You’ve probably seen all of the calls to show your Disney Side, from the at-home Disney Side parties to the Disney inspired recipes on Pinterest. I’ve hosted a Disney Side party of my own and have hashtagged tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram posts with the #DisneySide tag. I’ve declared myself to be showing my Disney Side when I’m doing everything from wearing my favorite red Mickey tee to playing the Frozen soundtrack. Heck, I even put miniature mouse ears on my cat and helped him embrace his Disney Side.
But even though I love to write about all things Disney, I’ve struggled to write an actual blog post about my Disney Side because of the tough truth I have to face.
My true Disney Side is the mom I wish I could be all the time. And I’m not.
This isn’t the first time that Disney has reminded me that as parents, we likely all fall short of the hopes we had for ourselves. I couldn’t get through my first screening of Brave without laying waste to a pocket full of tissues. The mother-daughter themes were at times just too much for this often overly critical mom who happened to be sitting next to her sometimes exasperated daughter. Even as I write this I wonder if I should step away from the keyboard and catch the last ten minutes of crazy antics of Dog With A Blog with my kids, curl up on the couch and leave this for another time. Unfortunately, life without work simply isn’t reality and so I tell my kids once again that they can wait.
I think this constant struggle for balance and the way it impacts who I am as a mother is why I find myself so frequently running away to my Disney Side, trying to recapture who I am when I’m that person. While my Disney self makes brief appearances when we’re watching our favorite Disney films or I’m sitting at the piano pounding out “Let It Go” while my kids sing and dance around the living room, I get to spend the most time with my Disney Side when we’re at Walt Disney World. The first couple times we visited the parks, I struggled to completely let go. I’d spend the day with my family, then tuck them in, sometimes taking my computer into the hallway to quietly make calls with west coast clients. I once gave a newspaper interview from my cell phone while running in the rain from our hotel room to catch the monorail, wrapping up just in time to hear, “Please stand clear of the doors.”
Eventually I found a way to completely give in to my Disney Side while in the parks. Now I turn on my email auto-response, I delegate all work responsibilities, and rather than unplugging, I plug in to my family 100%. No, I’m not the perfect mom because I happen to be on vacation. The kids get tired and cranky. I get tired and cranky. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve run away from home, leaving behind the mom who doesn’t want to drive to and from piano one more time or face one more load of laundry or empty one more dishwasher full of dishes or see one more to-do list with far too many highlighted words and enthusiastically written exclamation points. The Disney version of me is impervious to stress – she’s practically perfect in every way.
Facing who I have the potential to be as a mother when I’m out from under the weight of the reality of day to day can simply add to the yoke that we bear. Or it can inspire us to create more magic in our every day lives. Maybe it’s time to forgo one more activity in place of one more afternoon of singing and dancing. Maybe sometimes the writing can wait and the cuddling can take priority. Maybe the real pixie dust part of having a Disney Side is that if we really believe, we can be that person anywhere. Just maybe.