If you follow Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media site, you are treated to a feast of motherhood perfection. Photos of blissful babies sleeping while mom smiles happily down at her angel. (Mom’s makeup and hair are flawless, by the way!) Or maybe you’ve seen the blogs about the beautiful, perfectly healthy lunches packed for the children heading off to school who look as if they just stepped out of a Gap commercial. (Little Sally just LOVES her tofu and kale wrap made with all organic ingredients! She eats every bite and never complains!) So hold on…why doesn’t this look like MY life??
Let’s stop and think about what most of our lives really look like.
I have a 21 month old daughter. She usually wakes up with a random booger on her face, hair that rivals Albert Einstein’s ‘do, and doesn’t particularly want to wear whatever I picked out. (This means I have to take time to convince her that the shirt with the kitties on it is AWESOME!) So once she is dressed and her face clean, we rush downstairs to get her shoes on, maybe get her teeth brushed, and out the door so that I can get her to daycare before the breakfast cutoff. Is any of this sounding Pinterest-worthy yet? The reality is that most of us would really like to be Pinterest moms and have the perfect pictures of the perpetually smiling babies. It’s just not realistic. Parenting is messy and funny and challenging and exhausting! Ever wonder how many pictures they took to get that one perfect shot? More than one, I’ll bet. So what if we stop comparing ourselves to what we see elsewhere and start honoring ourselves for what we are doing really well?
Stop and think about the moments when you’ve been particularly proud of your parenting skills. You know, like that time you soothed your crying baby, or the time when your child came home and actually talked to you about doing pretty well on a spelling test? These moments matter! When my daughter came home from the hospital, I worried that I wasn’t feeding her right (I struggled with breastfeeding), so I took her to the pediatrician and cried because I thought I wasn’t producing enough milk so I gave her formula. (I thought giving her formula was going to mess things up.) He looked and me and said “Let me understand this: your baby was hungry, so you fed her? Sounds like you’re doing
everything right to me!” All of a sudden, I was empowered! I was a mom and I knew what was best for my child. And so do you!! It’s time to shut off the social media and stop letting those images dictate how you feel about your own parenting skills! Enjoy the messy pictures of you and your little ones!
No makeup? No problem! Feeling like you aren’t doing the mom/dad thing right? I bet you are. Sit down and think of even the smallest thing you did for your little one. Are they wearing clean (or mostly clean) clothes today? Are they fed? Those are good signs you’re doing something right. Take a moment to celebrate the little victories. These little tiny humans running around your home? They think you’re the best thing ever! If you didn’t take your shower today, they don’t care. You didn’t get to the gym? Yeah, they don’t care about that either. They care that you hug them, kiss them, and tell them you love them. If you do those things, you are doing it right. And that’s worth more than an Instagram photo.
– By Jennifer Willis, MA, LPC-Intern