My experience of motherhood is both unique and far from it.
I have been convinced I am the only one who struggles so deeply, and I have been rewarded by the sharing of other mothers that has assured me, we do not struggle alone.
I know now that motherhood doesn’t look like the Hallmark commercials of my childhood or the images that get splashed across my Instagram feed today. I know now that it is messier, louder and more painful than most women are willing to share publicly.
Why do we have this need to hide our struggle? Why do we feel like we must present a perfect face to the world? Why do we fear judgement?
Because motherhood is important to us. Because I want to do the best job I can raising my children and you do too. And in this messed up, social media driven world of ours we think we need to prove to all the people OUTSIDE the walls of our home that we are in fact, living up to expectations.
I have felt that burden so strongly during these first seven years of motherhood. I have felt obligated to post perfect selfies with jaw dropping backgrounds. I have been more concerned with writing a great caption and perfect hashtags than watching my son’s smile while he swings or swooshes down the slide. I have believed that my worth as a mother is determined by the extravagance of a birthday party.
And I wasn’t raised this way. I grew up with hippies in the country. My parents weren’t caught up in what the Jones’ were doing, no one expected me to have a fancy wedding and a picket fence.
Yet I still got sucked in. That’s how strong the force is.
Perfectly poised photos.
Designer (or ultimate DIY) kids’ rooms.
A house without mess.
Deep, heartfelt expressions of joy and gratitude across the social channels.
But all of that is fake.
Photos get bombed or the kids simply refuse to let you take another.
It’s too expensive and time consuming to worry so much about your kids’ room. What matters is they can learn to get their own clothes and dress themselves.
Houses with families can’t be tidy 24-7 because if they were, when would the love happen?
And telling everyone it’s great all the time and you love your life is fucking bullshit.
Motherhood is hard. I-haven’t-had-a-full-night-of-sleep-in-years, -when-was-the-last-time-I-showered, and I-forget-who-I-was-before-all-this kind of hard.
Kitchen floor littered with food scraps
Laundry baskets overflowing
Doctors, dentists and occupational therapists to follow up with
And dinner needs to be made AGAIN. Why I must I feed them every fucking day?
THAT is motherhood. The struggle is great enough to be all consuming. And if we refuse to be honest about that, we perpetuate the idea that it is supposed to be all cute onesies and mommy and me classes, setting new mothers up to feel alone when it is too hard, to doubt themselves when they feel the grief of the life they lost.
I was one of those new mothers who thought she had it all wrong because it wasn’t picture perfect. And now I’m here to make sure fewer mothers feel the way I did.
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