Friends. Have you seen this? The one trick, the one bit of wisdom that can turn YOU (yes, even you!) into the most patient, loving, PERFECT mom in the whole world*? What is this magic, you may ask? It’s quite simple…
(*Actual results may vary.)
I’ve been very aware of facebook and other internet ads lately that promise to help you LOSE WEIGHT! GET OUT OF DEBT! WIN AN OSCAR! or do something else so unbelievable it too needs to be written in caps followed be exclamation marks. I’d like to say we all know that success in any area requires hard work and not “quick fixes,” but I admit that I’ve followed the google rabbit hole of “how to quickly [lose weight, be patient, get my child to stay in his room, etc].”
So I’m not giving you a quick parenting fix. There will be times that will be so hard. There will be times that will be so good. No amount of mental or physical preparation can truly prepare you for the hard times. Similarly, you will never be able to imagine how good the good times are.
Why do we seek “life hacks” or “magic tricks” to help us navigate parenting? Because parenting is hard. It’s hard for everyone. It’s hard for the mom wearing a full face of makeup and a perfectly coordinated outfit. It’s hard for the mom in ripped yoga pants and two different shoes. I forget this because I am observer. I forget about the inside emotions when I see smiles in clean houses in pictures on facebook, and I forget about internal struggles when a mom smiles and says her colicky new baby will “calm down eventually.”
I don’t believe we always internalize the bad and display only goodness, but it’s easier, right? A quick “good, you?” is usually the expected response to “how are you?” instead of “the kids took turns waking up every hour last night and there are clothes all over my floor and I’m not sure which ones are clean and my head hurts.”
Sometimes I’m still going to do the “good, you?” response. It will just happen. But my concern is that I’ll say a brief “good” to someone who really needs to hear that somebody else, anybody else, doesn’t have everything perfectly together. The bad days will happen, and when they do, I’m rarely looking for sympathy or pity. I’m looking for solidarity.
“How are you?”
“Everything sucks and I don’t like anyone.”
How can you be the best mom ever? Be real to your kids. Be real to your friends. Be real to yourself. You don’t have to make a magical kid fort on pinterest or add pureed vegetables to every dessert you make. You don’t have to have a homework station or your walls covered in kid art. But you can — if it brings you joy. Please don’t think you’re a quick fix away from figuring this parenting thing out.
As we enter a season of Spring — of renewal and life — give yourself the grace and care you deserve as a mama who is trying her best. Have good days and bad days; have real days, and please — don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.
(Except this post.)
(You can believe this one.)
(Because you’re doing great.)