A friend of mine recently shared an article on Facebook about moms getting burnt out, and how a self-care moment here and there isn’t enough. And in her status she said, “So what’s the freaking solution?! Tired of feeling like there isn’t one.”
And you know what. Me too. I didn’t know how to give advice to my fellow mom friend because I am that mom too. I don’t know the answer because I also face the problem. I don’t feel like this everyday, but some days, of course I do! Is there anyone that doesn’t? She mentioned just not wanting to get out of bed and do it (aka parent today). My only attempt at advice was that it’s totally okay to let yourself feel that way. We feel like we should’t feel that way for some reason, but it’s 100% okay to FEEL. Sometimes I don’t want to mom either. Sometimes my kids want to read a book or play a game that I just don’t want to. I don’t even want to fake want to. Do you want to wear this necklace? Not really. Want to play doctor with me? Please no, not again, because spoiler alert, I always give the wrong diagnosis to the same exact symptom and have to start over! I think that’s incredibly normal to feel this way. So why do we feel bad about it? What do we do?
I often thank the stars that I went to high school before social media. THANK. GOODNESS. Kids have it so hard today! And in many ways, moms do too. I love sharing photos on Instagram of my children with family and friends who live far away from us. I love following high school and even elementary school friends on Facebook and watching their success. I love following local pages and finding events. I love this blog and hearing from other parents, like you! What I don’t love is seeing other people compare themselves to the homes, children, and mothers online. I don’t love seeing snarky, imposing comments on my friend’s public Instagram accounts. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I have a fair amount of self-confidence and a good filter. It is pretty easy for me to be optimistic and happy for someone, yet tell myself that’s probably not their everyday. I understand Instagram. I understand it’s highlights and collaborations and pretty snippets. If your house is spotless every single day, I’m not even jealous, I don’t even want that much cleaning in my life! I also want the best for people. I really do. I have no desire to say something that would in any way diminish the picture you want the world to see. It’s your life. But some people apparently do! I truly believe that moms are letting STRANGERS get to them, making them think they should do more with their kids, work less, be cleaner, buy more things, not sell things on social media, take trips, be home more. This is adding to the burn out.
When I got hooked on “Girl Wash Your Face,” like many other women out there, it was not in her inspirational stories (of which there are many) that drew me in, but her real life admissions in the very first chapter. Why? Because it reinforces the thought that IT’S NOT JUST ME. I am not the only one. She’s a great mom, and she falters too. I can’t imagine the scrutiny she has faced, the DMs and emails she has had to read, just because people disagree and feel the need to let her know. Why do people have the urge to criticize? A healthy debate is one thing, but making someone feel wrong or less than is completely different. And comparing your life to someone else’s online life is ridiculous. Comparison is the thief of joy, so just plain DON’T!
So, like my friend asked, what’s the freaking solution? I think the solution is truth & a filter, but that’s easier said than done. One of the best things we can do as moms is be ourselves, share our truths, and have the confidence to not care what others think NOR care if their life seems a little shinier. Assume that people feel the same way when they see your life! You would be surprised how many people think the world of your parenting skills and the things you do for your kids. Assume that people are sharing their highlights, their best moments, because who really wants to remember the bad ones? Don’t let what someone else does affect your mood or your parenting for the worse, only for the better. And for goodness sake PLEASE HAVE A FILTER. Not only in what you see, but in what you say to others.
I say all of this because her comment really struck a chord with me. For one, she was not someone I would have believed to be struggling. She is a wonderful mom, a kind and genuine person, and runs her own business. It was refreshing, to see her admit this instead of posting a shiny picture. Like reading that book, it made me feel like I’m not alone on the days I feel like this too. And now I hope you know you aren’t either.
Here are some of our truths, from both Elizabeth & Kate, to let you know we may have clever DIY ideas and take our kids on fun adventures and seem patient AF, but we are often boring and messy and super impatient:
-I hide ice-cream in my coffee cup during the day. If my kids get suspicious I tell them it’s coffee yogurt and get no more questions.
-My kids DO watch TV, and sometimes way “too much,” but they don’t mind, I stay sane on those days, and they won’t be worse off later in life. They really won’t.
-We eat chicken nuggets and frozen pizza and Easy Mac on the reg. Healthy meals that everyone loves make me feel like a supermom, but they don’t happen every day.
-About those healthy meals, sometimes I bribe my kids to eat them. “If you finish your plate, you can have a cookie”, is said probably a few to many times around here.
-I do yell at my kids and only sometimes feel bad about it afterwards. My oldest usually laughs at me, so I don’t think she will be scarred for life. I am an imperfect person, and emotions sometimes get the best of me.
-We go on car rides just for my sanity’s sake. When everyone is having a meltdown, we hop in the car and good ol’ Starbucks drive thru here we come.
-I don’t dust. I just don’t. And sweeping and mopping are rare. Dog hair is a way of life around here and the four of us are okay with it.
-I don’t always want to play with my kids. Sure, building a tower can be fun, but after 10 or so times I’m over it.
-We listen to 90’s rap music and dance around the room. Disney is great, but sometimes you just need to bring back the oldies and skip the kid music.
-I watch trashy TV to wind down instead of being productive. Often. I too see those “supermoms” who raise 5 kids and run a business and sew their matching clothes and then craft on their vinyl machine. Or spend their downtime reading current events. Nope, not me. I don’t have the energy left at the end of the day and just want some mindless “me” time.
-Which brings me to the fact that I BOUGHT a vinyl machine and barely know how to use it. It’s okay to not be crafty.
-I worry about how people will take what I say and I am a classic people-pleaser, but I also try to be true to myself and teach my kids to be respectful, but strong. We are all just doing our best!
Share one of your mom truths in the comments below. It’s freeing, I promise! And we definitely won’t judge. Thanks for reading!
XOXO, Elizabeth & Kate