Relationships

As I near my 30th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the past decade of my life. It seems as if life has had one theme: change. Most of which has been pleasant and positive. Marriage, babies, moving, new friendships. Things that warm my heart and put a smile on my face. Things I want to soak up and ingrain in my mind.

There have also been uncomfortable, unpleasant changes. Specifically the deaths of loved ones, moving away from family and friends, shifting of relationship placement, and loss of friendships. I don’t know if it was just me, but the last decade of my life seems to be chalk full of those things, especially the latter.

I’m not going to lie, Facebook has been the blazing beacon in making the last two uncomfortable changes much more obvious. Until social media, I had always considered myself a friend to everyone. I conversed easily with others and kind of went with the flow. But now, every “unfriend”, block, and ignored post makes it incredibly obvious that some people don’t like me. Sometimes it is expected. Other times, I’m left scratching my head, wondering why.

Either way, it is painful and cuts deep. I try not to let it bug me, but in my insomniac mind, late at night, I think over every conversation and interaction over and over again. Which, of course, doesn’t help my sleep-deprived state of mind. 😉

And so, upon the recent discovery of another person who has blocked me, I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to keep trusting that there was a reason that person was in my life for a short or long season. That I’ve learned something from them. That it’s ok to not be friends with everyone.

And I’m once again stepping away from Facebook for the time being. I have more important things (my little human beings) to focus on. 🙂 I know that right now in life, they like me and love me and enjoy being with me. Ask them how they feel when they hit the teen years. 😉

How do you feel when someone removes you from their friend list?

Pardon me, but your flaws are showing!

I just want to get this out in the open: I am not a perfect mom.

Phew! I feel so much better having said that (typed that?) out loud. Because, I mean, everyone thought I was perfect, right? (~crickets chirping~)

Let’s be honest here. I will never blog about things I’ve perfected, because that wouldn’t be physically possible. Imperfect me training up my imperfect children in the way they should go is a constant work in progress. I (as a mom, wife, human) am a work in progress. (And I don’t aspire to perfection; I want my imperfections and trials and improvements to help other people know they aren’t alone.)

It seems like there is some invisible expectation out there that says moms should have it all together.  All the time.  And never complain about anything. Ever. Especially not about their darling children. Because raising children is easy peasy, rainbows and sunshine all the time. And if you complain about your kids you are either a terrible mom, you can’t handle your kids, or you should stop having kids.

Am I the only one thinking that sounds nuts right about now? Believe it or not, I’ve heard people say these things. (Even from people who don’t even have children! What?!)

There are lots of things I have learned about parenting through trial and error. And error. And error.  Life doesn’t come with an eraser or rewind button.  We (moms) are imperfect people trying our hardest to raise our children as best as we know possible.  Unfortunately every child is different, and unfortunately kids do not come with instruction manuals.  There are some things about parenthood that no amount of parenting books and child-rearing classes can teach you.  There are some things about parenthood that require rolling up your sleeves, pulling on your mudboots and jumping in head first.

So when moms feel the constant pressure to always have a cheerful façade on their faces (butter up, Buttercup, right?), to never talk about the struggles of the daily grind that goes with raising children, to always portray the epitome of Suzy Homemaker, we are really only setting each other (and ourselves) up for failure (at least in our own minds).

There is no such thing as a perfect mom, nor should there exist a “standard” that makes raising a family more difficult than it has to be.

Social media has made this almost exceedingly impossible. Instead of seeing the nitty-gritty things moms encounter on a day-to-day basis, we only see snapshots of the times that go right. Here is a typical conversation I have with myself in my head while scrolling through Facebook on any given day:

“So-and-so’s kids are always dressed perfectly; they never have snot trails dribbling down their noses or leftover spaghetti noodles dried in their hair. Her house is always immaculate (when is the last time I could walk across the floor without tripping on a toy?) and her food is always equally portioned (why won’t my kids eat anything but Goldfish crackers and pizza??). Her completed Pinterest projects are awe-inspiring and she is always doing awesome crafts with her kids. She just ran her 20th marathon! Her kids are even smiling while sitting in the shopping cart at Target (I’m usually the frazzled/frustrated mom with a screaming baby trying to corral her kids to stay near the cart). Even their recent family picture is flawless with everyone smiling and looking at the camera. What am I doing wrong?! World’s worst mom.”

I need to knock it off! Deep down I know it isn’t always like that at their house. But when my own daily imperfections are sitting there staring me in the face, and I’m not allowed to talk about them openly with other moms to see if I’m the only one, it is hard to remember that we all have days like that. It is hard to remember my house isn’t always a war-zone, my kids are usually well-behaved at the store (I’m giving my kids the benefit of the doubt here), we do eat healthy food (although I wish my kids weren’t so picky about some things), I do find time to go on my elliptical (ten minutes a day counts as something, right???)…

And my kids are just as loved as anyone else’s. Period. At the end of any good-or-bad-or-in-between day, that is all that matters.

I don’t have this parenting thing figured out, and neither do you, and that is okay. We don’t need to figure it all out all at once. Take the little successes in stride and work on areas that need to be improved upon (FYI- I have found that bribing my kids with Dum-Dum suckers at the store is a HUGE sanity-saver!!!).

Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and successes with your friends and family. Post a status on Facebook without fear of negative judgments. Call up your support system and let off some steam on days that seem to offer more bad than good mommy moments.  Because at one time or another we all have hard days. We all have days where we feel we are missing the mark in more ways than one. Days we need to be reminded that we aren’t alone in this journey. Celebrate the successes with each other, and build each other up in times that are extremely difficult. Set aside the assumption that if things aren’t going right today– things aren’t going as “perfectly” as they should– you have somehow failed Motherhood: 101. Remember: we are all works in progress!

Unconditional love and acceptance goes a long way in a world that seems to look down its nose at us. Stop judging other people by their current situation and, instead, start loving them for the total, beautiful mom they are growing into.

(When I was editing this blog post today, I found this quote and thought it fit perfectly!)

perfect mom

Have a blessed day at the start of this wonderful weekend of new beginnings!