I’ve seen this phrase everywhere lately – “Do you.” I’m sure I’d heard it before, but in the last week or two, I’ve seen it written all over the place in every different kind of situation, and it’s been striking a chord in me.
I like the sentiment – “do you” – keep on keeping on, sistah friend. Be who you are. Don’t let anyone change you.
It reminded me of the quote from Eat, Pray, Love – “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” I mean, we all do it, right? I read other mommy blogs and think, “She’s doing it so much better than I am.” I see the moms on my facebook friends list planning parties, sewing costumes, creating fun activities, and I think – why don’t I have the energy for these things? Why am I okay with letting the kids graze on snack foods all day rather than sitting them down for structured meal times? Why do I not pick up all the toys at the end of every day and put them back so that the house is clean and tidy while we all sleep?
The truth is that my priorities are different from yours – or hers – or his. I know what’s important to me, and I let that be my guide. My kids are fed and watered and hitting their milestones and – most importantly – happy. They are so damn happy.
As a mother, it is so easy to fall down the well of comparisons, allowing yourself to wonder constantly if you are doing enough, being enough…
The burden feels extra heavy since I choose to share so much online. The feedback is often deafening. I’ve had more than my fair share of backlash over some of my parenting choices. And since people only see a small sampling of my life, I have to remember that their opinions are based on some staccato version of reality, where large chunks of time and thought and decision are left out of it. But even if they weren’t – if I had the time and inclination to share it all, down to the tiniest details, defending my choices and decisions with a perfectly articulated voice – I still would be in the doghouse. Because people judge based on what THEY know. Even the best intentioned people find it hard to separate their own experience from what they see in yours.
This is why I still judge parents who give their babies a pacifier – though there were times in both my kids’ early months when I WISHED they would take a binky. This is why I shake my head when I see a four or five year old being pushed in a stroller through the theme parks, despite the many times I’ve begged three year old Dexter to get in the pram when I’m tired and just want to hurry back to the car and go home.
We are who we are. We are flawed, we are broken, and we have many faults that we somehow advertise to the world, despite our best efforts to conceal them. But in that way, we are all the same.
The perfect mom that seems to have it all together is exhausted from staying up until 2 AM every night organizing her date book so that everything runs exactly on time.
The same dad you saw encouraging his son to eat off the floor because “it’ll help build up his immune system” is the guy who had no hesitation in jumping in the local pool to save a toddler whose mom had turned her back for just a second.
So go do you. And I’ll do me. Because who the hell else can I be?