Entering motherhood is like entering into a worldwide support group - it should make us feel we are a part of something bigger; reassured that, as we experience the highs and lows of motherhood, we do not experience them alone... So why do so many of us feel so lonely and unsupported?
Motherhood has become just another way to seek validation and compete with others, all the while feeling more and more like we are failing at this; like we are the only ones who don't have it together; like we are never good enough, no matter how many things we tick off our list... We feel this way, and we go online to only have it confirmed, because the people we know have plastered happy, smiling children with happy, smiling parents all over their profiles.
Meanwhile, we are filled with anxiety every time we need to leave the house, because what if our kid throws a screaming fit in the middle of Tesco? What if they run into the road? Why does it have to take us four hours to even get out the house, anyway?! How come all you ever see is well-put-together children walking so well alongside their well-put-together parents, yet mine tries to pull me in the opposite direction whenever we need to be somewhere?... So you stay indoors, but you can't quite bring yourself to stop scrolling your feed for confirmation that you are the only one struggling.
You are not the only one struggling, mama.
You are not the only one buckling under the weight of trying to balance everything.
You are not the only one questioning every little thing you do/don't do, say and think.
You are not the only one who sometimes wishes she could just run away from it all and then feeling guilty about it.
So can we stop with the façade, please?
Don't be afraid to show the world the reality of parenthood: it's HARD, it's messy, it's beautiful and intertwined with grace, joy, tears of sadness and moments of sheer frustration. We all know it, yet we rarely see it. The more we get used to seeing the realities of parenthood across our social media, the less stigma and judgements will be attached to sharing our realities.
It takes a great level of courage to be so vulnerable... No one minds seeing your kids looking like cute little angels, or hearing how he or she achieved star of the week! Who wants to hear about the hard day you've had, or how many tantrums your kid threw between the front door and corner shop? You'll assume no one... But fellow mama's NEED IT. You have no idea how many mothers on your friends' list are having a really hard day/week, thanks to the rollercoaster that is parenthood, and how much they just need to see they're not alone, instead of seeing nothing but people's highlight reels.
It is scary - there will always be someone waiting in the wings to judge you - but something has to change, otherwise, we are only going to see a continuous rise in depression, anxiety and negative coping mechanisms amongst mothers.
The change starts with each of us being honest about what our journey of parenthood looks like.
Be the mother who doesn't have to cram the kids into the corner of the room to take a picture, because its the only part that's tidy. Be the mother who admits the day was full of tears and tantrums, bribes and loss of temper.
Be the mother who doesn't put on a front or glosses over the truth, when someone asks how your weeks going.
Be the mother that admits your child is struggling, because it's OKAY.
Be the mother who, when confronted with someone else's reality, does not judge, condemn or ignore... But empathises, encourages and uplifts.
It's okay that your house gets messy again the second you finish cleaning, so you don't clean as much as you 'should'.
It's okay that you let your kid eat chocolate before tea because it was the only way to stop the tantrum that was risking you burning the food.
It's okay to admit you're tired, you're fed up, you want a break, you're sick of feeling like you give and give and never get much back... You still love your kids with everything you have, we know - struggling, and admitting that, does not automatically mean you are lacking in love for your children. You don't need to always start with, "I love my kids, but..." Or end with, "but I love them so much"... Love will always be the firm foundation that motherhood is built upon; unchanging with the ups and downs.
Mama, be empowered today to be REAL with those you know and see the empowerment of others unfold.
When we enter into motherhood, we enter into a group; we are no longer alone in our journey. Let it be widely known to be a group of women who uplifts, encourages and empowers it's own. ??