I took this picture on Easter morning; a lovely picture of my daughter in her beautiful Easter dress just about ready to head to church for the morning. I didn’t post this picture on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. Because in it my lovely little two year old isn’t smiling sweetly, she’s screaming her head off. Full blown tantrum mode. Definitely not InstaPerfect.
I shared it with my sister in law, a lovely woman who keeps me grounded in unexpected ways, and she asked me why I didn’t post it. It brought up a conversation about motherhood and expectations and being uncomfortable with sharing these moments of messiness when are lives are not social media worthy. At least, when we think they’re not.
Which of course got me thinking about why. Why are we so afraid to share with others the true picture of what motherhood looks like? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to create this InstaPerfect picture of what we think our lives to look like instead of what they actually do? Why is it, that of all people, the ones putting the most pressure on our fellow mothers are our fellow mom friends?
This week I had a few people come over for playdate with their toddlers, and I found myself doing something supremely silly. I found myself planning for their visits around how much cleaning I could get done before they arrived. Could I have all the dishes washed and put away? Did I need to mop and vacuum the floors? Was my bathroom up to scratch? Did my daughter’s room look neat and tidy? I mean, who worries about these things before having more toddlers come to destroy their house anyway?
So I rushed around this morning to straighten up my kitchen, all the while wondering why I wasn’t doing more important things? Why wasn’t I just coloring with my girl? Or snuggling a little more with baby boy? Or taking some me time? Why do we put all this pressure on ourselves to be perfect, when really what we long to see from other people, other moms especially, is reality? Truth. Not polished motherhood. Not InstaPerfect motherhood. But motherhood meets truth.
Pictures of screaming children. Sinks full of dirty dishes. Piles of laundry waiting to be folded. I know we have all heard this before, but these are the pictures we should be posting online. These are the things we need to let our other mom friends see.
A friend of mine came over this morning to spend time talking while our kiddos played, and we bonded over imperfections. Truth be told, I had more fun letting the kids destroy the house while we chatted. I didn’t follow behind them cleaning up the toys or wiping up messes. I wasn’t worried about what she might be thinking of my dishes in the sink, or the toys all over my daughter’s floor. I just enjoyed her company. And it took effort.
Isn’t that silly? Just enjoying the company of a friend took effort because I am so used to striving to keep my house perfect, my kids perfect, my life perfect. I wish we didn’t have to face this as mothers. This pressure that we put on ourselves and each other as moms. Personally I want to change this tendency in myself. So I am going to start step at a time. I’m going to share this picture of my daughter with the blogging world, my lovely daughter screaming her little head off because she didn’t want her picture taken. Because this is where motherhood meets truth. And this is where we heal from the constant pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect.