Recently on Instagram, I saw someone applauding a friend for showing her children in a positive light, saying that ‘99.9% of most people’s posts on social media about their kids & babies is negative or complaining’.
Instantly, I felt defensive. Maybe because I have both, kids & babies. Maybe because I often use humor when I’m in the thick of raising kiddos every day which could possibly be perceived as ‘negative’. Like when I show my toilet paper completely unrolled & ask why my kids do this. Or when I show pics of my toddler who’s been crying for an hour because he’s figured out how to climb out of the pack & play & now refuses to take a nap, even though we both need him to go to sleep. Or when I show a picture of 2 children sitting on my lap while I’m trying to work at my computer, only to get nothing really finished.
When I show these pictures – are people seeing me as ‘negative’?
My second thought was how could a person even begin to understand the complexities of another persons life with children or babies, especially when some moms are juggling multiple children at home? Before this person commented on a mother’s ‘negative attitude’ towards her children, had she considered that mother’s daily life? Maybe this mother hasn’t slept a full night for 2 years. Maybe this mother is feeling the whole weight of her family on her shoulders. Maybe this mother is actually issuing a cry for help.
I’m here to tell you that the ‘dream’ of parenting is not always reflected in the ‘reality’ of parenting.
The reality is that parenting is a hard, freaking job. And while some moms are rocking the heck out of it & walking on sunshine others are silently drowning. Others are suffering from post partum depression, feelings of insecurity, body image issues, money worries, marriage problems, addiction & health issues.
Some mothers are dealing with sick children. Have you ever heard the phrase – you’re only as happy as your least happy child? That is more true that I could have ever imagined. And when the weight of guilt combines with the weight of an unhappy child, that my friends, is parental napalm.
Maybe, instead of complaining, that mother is silently screaming for help. Parenting is not just about posting cute or complaining pictures of your kids. Your pictures online are a moment’s reflection of your life but your real life – your reality – you live that all day, every day. It’s in the spilled cups of milk on your keyboard. The red nail polish on your new bedspread. The moments of feelings totally alone. But it’s also in the still small moments of bliss where you feel like God literally shined a light on you & moved his Spirit through your child. He is listening. You are not alone.
If you feel your friend or even a complete stranger is struggling – offer your assistance. A phone call. A smile. A polite gesture. A latte. Even a silent prayer. It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day.
What I want you to know is that if you’re struggling, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, out manned, anxious, angry or just depressed – this is not your reality.
Do not get so over burdened with your daily life that you forget the blessings of the life you were really meant to live.
You were created to show love, compassion, grace & kindness. You were given your children, as a gift, to teach you probably the lessons that will be the hardest to learn. Raising kids is hard. Mothers, as caretakers, are usually the last people to take care of themselves. If you need help, it’s time to start getting it. It’s time to confess – you cannot do it all & that’s ok! Find the beauty in your weaknesses & learn to harness your strengths so you can create for yourself your best reality that you know you deserve. Pray for peace.
If you find yourself angry, frustrated or just generally unhappy all the time, stop telling yourself you’re a bad mother. Accept that something isn’t working for you & it’s time for you to figure out what that is so you can give your family the best version of yourself. I am listening. God is always listening.
Stop blaming yourself.
Give yourself permission to say – this is hard, but it is possible.
Start giving yourself grace to fail so you can also give your children the grace to fail.
Stop living in the bad moments that happen day to day & start believing in the good moments so you can recognize them when they appear & be grateful.
Start showing gratitude for everything. Every little thing. The spilled milk. The tantrums. Use them as opportunities to refocus your reality to the beauty you want it to be. You can do it. You are beauty.
And you’re not alone. You are held in the supportive arms of your fellow sisters in motherhood. And God has a special purpose for you & your heart.
Be joyful in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. – Romans 12:12
Continue the conversation here or over on Facebook. Do you feel ‘negative’ or are you searching to find peace in your reality? Do you feel supported in motherhood or are you searching for affirmation?