We all have that friend — you know the one. Her home is spotless, and her children are well-mannered. Stepping into her home is like stepping into a copy of Town & Country Magazine. She can speak to almost any topic, is up on the latest parenting trends, and posts the best Instagram photos.
She’s in the know about everything. And we all want to know — how does she do it? How does she keep it all together when it seems like getting two of the same shoes on in the morning is your day’s greatest victory? So, what’s her secret? The secret — and this is what other moms don’t want you to know — there is no such thing as a perfect parent or family.
Okay, okay, so it’s not really a secret. None of us have the magic trick or secret to a “perfect” family and life, and I think you already knew that before reading this post. We’re all doing the best we can, dirty, sticky floors and all. So, why do we feel the need to portray our lives as mothers as perfect? Why do we not want other moms to know that we struggle and question this whole parenting gig?
Being a teacher, I live for the summer. Summer is a promise; a promise for outdoor adventure, day trips, and play. I get to do all of the things I can’t do during the school year with my children. But I’ll admit, as this school year wrapped up, I was a little nervous about how I would fill my days.
The perpetual planner in me was swarmed with questions. What will we do? Where will we go? Will they enjoy their summer? Will they be happy just hanging out at home? How many Pinterest boards can I create for summer activities vs. how many of those activities will we actually do? And on and on.
So I had to stop myself. Why am I comparing myself and my parenting to others? Why am I judging my day’s activities against others? My children are just as happy, just as loved, and just as excited to spend the day home in the backyard with ME!
I also remind myself that I am raising children in a generation that has challenges that no other generation has faced before us. Social media creates some of these challenges. If my Facebook feed and Instagram photos really reflected what my day-to-day is like, it would show my 3-year-old’s meltdown at the bank earlier today, my unmade bed, the takeout containers from the days when I just can’t work up the energy to cook, and the days when my dog poops on the kitchen floor.
What do I see when I open up my social media feeds? I definitely don’t see dog poop on the kitchen floor. I see images and read posts that make me begin to compare my life, my parenting skills to said image or post. These are the highlighted moments of someone’s day. Think about this — how many selfies do you take before you actually post “the one?” I’m guilty of forcing my kids to continue to say “cheese” for “just one more.”
The balance of family, life, and self is one that I’m not sure I’ll ever get the scales to even out on. And I have to learn to be okay with that. My life is a series of half-read magazines and books, failed attempts at recipes, unorganized Pinterest boards about organization, and I will learn to be okay with that. Not all of my home-cooked meals need to feature gourmet titles with a Pinterest-worthy plating.
I will remind myself to value all of the good in my life. I will remind myself that I am a good mother. I will remind myself that what’s truly most important is the love I have for my family, and THAT will make the summer (and future summers) the things my kids remember.