I don't wake up early and make pancakes before school; instead, mornings in the Fisher home are a mad scramble to get everyone out the door looking moderately presentable. Breakfast often consists of drinkable yogurt in the car, maybe accompanied by a muffin or an apple if we think to grab them. There are no bento boxes in our house; my 8-year-old daughter makes her lunch every morning, much to her own chagrin. She is also responsible for folding her clean laundry and putting it away in her drawers, cleaning up after the pets, and bathing herself. Dinner is our most organized meal of the day, but we almost always consume it on the couch while watching an episode of Murdoch Mysteries or Doctor Who.
Our house does not consist of curated bookshelves, and lord knows our living room does not belong in a magazine--with a piglet and a dog running around, it's hard to keep the blankets folded and the floor free of chewed up toys or bones. Little A's room has no tipi, bunting, or even matching furniture. Her walls are covered in posters of Ever After High and Descendants characters, canvases she has painted herself, and a cheesy photo of a kitten that she adores. Her bookshelves are overflowing, and I have yet to figure out how she organizes her library.
Rarely do I wear makeup, and 95% of the time my hair is coiled into a bun. My fashion sense is a mixture of classic, trendy, and "hey, this is clean!", and my shoe aesthetic runs from Converse low-tops to strappy sky-high heels with gold details. My daughter has inherited my laissez-faire approach to fashion and requires reminders to brush her hair each day. She loves to dress up and shop for clothes, but most mornings she pulls on her favourite pants and t-shirt in her wildly unimpressed, still-half-asleep state that I completely relate to.
It's taken a long time for me to accept the person that I am. My anxiety and OCD result in me fixating on odd details when cleaning, such as the order of books on a shelf or how my plants are arranged on my dresser, while entirely ignoring an over-flowing laundry basket or a stack of mail on the counter. My obsession with organization clashes with my eternal exhaustion, resulting in a constant internal struggle with myself. On a good day I will pull myself together enough to put on eyebrows and coordinate an outfit more exciting than dress pants and a sweater, getting everyone to school and work with time to spare. Then, after being a productive and happy member of the workforce, I'll get everyone home and fed without issue. On a bad day, however, everyone is late, someone has forgotten their lunch or snack, and dinner is nothing more exciting than ramen noodles--and everyone has an early bedtime.
I used to beat myself up for not living up to the standards that I, and society, have decided are the norm; each day that I showed up at work without a full face of makeup and a head of perfectly tousled curls would have been hiding in my office, afraid that I'd be labeled a slob or lazy. Each parent in the drop-off line that was statuesque and beautiful, their child with intricately braided hair and a trendy outfit, carrying their carefully-planned bento box lunch, made me feel like I was stealing my daughter's idyllic childhood by not pushing myself harder to meet these arbitrarily-drawn finish lines.
Instead of competing with these other women, and punishing myself for failing, I'm cheering them along from the sidelines--wearing leggings and a hoodie, eating microwaved non-organic popcorn. I'm much happier here, and isn't that the point of life?