Farewell to Pretense

Go tomatoes gooo!

Why, hello there!

Four months of work for this bite.

First bite!

So good and so silly

The tomatoes have officially arrived! I need to get some more canning jars. I see lots of Finny’s prized tomato sauce being made in the next month.

Once upon a time, when I was spending far too much time reading blogs that made me feel completely inadequate, I dreamed of having a garden, baking bread, learning to knit, sewing gifts for friends and living a life with more meaning and less clutter.  With time, I realized all of those fabulous artsy journals that make motherhood (with five children and an adoring husband, bien sûr), a closet full of homemade clothing that look like Carolina Herrera’s latest collection, a spotless kitchen, a gaggle of well-groomed and trained pets, and an organic garden that could feed an army are a bunch of smoke and mirrors. I’ve yet to meet a woman who felt like she had everything balanced. (And yet, we regularly seem to strive to make each other crazy by suggesting otherwise.)  Even my yoga teacher screams into class late most weeks, with a cell phone to her ear and curly hair springing every which direction from her haphazard ponytail.

And so, I’m growing a garden (that may be able to feed an army of ants). I know how to bake bread. I can knit and sew and even do a cartwheel or two, but more importantly the last few years of stopping to journal has taught me to stop, take a deep breath, try to find the centering balance and appreciate the sweetness of life — however it may arrive. A golden tomato, a handful of spring flowers gathered on an early morning run, clean sheets, an ice cold swimming pool on a hot day, watching a child giggle and spin like a whirling dervish;  I’m pretty sure balance is over-rated. I’m not sure what I’d do if work was caught up, the knitting basket empty, the kitchen table actually used for meals instead of a resting place for the countless sewing projects, the tower of books on my nightstand read, and the fridge full of food for the week.  No chicanery here;  I’m swimming in a sea of chaos, but stopping to for a couple cannon balls along the way.


19 Replies to “Farewell to Pretense”

  1. Yeah, I can’t do it all, all the time! I’ve especially learned to be okay with not obsessing over housecleaning (Aiy, the dust in my house currently–boyfriend and niece are to blame, ahem!) and enjoying quality with friends/family instead. You, Kel fit so much into a day and are single-handedly the one person I know who is closest to achieving balance with all the things you manage to accomplish daily! (And, when do you figure out the secret how to be 100% balanced and chaos-free, please share your tips! Ha!)

  2. Some things, like a really great homemade tomato sauce, are balance enough for me.

    Congrats on your tomatoes and all the other things you manage to do so well – if it’s important, you’re able to make time for it. That’s what counts, no? xo

  3. Great pictures!!!
    Was that a teeny, weeny tomato? So cute!

    Many centuries ago I was obsessed with having everything PERFECT. Of course, it didn’t happen an I was always stresses out. Now I take it easy, and enjoy life (Mom says I’m taking it TOO easy when she sees my messy house in the photos).

  4. Woo, hoo! Congrats…. on your garden!
    I planted tomatoes too and some chiles. I love this post because it is so true…. I have read some blogs and seriously I can’t figure it out I have always thought how do people do it? Really, the perfect kids, pets, cooking, household? I can relate to what you are saying. But I have to admit I taught myself to cook, knit, sew, make soap and canning, which is my new love! None of its perfect but its been fun, made with love and I have had fun doing it.

  5. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yet another reminder that maybe I can’t actually hard-core train for a triathlon while simultaneously churning out baby quilts for my fecund friends, knitting to my hearts desire, tending to the veggie and flower gardens, and actually keeping my house somewhat clean?!?! Say it ain’t so! Well, I guess I’ll have to put the crafting on hold for a bit – I’ve got an early wake-up time for a run in the morning! =)

  6. You and your little tomato are so cute!

    I’ve learned that perfection doesn’t always make you happy. I’d rather be happy than perfect anyday. 🙂

  7. Your post is so true. I’ve been running around like a mad woman trying to be perfect and it isn’t ever going to happen. I’ve got to slow down, absolutely must do so in order to catch my breath, hence my balance. Today, on A Happy Miscellany, Mrs. Staggs cautions us to just be ourselves, just as you do. Maybe it will all sink into my core self and I’ll stop trying to be Super Woman.

    Okay, I’m going to just breathe, relax, and not get so crazy about things.

  8. I view a lot of blogs like magazine articles. Nice to look at but not necessary the way I live my life. I might however take something from them and apply it to mine.

  9. When I was younger I thought that I would never set anything for less than perfect. Now I don’t know if I’m wiser, but certainly I’ve learned that life is much better in the slow lane, you have the time to look around and savour the little pleasures it gives to you. I’m still dreaming about more, but “more” now is more time with my family, more time with my friends, more time to read a book, more time to travel. A better job, more money, a better house, these things don’t seem so appealing to me.

  10. this post is why I read your blog. you are so grounded and lovely. It is nice to read what you have to say, how you appreciate things and how honest about things you are. Thank you for always sharing and giving me someone I learn a thing or two from (pst. that would be you!) 🙂

  11. The most precious pics! It’s so great to see a friends true face!….
    I think you’ve summed up balance and found it.

  12. So well said. We keep striving for something perfect that’s unattainable. And actually, as long as it doesn’t drag us down, it’s not all bad – because it keeps us going, it keeps motivating us. If we enjoy the little tomatoes and the glimpses of beauty we create along the way, then I think we’ve got it made.

  13. Here, here Kelli! Thanks for your candor in this post. It’s true that the crafty mama blogs out there have been totally inspiring for me… I and too have obsessed a little, wanting that same kind of “simple” beauty for my family and my home. But why do we as women always compare and compete? It takes so much of the joy out of the “simple” beauty. I had lunch with a woman last week who asked me if I felt the need to be perfect- especially for my blog. When I searched my heart, the answer is yes. BUT there’s maybe more value in candor. We don’t have it all together. We do have days when we loose our cool. And it’s okay that my house is a mess and my kids are currently sitting in front of Bob The Builder while I take a minute on the computer. LOL! I’m so glad to know you, Kelli. You’re the kind of girl I’d like to be friends with in real life. 🙂 hj

  14. LOVE THIS< THANK YOU!! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy a little Kelli blog to lift my spirits! Clean sheets is what I want for mothers day!! LOL just time to take them off and put them in the wash and put them back on is a chore! But OOOOHHHH how I love clean sheets!

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