Mommy chat rooms, mommy blogs, mommy websites, they’re all the rage. Right? We’re looking to other moms we’ve never met for advice, we’re reading blogs written by folks we aren’t even 100% sure exists in real life, and we’re looking to companies to give us the best reviews on products that our children’s lives rely on, and yet, it’s still not good enough to make us believe we’re good enough.
I’d say a few years ago when social media, blogs, and Pinterest were brand spankin’ new and shiny, there was so much pressure on parenting perfectly. There were chat rooms specifically for moms who only cloth diapered. There were blogs about organic and clean eating for your child, there were gobs and gobs of pins showing parents how to make they’re 3 year old read on a second grade level, all while making them a perfectly organic lunch, that just so happened to be cut out to look like dinosaurs living in their natural habitat. That whole phase was insanely stressful because the reality was, 90% of mothers were at home, crying over their store bought diapers and their ordinary PB&J sandwiches that they made for their kids lunch. And dinner. They were crying because they didn’t have organic carrot and celery sticks to pair with the PB&J since only the picture- perfect moms have time to go to the grocery store with their categorized shopping list, which was also cross-referenced perfectly with their hand cut coupons. You see how stressed you became just reading that? It wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all. This stage made moms not only hate motherhood but made them doubt themselves because in their head, they were the only ones not making their home life perfect. They were the only ones failing. I know this, because I was there.
Now that the shininess of Pinterest has wore off a tad, more moms have started realizing that “ain’t nobody got time for that”, and the big girl panties are out and more of us are starting to admit that yes, we are serving store bought mac and cheese and *gasp*, sandwiches that are cut like squares instead of looking like every extinct animal known to man. This fun little trend of admitting we're just doing the basics caught on and has spread faster than the Cookie Monster cupcake pin on Pinterest. Moms all across the nation are uniting with their “pin fails” posted on their blogs and their hot dog dinner pictures all over Instagram; even some of, in my opinion, the most well written articles have been typed and published about how we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. I cannot count the number of times I’ve now read (and written) something related to this. Moms are admitting it, we aren’t perfect and that’s OKAY! Between every social media site and every blog out there, we’re basically getting yelled at, saying it’s OKAY! It’s OKAY if you aren’t perfect. It’s OKAY to have half ass dinners, even for a week straight. It’s OKAY! It’s OKAY if your kids birthday party decorations came from the party store and weren’t handmade. It’s OKAY if you let your kid eat all the Halloween candy he wanted. It’s OKAY if you aren’t doing crazy and fantastic things with your elf on the shelf. And heaven help us, it’s OKAY if you don’t cloth diaper or breastfeed!
So with all these posts, all these articles, all these “pin fails” being shoved in our face, why do we still doubt ourselves? Why aren’t we listening to the other moms? Why isn’t the encouragement working? Why are we still in this place of beating ourselves up?
I’m not sure I have the answer. So then why am I writing this post? I’m writing it because I’m in the very same boat as the rest of you. I was there when Pinterest was looking like gold and now I’m here, realizing it’s OKAY to feel like a half-ass mom, yet I still question my ability to parent, every single day. I have followers and readers and commenters telling me on a weekly basis that I’m doing a good job. I’ve shared and still am sharing some of my biggest “mom failures” and guess what? I’m getting all kinds of pats on the back, via the internet, from moms I’ve never met.
We as women and especially as mothers need to continue to encourage and validate one another. I think it’s important to not only have play dates but have real conversations with real moms, face-to-face. I’ve found, the more face-to-face relationships I have, the more validated I feel. You see how other kids act in public and you see how other parents are reacting to it, for real. Sometimes when I’m getting feedback from people who have never met me, while I greatly appreciate it, in the back of my mind, I’m still saying, “yeah but you haven’t seen us on a day to day basis, or, you haven’t seen how awfully messy my child’s room really is, or, you haven’t seen that my freezer is full of frozen meals where my refrigerator is lacking fresh fruits and veggies.” It’s so easy for us to take those compliments we receive and turn them into the opposite. Instead of us uniting about dinosaur sandwiches vs regular PB&J, let’s unite with motherhood. Get out there and talk to other moms. Consider their story and their way of parenting. Go talk to your own mother or grandmother and listen to how all their children survived on very little and how they survived without blogs and Pinterest.
Starting with this holiday season and then from here on out, let’s cut the crap and stop trying to live up to what we *think*other moms are doing, because you know what, they probably aren't doing it like you think. I understand and feel the extra pressure during this time and the struggles are real, but we ARE enough, mamas! We’re enough because we're feeding and bathing our babies daily. We're enough because we're loving our babies to the moon and back. We're enough. You're enough. Let your little believe in Santa, I want you to start believing in YOU.
Keep this post in the back of your mind during the next month or so and let’s have a Blessed Christmas with a Joyful New Year!