Marc made a comment the other day about whether there’s “something in our house” because as soon as we get home (from vacation, etc) we immediately go back to the cranky, messy, disorganized people we don’t want to be. I said that it’s not the house. I think it’s that when you’re on vacation you think about your daily home life, and all of those thoughts are set somewhere in the future. “When I get back I’ll…” It’s like going to bed every night, when all you can do now is sleep, and you think tomorrow I’ll exercise or clean the house from top to bottom or not yell at my kids so much. Tomorrow. You can’t actually do anything about it laying in bed. There is no opportunity in front of you, no choice to make, only the wonderful hope that, as Marilla Cuthbert said to Anne, “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.”
There is something nice about getting away and getting some perspective on how you live out the hours of your days. This vacation especially allowed me to do that. I stayed in seven different homes of friends and relatives in my 24 days away. And when you see how others live, when you stay in there home, and get a glimpse of their days (even if it’s not they’re “everyday every day” because you’re visiting), it allows you to look at your life in a different way. And it’s not even about comparing people, it’s just about seeing differences. There are so many different ways to live, foods to eat, timelines to operate on, and that’s even noticeable within the different sets of my extended family, let alone when you look outside your own community, culture, nation.
It makes me think again that I need to cultivate the life that I need to live. I need to run my household and make my decisions and leave my messes how I feel it is appropriate and how I see it working best for my family. (“I” meaning “Marc and I”.) Because don’t you find that when one set of people comes over you will, say, put more effort into a fancy meal, or maybe you’ll clean up a bit more, or put on different clothes because that is what those people appreciate? And to some extent that’s fine. But I know that I find myself worrying too much about what other people think and pre-emptively being mad at them for judging me when I don’t measure up in the particular area that I think they care most about or will notice the most. It’s infuriating.
Because it all depends on who you’re with.
Sometimes I’m the mom who spends more money on nice clothes and sometimes I’m the scrubby one. Sometimes I’ve got the messy house and sometimes my place is immaculate compared to others. Sometimes I’m the over-protective parent and sometimes I’m negligent. Sometimes I’m fat, sometimes I’m thin.
But in the end, when you take everything else away and everyone else’s and my own one-sided opinions and judgments away, I’m just me. Messing up and trying to do better. Trying to balance it all and love along the way. And I’m tired of worrying about what other people think about the choices that I make or the way I’ve raised my kids. Thinking about that does nothing but make me bitter and angry and I really want to stop. And just be me.
The funny thing is, I’ve really gotten much better in this whole area, but I’ve still got a long way to go. Stop worrying. Stop judging. And be myself.