I’m back with another real talk post. I’ve touched a bit on this subject in my Instagram stories but wanted to address it in greater detail here on the blog.
In case we haven’t met before, I’ll tell you a little about myself. I am a young wife and mother (not yet 30) and I have one child, our son Erik who is 20 months old. As a food blogger, it’s the nature of my “job” to be active in the social media platforms and with that being part of what I do, I see A LOT of posts from a wide variety of people. As a mother, the posts from those mom’s who seem to have it all together really stand out to me. In the spirit of full disclosure and honesty, I have caught myself comparing my performance as a parent to those seemingly “perfect” mother’s and it really started to have a negative impact on my views of myself and my own self image.
While I’m certainly not bashing anyone who posts beautiful content of their families and seems to have it all together (and maybe they really DO have it all together!) I want to de-myth that perfect image for the rest of us who may have found yourself in the same position I did one day as I sat on my couch crying because I wasn’t “good enough”, I wasn’t “doing it right”, I wasn’t “patient enough” and on and on the list of self destructive and negative thoughts went!
I am a first time mom and in this age of modern technology it is such a wonderful blessing to have so much information at our fingertips but it can also be so harmful as well. We hop on a social media platform to gain knowledge on parenting or maybe some advice and tips on how to keep a busy toddler engaged and interested and we find someone who seems to just do it perfectly 100% of the time so we begin to doubt ourselves as a parent, especially those of us who don’t have any prior parenting experience to rely upon.
I will tell you what a good friend of mine told me that day as I sat on my couch crying and telling her all of my parenting “failures” and how “Maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a mother. My son is so perfect but he’s stuck with me as his mom!” First of all, you are not a perfect person and you will not be a perfect parent. Yes, that’s right, let’s all just go ahead and accept that we’re not perfect and we never will be. Stop striving for perfection! When you focus on constant perfection you really miss out on those moments that matter and that make a lasting impression on your child. Something as simple as setting aside your tasks and giving your child a hug makes a huge impact on their little mind’s and let’s them know that although Mommy has days where she’s stressed and wants to pull her hair out, she still loves and cares for me.
Don’t let someone else’s portrayal of “real life” define your motherhood. Don’t let social media steal your joy of motherhood because you are constantly caught up in the comparison battle! Embrace yourself with your faults, embrace your motherhood, and embrace that your life, while not perfect, is beautiful, purposeful, and of a Divine calling.
It is normal to have days where you just want to crawl under your bed and hide. It is normal to feel stress and yes, even to need some time away from your precious babies to just enjoy some time alone. Not every day is going to be filled with happy giggles from your children, long naps, and a smoothly running household.
I think if we’re not careful, social media can be alot like watching reality TV (that we all know isn’t anywhere near reality!) and if we’re not careful we will begin to judge ourselves based off of a false perception of “reality.” While there is nothing wrong with posting beautiful pictures of happy smiling children and joyful mothers and fathers who look as though they are having a day at the spa in their parenting, there is a call and a desire among those of us who are just living real, every day life to see something more authentic.
We all need to see those times that aren’t so picture perfect because it reassures us that in our moments of frustration and self-doubt, we are normal! While I would love to think that being constantly happy and joyful in motherhood is normal, it simply isn’t. We ALWAYS love our children but there are some days we just want to grab some chocolate and hide in a corner, and that’s ok and it is normal.
I know I don’t have a vast store of knowledge or experience that I can draw from to speak on this subject, but coming from a first time mother who is raising a child in the age of social media, I felt I needed to address this because maybe some of you are experiencing something similar and if I can just encourage one mother out there this post will have served its purpose.
As I close my conversation with you today, I want to encourage you to love your children with your whole heart, be all that you can be for your children and families, but at the end of the day accept that you are doing your best, you are enough, and you are making a difference in this world one little heart at a time.