I have been a member of the mom blogging community for a long time now.
Not like I-was-the-first-mom-blogger long (we all know who that was anyway), but long enough to see some popular bloggers come and go and come again… and go again.
During my time in residence I’ve noted that, just like anything else in life, mom blogging has trends. Some of them are like plaid shirts, and you’re all jumping up and down happy when they come back. Some of them are like overalls and you wonder why anyone bothered in the first place, let alone the second or third.
To be honest, when I started Team Happy Mamas last year it was sort of in response to the current mothering-is-actually-the-worst trend. This whole let’s be honest about what mothering is seems to have turned into something that is less about honesty and more about just trying to be the person who can say the most horrifying things about being a mother. Like a competition to see whose family appreciates them the least and sucks the hardest.
I’m throwing this out there right now: NOT IT.
My family appreciates me as much as their baby brains allow, and they don’t suck consistently. At least not anymore than I do and certainly not enough to pen copious blog posts about it.
But, before you jump all bad on me for my version of TBH let me just lay this out there: I get it.
I really do.
I have three kids. They are all boys. They have been 6 and under at the same time. I’ve had a toddler and an infant. I gained 70lbs when I was pregnant. My kid wouldn’t sleep when it was dark or take a bottle, ever. Or even a pacifier? Why wouldn’t he take a freakin’ pacifier?!
I went to grad school when I had a toddler. I was a stay at home mom. I was a work out of the home mom. I worked GRAVEYARD. While pregnant and then, with a newborn. My husband falls asleep in the basement with a PS4 controller in his hands on Wednesdays. I have purchased clean clothing because the laundry needed doing. Wait. Sike.
Mothering is hard. Like probably the hardest, most emotionally and physically challenging thing I have done in my life so far.
But also, it’s amazing. I am comfortable admitting that.
The joy and the happiness and the wonder that I get via the children I chose to create are the elements of mothering I love most. And, they are the ones I want my children to remember about the short amount of time they will spend in my home.
I don’t want their fondest memories of life with me to be of the Ritz Crackers and string cheese dinners that I gave them because TIRED. I don’t want them to grow up and be all, your grandma, when I was little, was the worst at dinner. It was like cereal four nights a week and then McDonald’s after that. We’re working on it anyway, okay?! I’m not proud.
I don’t want them to remember me as a short tempered, ranting, raving, whining, crying, baby-barf-scented, exhausted shell of a woman wrapped in fleece jammies who was too tired and apathetic to ever come on a single field trip. Or make it to their swim meet. Or wear regular pants to their parent teacher conference. Or post anything online other than how sucky my existence as their parent truly is.
I get that those not-so-sparkly things are part of our real life. This I am comfortable admitting too.
Because, I did miss some swim meets, and I spent a whole chunk of my life in sweat pants, and for real, I avoid the field trip sign up sheet like the plague because I don’t want to spend all day smelling fair animals and minding rowdy first graders. I don’t even really like first graders. TBH.
My kids know all of those things about me, but they also know the things that help make me a caring, engaged mother.
One day, when they look back on my blog and my Facebook page and all of the social profiles I have created to chronicle my moments on this planet that have literally burned an inerasable hole into the Internet, I want them to see a true depiction of what our life was like together. Not all flowers and chocolates, but also not all GAWD-WHY-DID-I-PROCREATE.
I want them to feel loved and cherished and wanted, not like an exhausting assignment that was required to be completed daily.
I know it’s a relief to commiserate with other moms who get the struggle. I too find myself lol-ing at those memes about wine and farts. They’re funny at times. And, I get how there are days when the effort to be clean and also sober is not worth making. Because life is hard. And, a life with kids is even harder. But TBH, when I sit and think about the depiction of motherhood I often see in my newsfeeds, I sincerely hope people try more than they make it seem like they do on the Internet.
Because if it’s to be believed (and, I know, it’s mostly not), moms are either fake and hated on because of their expertly decorated homes and perfectly styled outfits with their spotless children and their doting, strangely sexy husbands who play guitars and save kittens, or they’re down trodden and broken in their filthy kitchens, with their screaming children and their endless piles of laundry that they never wash because they are busy wearing something filthy while they polish off a bottle of wine or two at noon.
There’s no middle ground there.
I wrote this post because before blogging disappears completely into the digital space, I want to encourage a new trend.
A trend wherein TBH means to actually be HONEST.
A trend where women’s online lives are a better reflection of their realities (please say you don’t drink two bottles of wine every day for lunch and, if you do, can I send help?!). Where women who believe in keeping it 100 know that doing so means more than telling just the ugly truth, especially when there is an average one sitting there begging to be told. Where women are eager to tell their authentic mothering stories, and not just the ones that garner the most pageviews. Where strong women who are honest, and inspiring, and sleep deprived, and crabby, but grateful for the blessing of motherhood despite the chaos it periodically unleashes upon their lives come together over the shared experience that is raising beautiful children (even when they are throwing peas on the ground and acting remarkably un-beautiful).
Because all of those things can coexist together, like peanut butter and chocolate. They make this life worth it.