Sometimes I feel like I’m pretending at motherhood. Yes, even after all these years. Pretending. But I don’t want anyone to see that, honestly, that stumbling around, that fumbling, so I put on the mask of motherhood. The I have it all together and pay no attention to me who really has no clue what to do next kind of mask. I hate that feeling honestly. Especially after I’ve been a mom for so long.
But you might see me in the pick up line or at Target or at the pool and think she’s got it all together or if I only could be like her or look at her van, it’s all cleaned out. But you wouldn’t be seeing me. The mom behind the mask, behind the glasses, behind what you can see.
You wouldn’t see that my eyes were swollen from crying this morning because I didn’t know what to do anymore with my rebellious teen. You wouldn’t know that my van was clean because my eight year old spilled milk in it and in Tennessee in the summer you do not under any circumstance allow milk to sit in the carpet in the heat. You wouldn’t know that I struggle being a single mom and I wonder often if I’m cut out for this job and pray that my kids love me when they become adults. You wouldn’t know the nuances of my crazy journey, just the outside, just what I let you see and what you might assume from what you see. You don’t see the ups and downs. The times I look in the mirror and hate what I see or the times when I feel overwhelmed and lock myself in my room. Sometimes the mask of perfect motherhood is suffocating.
Oh I just want to breathe.
My friends don’t care about that mask, you know. They can see me behind those glasses. They love me despite. And I love them too for their very imperfect lives as well. There’s no shame, no apologizing for not having it all together all the time. All the masks do is make all of us pretty darn exhausted. And suck the breath from our lungs right when we need to yell at two of our kids to stop fighting over the xbox controller.
Yet that I’ve got it all together mask is so hard to put it down. It’s so hard to be vulnerable. It’s freaking scary to be the mom who has the Bravo life versus the Hallmark life. How did it get this way? When did it move from hey let me help you build your barn to I can’t let her in my front door unless it looks like a picture from Pinterest?
Seriously, the reason it gets SO MESSED UP is that we live in a culture where we’ve decided it’s risky to admit that we need each other or that our lives are challenging and instead of opening up we smile, wave, drive into the garage and shut everyone out. And then all we can see are the comments on social and the pictures of everyone else appearing to have it together and thus we assume, like I do, that somehow I do not.
Real life doesn’t have filters. Editing. Perfection.
We need to stop making motherhood appear like something other than it truly is. Messy, lovely, beautiful, crazy, challenging.
Most of the time, and I know you get this, what we see on the outside isn’t the inside.
And most of the time, at least for me (gasp) I listen to the lies of shame.
You messed up, you should be better, if only you were like her…
We just forget it, don’t we? I do, so easily.
What happens if we don’t judge from the outside, don’t compare our lives with the mom in front of us at Target and instead learn to simply love. I think we all want to be great moms. I love being a mom to my kids even though they drive me crazy. I really want to be a good mom and I don’t want to feel that insecurity. And the ONLY REASON I get insecure is somehow I think just prove to them you are a good mom. Why am I trying to prove anything to anyone? And if we are all walking around trying to prove we have it together well we are all hiding behind our own masks.
And that, my sweet friend, is exhausting.
We need to stop comparing, stop proving, stop hiding and instead start really loving.
Love the mom who has it all together. Love the mom who seems to be late every single day. Love the mom running in the morning. Love the mom pushing the massive cart at the grocery store. Love the mom who volunteers. Love the mom who works. Love the mom with the perfect marriage. Love the single mom. Love the mom with many kids. Love the mom with one kid. Love the mom whose kids are great at sports. Love the mom whose kids love to read. Love the mom at tutoring classes. Love the mom with puffy eyes. Love each other.
Love each other so much that we value each other’s hearts more than we value how put together our lives look.
The more we hide and the more we project perfectionism on those we see the more miserable we will become.
The more we drop our masks the more peace we will feel.
It doesn’t mean we have to go into all of our problems. It doesn’t mean we can’t hide our puffy eyes. It means that deep down we know that we are not alone. It means that I don’t have it all together and neither do you. And that? That’s freedom.
We all have messy sinks. We all deal with kids who challenge us. We all deal with bad days. We all wonder if we’re cut out for motherhood. We all get overwhelmed. We all have awesome days. We all have emotions. We all try.
Motherhood isn’t a race to become perfect. Motherhood isn’t about keeping it all together either.
Motherhood is about loving, trying, giving.
So before you judge another mom, before you compare, stop, look, pull off the mask and realize she might be more like you than you realize.
Your kids don’t care about the masks, you know. Your kids just need you. Even if it means you put on sunglasses to hide the tears. Because you know what? Those tears are there because you love, you try. And we all get that. You don’t need to prove anything.
We’re a sisterhood.
ps. if you want to know how I feel about motherhood read this ->why being a mom is enough
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