The other day a friend of mine posted an article from The NewYorker titled Why Facebook Makes Us Unhappy (by Maria Konnikova). As I read the words I found myself nodding in agreement – especially over the words about “resenting other people and constantly feeling the need to maintain.” And I thought about how that applies to motherhood and our journey as mothers.
Now, in this digital world, you and I have a constant stream of things that everyone else is doing.
It’s hard for me to remember a world without facebook and social media. I remember mothering in those days – barely – and it seemed a quieter less measuring up kind of lifestyle. There was still the outside pressures to do, to be, to measure up, to maintain, to excel, and all of that – but there wasn’t a steady supply of everything that everyone else was doing that if left unchecked could set one up to compare their own life to the lives of others.
Do you feel that?
You turn on facebook and are met with everything everyone else is doing. Crafts, sports, activities, marriage wise, politics, cooking, after school activities, opinions, coupons, frugal living, health choices, general life, and on and on and on. It hurts the brain a bit.
Not that facebook is bad. I think it’s really quite awesome and this amazing way to connect with people over great distances. I have friendships that have formed through facebook and have developed amazing connections. In fact, anyone that knows me in real life knows how much I love facebook. So this isn’t one of those “facebook is evil” posts – hahaha – because I think facebook is great.
I think that’s where you and I and motherhood and facebook can get a bit jumbled. It’s like the pinterest perfect real mom – facebook just gives a glimpse of others lives – it’s like the cream on the top (or the muck on the bottom that also gets shared) – that unless you and I are constantly on guard could consider normal and what is simply expected in life. We’ll think the gourmet meals, the first day of school photos with crafted numbers for the grades, the kids excelling in all sports, the vacations and all of that are normal everyday expected that we do that things. The things and status updates shared are great – inspiring – but we must remember that those things aren’t required to be a good mom.
You know what is normal?
Normal is you waking up and realizing you have no coffee and it’s raining and you’re running late and the kids won’t help you in any way. Normal is dishes in the sink that didn’t get loaded last night because you were too tired. Normal is dealing with kids fighting over whose piece of paper is whose or that their sibling took their pencil. Normal is hoping that the gas in the tank will last you all week and worrying about how you’re going to be able to pay for the milk and the bread. Normal is being so tired when you wake up after being up with a baby all night and not really enjoying the moments because you just want sleep. Normal is feeling alone at times and not knowing who to turn to and seeing or thinking that everyone else’s lives are perfect.
Let’s just face it. No one has a perfect life.
But, normal is also beautiful. Normal is having a three year old find you in the morning and cuddle in your arms. Normal is watching your kids laugh with absolute joy while they swing on the swing. Normal is getting a message from a friend and being delighted over the words. Normal is going to the grocery store and finding a great deal and celebrating the savings. Normal is making dinner, cleaning up dinner, and being grateful for just having that time together. Normal is the preschooler who decided to nap on the floor mid afternoon. Normal, in the story of life, is really rather perfect.
It’s a stream of what others want you to see. There is a choice with every status update, every picture, and every share. That’s what you and I need to remember every day. You know what else you need to remember?
You need to remember that you are doing just fine.
Even if you don’t post pictures of cool crafts, witty things your kids say, about your relationships, your work, and all of that. Do you know what? Earlier this week I wrote a post called Measured Up Motherhood Defined and in there I joked about the Target Birthday Party – with store bought supplies – matters just as much as the cool Pinterest birthday party and I received email after email and comment after comment thanking me for those words.
You know why?
It’s because it’s about not being perfect. It’s about being real. And sometimes, sometimes being real means saying I’m doing my best and I’m loving my kids and I’m an amazing normal mom.
Yes. That. Freeing.
So facebook, I love it. I’ll be on there. I think it’s great.
But, it doesn’t define motherhood success. Or you.
It’s the highlights.
And you and I and all the other moms out there are simply real. And normal.
And normal is absolutely perfect.
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