Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

My Life Doesn't Fit in a Box

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

My entire life I’ve had this little voice in my head that said I need to be all of something and that left me with the feeling that I was never enough of anything.

In junior high I played basketball. Those girls were my people and I look back on that experience 25 years ago as one of the dearest and most character forming seasons of my childhood. I didn’t get the most playing time, I hold no records, I will not be remembered for my athletic achievements, and I was, perhaps, a big too prissy to ever be very effective on the court. I also loved my friends, was pretty good in school, and managed to discover boys along the way. I played the game and gave it my all, but I wasn’t all athlete.

In high school I was in band, but I wasn’t that band kid. I loved parts of it and really didn’t care for others. I liked the music part, but I really would have rather spent Friday night football games in the student section. I was in, but I never completely fit into that crowd or any other.

Planning my wedding as a young woman, I kept a binder of ideas and inspiration- this was WAY pre-Pinterest, you guys. I felt like my vision needed to fit into a designated wedding category, but it just didn’t. In the end, our wedding was a little bit of lots of things and 100% “us”. Oh, and when it was over, we were just as married as every other bride and groom, which is the entire point.

Home is my favorite place. I’d rather be here than anywhere else. I share it with my people, and I like it to look pretty. I genuinely enjoy daydreaming about and putting together the space where we spend our life, but I’m embarrassed to even tell you how much sleep I’ve lost over making it just right. Pillows, wall color, front porch wreaths. I spent too many years trying to make it all fit and now I know that what fits is what I love. What we love- me and my family. I don’t need a degree in interior design to create a home where my family is happy. Who cares if the folk-art painting in one room doesn’t really jive with the gold pillow in another or the trampoline in the living room? WHO FREAKING CARES? Nobody. That’s who. The things that we love have organically come together over time to create a style that is all our own and that’s way better than copying any magazine spread.

I love classic rock. Love it. A few years ago, I bought a Rolling Stones t-shirt in a vintage shop in Toronto and when I got home I was nearly embarrassed to wear it because I didn’t feel like I had the credentials. I felt like there were more die hard Rolling Stones fans roaming the world and if I bumped into one of them that they may question me on my favorite song or some particular part of rock & roll history and that all brain cells would surely cease to function, exposing me as a classic rock fraud. How dumb is that? 2019 me would like to slap 2014 me (lovingly, of course) and tell her to wear the flipping shirt and sing Beast of Burden as loud as she’d like and to show no shame if the next song on her playlist happens to be Taylor Swift.

I’ve been mom to three children. I’ve happily been a stay at home mom to them all and I regret nothing. I home schooled our oldest girls and was their full time caregiver for their seven and eleven years of life. It was exactly what I was meant to do and it was exactly right for our family in that moment in time. We now have a four year old daughter and we have every intention of sending that girl to public school. Like, seriously, sign us up. I am still ALL in on this momming thing, but our family doesn’t fit in the same box that it used to and that’s not just okay, it’s completely awesome.

I like driving a truck, but I’m not technically a country girl. I don’t live on a dirt road, I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots, and asking me to pull a trailer might be the biggest mistake you would ever make. (I once helped my husband pull the boat out of the lake and nearly sunk us all. Oops.) But I like driving a truck. I like loading the dog food and garden mulch in the bed by myself and I can do it while wearing a dress and sandals, thank you very much.

I have backyard hens and the most amazing vegetable garden. Our kitchen counters are covered with fresh produce and we all make yummy noises when dinner consists of food we grew ourselves. Also, I love our local Mexican restaurant and if we go too long without ordering pizza, the delivery service sends me sweet little messages to lure me back in.

There are a million examples I could share, but here’s the point. I don’t fit in. I just don’t. I don’t fit in with you or her or them. If life had a filing system, I wouldn’t know where to put myself. Thank God that that isn’t how it works. My people aren’t the ones who look and think and live just like I do. My people are the ones who are happy to be who they are and happy for me to be who I am, too.

I get to be any of the things and the pieces don’t all have to match. MY LIFE IS NOT A PUZZLE BOX IN WHICH I MUST FIT ALL THE PIECES- AND NEITHER IS YOURS. Your pieces may not fit in that box. You may need a different box. You may need a bigger box. You may need a lot of boxes. You may need a box that isn’t a box at all. You can be all of this and some of that and none of the rest- and that is exactly enough to be 100% you.


Follow Happy Like This for more encouragement and perspective on life.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.