What do people want most in relationships? Realness. Is that even a word? Well, it is today.
With all of the social media outlets in today’s world, it is no wonder people, women in general, have a complex about being perfect. It’s hard not to when all you see is the wonderful, spectacular, mind blowing pictures of amazing ultrasounds, college graduations, picture perfect weddings, the chiseled abs of weight loss success stories, and references to the amazing notes left by sweet and adorable husbands to their wives just out of the blue.
I’m not going to lie, I love looking at all of that too, but c’mon, give me a break. Let’s just be real. Those pictures and stories might be real life, but they are not real life every day. Everyday life is hard. Everyday life is tough. Everyday life is all about survival. The false sense of perfection seems to be taking over the internet and some days it’s just quite frankly, a little annoying.
I remember when I was married for the first time about 9 years ago and things started to get rocky. I had this stigma that I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, be a divorce statistic. I mean, we had only been married about a year and half; what would everybody think? I had a plan to do whatever it took to make my marriage survive. I kept my struggles to myself. I would not fail, I never really had before and I couldn’t let everybody else think that I didn’t do enough to “make it work”. I kept all of our issues hidden … for a while, pretending that everything was fine. I believed in my head that every other couple had the same ups and downs. That our relationship was normal … until that one day when I finally realized it wasn’t. Our marriage wasn’t healthy, that I deserved honesty and respect, and that we both weren’t becoming better people by being together, but actually becoming stagnant, unhappy people who were living a lie.
That’s when I decided to finally just be real. To admit my faults. To admit that my marriage was failing. To admit that I needed help. It was the most freeing feeling in the whole word and I have been a much more open and understanding person since that day. I started talking my friends about it and felt like a load of bricks was lifted off of my shoulders. I wasn’t alone. I didn’t have to be.
Now, to say that I still don’t judge or compare myself and my experiences and situations to others would be a flat out lie; that’s just human nature, but I do try to listen more and offer any support that I can based on my own personal experiences. Lord knows I got it when I needed it and have been a changed person ever since.
It’s still so interesting to chat with people and share my experiences and hear them say, “Oh! I didn’t know you were divorced.” It’s like, I become a real person to them, someone who has been through something that is scarring, or painful. Now, please don’t take that last quote as something that I’m proud of, I am definitely not, but I am proud of where it has lead me. I am proud of how is has helped me become the person that I am and the genuine wife, friend and mom that I strive to be each and every day. Not perfect, just real.
If we as women, mothers, friends, sisters, daughters, wives, lovers and everything in between just start to be genuine with one another, everybody could just let that out that big “I feel like I’m the only one going through this” breath out and we could all just get through this thing called life together and not worry about what Facebook thought. Humans take comfort in hearing about the struggles of others, it’s natural and normal. The struggle of life is real, so just be real.
Living with another person is hard. Loving another person is no piece of cake either. Whether you have known each other for 40 years or 40 minutes, there are always things that the other one does that drives you up the wall; like leaving clothes all over the floor, not wiping up the dried toothpaste from the sink, slurping soup. You’re not going to agree on everything. That’s OK. You’re not going to like what your partner is going to tell you all the time. That’s OK. You will have disagreements and you will get frustrated. News flash – that’s normal. You might have to apologize, you might have to admit you were wrong and you might have to take one for the team now and then. It’s a partnership and a roller coaster and it’s worth the ride.
You don’t have to agree or conform to whatever your spouse is saying just to make him/her happy. How boring would that be…and let me tell you from experience … it still doesn’t make them happy. Been there, done that. What you do have to have is the trust and respect in your partner that you can be yourself, ALL of yourself, still be loved. For who you are. You deserve it and so does your significant other. Oh yeah, and lots of laughter helps, too.
My mom always said, “When you have kids you have crap (well, she used a different four letter word, but theoretically it has the same meaning).” You have the actual, tangible crap that takes over your house that goes along with raising a child and you have all of the social/emotional crap that goes along with forming their psyche and hopefully one day producing a grown person that can contribute positively to society. It’s a hard job. It’s not for the faint of heart. If done right it should be the hardest, yet most rewarding job in the entire world. I’m only on year 2 and I couldn’t agree more.
I love my son (and daughter due in September) more than anything in the world. I honestly never thought I could love someone so much (cliché, I know), but every day is not and has not been a picnic. I couldn’t stand the newborn days, breastfeeding was an emotional roller coaster for me and I just didn’t feel like I was good at anything for a while after our son was born. Some days are awful and exhausting and never-ending. Some days are spectacular and amazing and wonderful and most days are just somewhere in-between. Please, moms out there, for the love of all things good, just be real with each other. That’s how we learn to be better, that’s how we learn to cope and that’s how we get the strength to do it all again tomorrow. It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to be the best mom in the whole world, just the best mom to my kids, whatever that may look like.
Finding real, honest to goodness friends is hard. I have been blessed to have friends from all of my walks of life that love and accept me for who I am in the good times and bad. Who support me when they might not agree with me and who encourage me when I don’t have any faith in myself. They are the ones who are next to me in the best of times and hold me up when I hit rock bottom. Be that friend to others and expect that in return. When they ask for advice, tell them what you think, honestly and respectfully. Be real with them and expect realness back.
Please know that whatever life hands you, you’re not the only one going through it. You’re not the only one who will ever go through it others have before you and many more will after you. Ask for help when you need it, ignore all of the perfect Instagram posts if you need to and remember that each day is an adventure, good or bad, an adventure. Get over the fear of failure and what others might think. You’re not alone, please don’t assume you are…you don’t have to be. Just be real with yourself and others, because the struggle of life certainly is.