Lately, I've been thinking about realities.

Like the reality that you have four pairs of great jeans in your closet, and you can only fit into one.

Or the reality that you deeply love your children, and yet today, you want to physically rip out their vocal cords if they sass you one more time.

This is a complex issue, this living in two different realities — the one that is the best of us and the one in which we are working on it.

Sometimes, we can look at others and see their best reality. Their children are excellent students, and they're not even trying.

Or finances seem to flow like endless waters and they're not even budgeting.

While your reality is scraping, working long hours and still barely making basic ends meet.

Or the reality of a woman whose child seems to win all the school contests of achievement or just seems to know pretty much everything, like exactly where her children's Tylenol is kept. (I attended a meeting at a woman's home when in the middle of a sentence her adult daughter called and asked how long to boil a soft-boiled egg. And she knew.)

Sometimes, this can make our "working on it" reality self feel a little stressed. I'm not going to share an in-depth happy thought that this is a beautiful thing, that seeing our striving self brings needed humility, or that it helps us feel compassion and connection for, and with, others.

Today is simply an observation that it just is, and to save time and stress by openly acknowledging it for ourselves.

For example, years ago, our family was asked to sing in church.

We chose a song about families loving and helping, and hoped the message would subconsciously seep into our children's formative brains.

When we sang the song on the appointed day, it was beautiful. So much so that afterward people came up and expressed extremely kind sentiments.

But instead of saying thank you, what I really wanted to say was, "You should have seen us three hours before." Because you see, three hours before, the scene in our home went like this: With my husband at a meeting, I was running around checking the various stages of dress that each child was in.

Most of them were playing with toys or looking for their shoes.

When I called our six children down to practice the song, the older boys said something like, "This is totally preschool and I'm not doing it," the younger children couldn't stand still long enough for me to form a line and keep it, and in the anxiety of it all, I kept sweating off my make up.

The joyous high point hit when my sons sat down on the sofa and refused to sing at all and I yelled at them to get up and see it through to the end, or some such motivational phrase.

Yes, yelled at them. To sing a church song.

A family-loving-each-other church song.

That's when I started to cry.

So you can see why, to each person who thanked me and looked at me with that "gee, what a wonderful family" look, I wanted to pull down a mammoth white screen and re-run the previous three-hour tour.

This experience has stayed a long time with me (though therapy may have helped, too).

Because now when I see an obvious best reality in someone else, before I have time to feel guilty or feel like, gee, why isn't that my best reality, I remember a song and the three-hour tour before it.

It brings me back to reality.

Lately, I've been thinking about realities.

Like the reality that you have four pairs of great jeans in your closet, and you can only fit into one.

Or the reality that you deeply love your children, and yet today, you want to physically rip out their vocal cords if they sass you one more time.

This is a complex issue, this living in two different realities ?— the one that is the best of us and the one in which we are working on it.

Sometimes, we can look at others and see their best reality. Their children are excellent students, and they're not even trying.

Or finances seem to flow like endless waters and they're not even budgeting.

While your reality is scraping, working long hours and still barely making basic ends meet.

Or the reality of a woman whose child seems to win all the school contests of achievement or just seems to know pretty much everything, like exactly where her children's Tylenol is kept. (I attended a meeting at a woman's home when in the middle of a sentence her adult daughter called and asked how long to boil a soft-boiled egg. And she knew.)

Sometimes, this can make our "working on it" reality self feel a little stressed. I'm not going to share an in-depth happy thought that this is a beautiful thing, that seeing our striving self brings needed humility, or that it helps us feel compassion and connection for, and with, others.

Today is simply an observation that it just is, and to save time and stress by openly acknowledging it for ourselves.

For example, years ago, our family was asked to sing in church.

We chose a song about families loving and helping and hoped the message would subconsciously seep into our children's formative brains.

When we sang the song on the appointed day, it was beautiful. So much so that afterward people came up and expressed extremely kind sentiments.

But instead of saying thank you, what I really wanted to say was, "You should have seen us three hours before." Because, you see, three hours before, the scene in our home went like this: With my husband at a meeting, I was running around checking the various stages of dress that each child was in.

Most of them were playing with toys or looking for their shoes.

When I called our six children down to practice the song, the older boys said something like, "This is totally preschool and I'm not doing it," the younger children couldn't stand still long enough for me to form a line and keep it, and in the anxiety of it all, I kept sweating off my make up.

The joyous high point hit when my sons sat down on the sofa and refused to sing at all and I yelled at them to get up and see it through to the end, or some such motivational phrase.

Yes, yelled at them. To sing a church song.

A family-loving-each-other church song.

That's when I started to cry.

So you can see why, to each person who thanked me and looked at me with that "gee, what a wonderful family" look, I wanted to pull down a mammoth white screen and re-run the previous three-hour tour.

This experience has stayed a long time with me (though therapy may have helped, too).

Because now when I see an obvious best reality in someone else, before I have time to feel guilty or feel like, gee, why isn't that my best reality, I remember a song and the three-hour tour before it.

It brings me back to reality.

e-mail: info@LIFEChangeProgram.com