I had no idea how hard motherhood would be.
When I first became a mom, I was completely shocked by motherhood. I pictured a tidy, perfectly structured life. I pictured family portraits, white picket fences and Sunday morning pancakes. I knew I’d love being a mom, but I had no clue how hard it would be. And, I had NO CLUE how far my expectations were from reality.
Nine years later, I’m a mom of three. I’m also a homeschooling, special needs mama. I’ll admit there are lots of pancakes, but definitely no white picket fences in sight. My previous assumptions of motherhood were way off. My prior expectations only set me up to fail when I became a mom. I felt like I was supposed to be gentle, patient and nurturing every single second of the day. If I yelled, I felt like a failure. If the house was a mess, the laundry wasn’t done, or the kids weren’t listening – I felt like a huge failure. Can you guess where that left me? You guessed it. I ALWAYS felt like a failure.
I’m a good mom, but not a perfect one.
Deep down I knew that I was a good mom, but I was way too focused on my mistakes. My goal became getting through the day and rushing on to the next task on my to do list. My goal was on the world thinking I was a good mom. That thinking was exhausting.
My goal now all these years later is on actually enjoying my life as a mom. I want my children to view themselves as loved and cherished. I want to love being a mom, even when it’s hard. I want to care less about what the world thinks of me, and care more about being real and authentic. I want to please God, not my social media followers.
Why do we as moms create these impossible standards in our minds? Why do we measure success by a perfect Facebook profile? Listen to me mamas, success is not defined by your tidy portrayal of motherhood. Success is not defined by what a photo shoot says about your family. Motherly success is what goes on behind closed doors. Let’s be more focused on being authentic, than trying to please others on social media.
Messes don’t equal failure, they equal a home full of real life. Mistakes don’t equal failure, they equal opportunities to grow and teach our children about grace. The moments when we rock our sick babies all night covered in spit up, that’s real, beautiful motherhood. So many beautiful moments that are not meant to be neat and tidy.
Stop the perfect mom charade.
We need to stop the charade that perfect motherhood even exists, because it doesn’t. I don’t care what you see on social media, we’re all humans – learning as we go. Stop focusing on what you think a good mother should look like, and just try your best. Focus on the days you fought to choose joy. Focus on the moments that you held your child with the simple intention to soak up their presence.
One of the main reasons I starting writing a blog about motherhood was because so many moms around me thought they were the ones doing it wrong. They thought that other moms were more patient, more organized and more loving just because of a pretend portrayal on someone’s highlight reel. I felt motivated to encourage other moms by speaking HONESTLY about motherhood. It’s messy. It’s full of mistakes, but it’s also full of God’s grace. It’s exhausting, but worth it. It’s draining, but oh so fulfilling.
Motherhood is hard, so let’s stop pretending that it’s not.
Let’s start being honest about motherhood. Let’s stop being too proud to be vulnerable about our struggles. What if your story encourages another mom to get back up after a hard day? What if your mistakes give another mother hope? What if you give another mama encouragement that she’s not alone? Let’s change this expectation of motherhood that is impossible to live up to. Let’s change social media standards to real, authentic relationships. Let’s start by putting authenticity before a phony façade.
Don’t hide the hardships of motherhood, because when you do you make another mom feel alone in her failures. We’re in this together, let’s build each other up, not tear each other down with a fake perception of who we are. Raise your hand if you’re an amazing, flawed, messy, exhausted and loving mother. I am.
So the next time you see a mom who is worn down from fighting to be a good mom, tell her you’ve been there too. Tell her a bit of your story. Tell her she’s a fierce, devoted and beautiful warrior.
Tell her she is doing a wonderful job because if she’s comparing herself to a fake perception of motherhood, she may not know how awesome she really is. Tell her the truth.