The reality of being a mom in the 21st century
Being a mom is hard. I'm not sure if this is a widely talked about subject, because everyone I see makes it look so dang easy. I don't know about you, but sometimes it feels impossible. I am constantly wondering if what I am doing is "right" or "safe." Constantly wondering if I am being a "good mom." Being a mom in any day was hard I am sure, but as a young mom in 2017, I would argue to say it is only getting harder. I think that as moms we are putting more and more pressure on ourselves to be a "good mom." We are comparing what we see others doing to what we think we should or should not be doing. We are getting input from so many different sources regarding our parenting that it is hard to not question if you are doing it "right."
But what really makes a good mom?
Is it the beautiful photos of your children smiling so perfectly on your Instagram? All of your picture perfect moments shared and those photos of your kids throwing spaghetti erased? The extravagant birthday party you spend your savings on, just so you can show others how great it was? Are you throwing that party for your child or for your pinterest photos? Is being a good mom making sure our kids have the cutest clothes, their hair is done right, our home decor is pinterest perfect? Are you posting photos in hopes that one of them has a shot at getting as much attention as some of the other photos moms with thousands of followers are posting? Do you spank your child? Do you vaccinate? Do you use the word no? Do you let your child self sooth? Do you co-sleep? The list goes on and on. Everybody has an opinion and you will get a different one everywhere you look. You might be judged because your opinion and parenting style differs from someone around you. When you post a photo of your child doing something, you have a 50% chance someone is going to comment negatively on it. Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, etc... Social Media everywhere has raised the expectations of what makes a "good mom." Do you ever see the messy home photos? The dirty laundry on the bed photographed? The child covered in food screaming on someones Instagram? No, you only see the good. I have had a couple people (that I don't know, and that don't know me) tell us how perfect our lives are, and there are times when I want to say, "if you only knew our story..." Everyone has a story, and everyone has moments during the day that we would never want photographed. Don't let our photos of Carter smiling fool you, he is generally a very happy baby but we have meltdowns, fits, and moments of complete despair also.
Example; Matt usually will give him his dinner food (if he gets home in time from work to see him before I put him down), and this night he happened to be cranky. If Matt wouldn't spoon the food immediately, despair would happen. We have moments like this, but would I ever randomly post them on Instagram, Facebook, pinterest, etc ? Probably not, but who knows I think he is adorable even with this face. This is real life.
So what makes a "good mom?" I have no idea, I wish I did, but unfortunately the answer to this question probably differs on who you ask. That would make this motherhood thing a whole lot less stressful if someone could just give me a manual containing step by step instructions.. I am still trying to figure it out, and something tells me I won't know everything until my kids have kids... and by then, everything will have changed anyways. But I do know this; your kids don't care if your Instagram feed is perfect, their birthday party compares to those on pinterest, or if their shirt came from a fancy organic boutique. The simple truth is that they desire love. They desire a mother who makes them feel like the most loved kid in the entire world. A mom who fights, gives, works, and loves even when her children are driving her insane. A mom who wakes up every morning with a renewed spirit and open heart. Real life is messy and it is hard at times. There might be times when it feels like you are failing compared to other moms out there, but you're not. The pressure to be perfect is high, but the reality is you don't need to be perfect; you need to stop comparing and start reflecting. Did I give my children the best mother they needed today? Did I meet all of their basic needs? Did I kiss them goodnight? Did I make sure they knew they were loved? I guarantee you, when they reflect back on their childhood, they are going to remember the moments you spent time loving on them and spending time with them. So put down that phone, get off Instagram and instead of looking at other moms with their kids, go and play with yours. Build memories and write those memories down, they will go by so fast. In their eyes, you are the best mother out there because you are their mother. Nobody else was given that job, God made you this child's mother for a reason. So trust that he knows what he is doing, and have faith in yourself that you do too.