as had he, and it was easier to change a blow out with a disposable diaper than a cloth one.  And once we were better, we never went back to cloth.  Yes, I did make my own baby food, but it was just as easy as purchased food.  I stuck to the same foods for the most part: sweet potatoes, bananas, squash, apples, and avocados.  These were very easy to dice up and steam and blend, and later it was just as easy to dice up finely and steam for a solid food option.  And as Sean got older we easily made the transition to our solid food options as well as adding in our yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, diced fruit cups in water, eggs, and graham crackers.  And, yes I have been a Stay at Home Mom who takes tons of pictures of our son every day.  Yes my house is fairly clean every day.  But I also often envy moms who leave the house every day and have a break from their kids from day to day.  And as for my home, it’s a great way to get exercise when I’m home all day by cleaning.  As a bonus, it has become a game with Sean and I to chase me around or for me to chase him around while cleaning.

But my point is that even my own life isn’t Pinterest-worthy.  Even while I write this blog with my ideas, my life isn’t perfect.  I gained far too much weight during my pregnancy that has been tough to get off since then.  I have my bad days, too, which makes it tough to stay upbeat around my son.  My husband and I have our fights.  And I have my frustrations with my life.  And so, when I really started thinking about it, I realized that even I can’t be envious of other moms.  I can’t get frustrated at how perfect their lives may appear when I have my own facade and my own issues.

I realized that all moms, even my own Mrs. Jones, have their own frustrations and heartaches.  And once I realized that, I stopped trying so hard to portray a perfect life.  I stopped trying to emulate my Mrs. Jones.  I stopped feeling frustrated or envious of other moms.  And I started to appreciate what other moms do for their own families.  I realized that there isn’t a perfect parenting style.  If our kids are alive and well at the end of the day every day then we are doing the right thing.  And that’s all that should matter.

So, next time you see the posts of perfect pictures from your own Mrs. Jones, take a moment to stop and appreciate all that she does for her family and remember that she may be fighting her own demons that you may not know about.  And remember: you may be a Mrs. Jones for someone else.

Until next time,

-BBM

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