Friday, November 14, 2008

Fitting In

I read a fair amount of blogs - this should not come as a surprise to you. Some of them are vastly more personal and introspective than others. But nearly every single one offers some kind of glimpse into the author’s life. A glimpse not offered by any other medium. People write about many of the same things I write about - kids, husbands, house projects, shopping trips, etc. Often they post pictures to further illustrate their stories. I find it all deeply fascinating.

But also, I feel like a bit of an alien at times.

I love looking at their houses. I love seeing the way they decorate for Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter. I love ooohing and aaahing over their gorgeous homes, adorable nurseries, decorated laundry rooms. I see the pictures of their privately made personally designed crib bedding and I start to feel it.


And less.

By no means do they have any intention of making me feel less. I wouldn’t for a minute believe they sit down at their computer and think about which picture which will make me feel most out of place. Shoot, they most likely don’t even know my name or that I am reading their blog. I am the peeping Tom in a way and they really have no responsibility to make me feel comfortable. I don’t expect them to. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m the odd one out.

Reagan has one single blanket with her name monogrammed on it and it was a baby gift from Hubby’s employer. Her crib bedding was purchased at walmart.com for around $40. There is no artwork hanging in her nursery aside from a few framed photos that are now nearly 2 years old. The chair in her room does not match anything else in her room. I bought her furniture and baby things as gender neutral as possible because we were hoping to have more children and didn’t want to buy all new equipment and bedding every time.

As for the rest of my house, I have a few Thanksgiving decorations, some Christmas decorations, and no Easter decorations. I no longer decorate for Christmas “upstairs” because I don’t have the patience to police a Christmas tree with breakable ornaments dangling from every limb. I barely have the patience to police the fake pumpkins sitting on top of our dining room table. We don’t have any artwork aside from the professional and unprofessional photos adoring our walls. All of them in walmart-purchased frames. Our coffee table is the oldest and most beat up piece of furniture in our house. Our kitchen needs some work. Our bathroom needs it worse. There are several windows which have blinds, but no curtains. Sure, I have some decorations. I won’t for a second deny that. But its no where near the showcase home level. More and more my decorating style leans toward the practical and less toward the wow.

And as far as clothing goes, I’m a clearance rack shopper. I really have a hard time spending more than $20 for any one piece of clothing. I don’t buy outfits. I buy a shirt that will go with black or khaki or denim pants that I already have. I wish I had a more attractive and sophisticated hairstyle, but I have what works and what I can handle. Hubby hasn’t bought new clothes in over a year. Reagan wears a lot of garage sale and hand-me-down items - some of them quite worn. I have some new things for her, sure. But not many. As I watch her play at her daycare, I become more concerned with comfort and clean-up properties than I am about the cute factor.

Do I say all this to pass judgment? Certainly not. I do not claim to be doing the “smarter” or “wiser” or “better” thing in any of those regards. We’re simply doing what is right for our family, just like all those women are doing what is right for theirs. I do feel some pressure to fit in with those lives, but the pressure is entirely from me. Not them.

So why write this? I considered a few times saying something like, “I don’t need Reagan to look like a little princess every day of her life for me to know she’s beautiful. I think she’s beautiful just the way she is.” And I do think she’s beautiful just the way she is. But making a statement like that implies other parents don’t have the same feelings, which I am sure is not true. No, I write all this for those of you who might read a bunch of blogs like me; who might scroll through the internet and look a bit longingly at all the gorgeous homes, perfectly dressed children, and designer jeans purchased for $75 on sale. I write this because I want you to see the other side of the coin. That its not wrong to be like me. That there are people who live a little differently, who maybe have a lot less, who don’t decorate by season or holiday, who buy the cheapest clothes they can find. I want you to know that even though I feel pangs of jealousy and envy here and there, I am content with exactly what I have. And if you have a little less that others, I hope you feel welcome and at home here - looking in on our lives and our little corner of the world. Because no amount of stuff or no lack of things ever changes the amount of love in a home. That’s what matters.


all up in each others bizness said...

oh screw fitting in.........i'm all about practical....don't have a decorating bone in my body nor do i long to....its great for those that enjoy it...but i find happiness in other things :)

Satan tries to discourage us whenever he can.......i'm having company tonight.....and we will be sitting on folding chairs......i need a dining room set........but would i rather not have company to hide this fact or have the company and enjoy my night...if they want to judge me because of my chairs thats on them :) they won't there my friends and could care less........

people that have time to judge others by clothes and houses etc don't have enough to do!!!

my house is FULL of things you can't buy.....smiles and laughter and love!


Miz Jean said...

I just love your personality, Alyce! I wish we lived closer so I could come over and sit on your folding chairs :)

all up in each others bizness said...

i would love to have ya....come visit anytime :)

Laura Ann said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and I enjoyed this post. You are so right, your daughter is BEAUTIFUL and so blessed.