What no one tells you about motherhood… Right now as I write this post my house is quiet and both children are sleeping peacefully in their rooms. It’s 11:00p.m. at night and I can finally open my laptop and work on catching up on e-mails, Facebook feeds and social media. I am exhausted but my body is finally getting used to the blocks of sleep I get at night, getting up every two, three hours with my six month old every single day since he was born.
Motherhood can be hard, it is without a doubt the hardest job I’ve ever loved. There are no paid lunch breaks or holidays and I work non stop. But at the end of the day I know that I have to live in the moment and enjoy the good days, the fleeting, beautiful moments and just let go of the frustration of the stressful, exhausting ones.
Looking through my Facebook and Instagram feeds I see all of our smiles and happy moments from today, past weeks, months, years worth of memories. There my two little ones are happy, always smiling, never crying, very few tears or angry faces, only our happy moments captured, so many! In between those happy moments there were sad moments of course, stressful moments, moments when my toddler was not eating his dinner and was crying for cookies. When my six month old refused to go to bed and instead cried for an hour straight. When I felt lonely and I missed my friends I haven’t seen in weeks.
But as I browse through the feeds I realize my friends and family’s posts are all the same. A glimpse of a “perfect” life, where being a new mom looks effortless and there are no difficult times. Photos of a happy, peaceful and clean baby just minutes after a crazy poop explosion and hours of refusing to sleep. A picture of a spotless room while the rest of the house is a total mess.
About two months ago one of my friends invited me to join a private “mommy group” on Facebook. It was a local group of moms who had children of very similar ages. A lot of them with a toddler the same age as my son and a newborn/infant as well. The group was private so no stranger could read the posts and only members could invite new moms to join. I started reading and it became clear that we all were going through the same experiences. Stress eating, babies refusing to sleep, cranky babies teething and crying non-stop, feeling exhausted and running out of energy, all the same complaints.
This online group of moms became a support group. Ranting about a bad day was actually therapeutic. It felt nice to get some sympathy and to hear that these women were experiencing the same things I was over and over again. I wasn’t seeing any of this in my public Facebook, Instagram accounts or my friend’s.
The reality is that we choose to post and share mostly the happy moments, the joyful times, and there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t want to go back to see the tantrums and sad moments in photos, it makes sense. I am just happy to have found a group that allows me to see real life and the many ups and downs of other young moms with children like mine. To realize that I am not alone and that it can be tough sometimes but to know that the hardest years go by way too fast. Time will go by in the blink of an eye and I will look back and miss these chaotic days, when I could still pick them up with one arm and make them smile while blowing raspberries on their tummies.
So if you ever feel overwhelmed and tired and frustrated, and you wonder how other people do it and their lives seem so perfect compared to your chaos, remember that they are just like you! We all have our ups and downs and our struggles. Just don’t look for comfort in your Instagram or Facebook feeds. You will fine real support and advice from real moms, so talk to your friends, find local mom groups and be honest and share the bad and the ugly. I assure you most of them will be struggling with the same issues!
And don’t get me wrong I am not complaining about being a mom. I love my children like crazy and I wouldn’t change the fact that I can stay at home with them everyday for anything. I mean motherhood has lots of pretty sweet an amazing moments, there is a reason why my Facebook and Instagram accounts are filled with pictures and happy memories!
Do you have a friend or group of mom friends that you can trust? Somebody you can discuss the real ups and down of parenthood with?