Hang on to your pony tails, friends. This mama needs to preach.
A week ago, I came across a blog post entitled, “Stop Saying Being a Mom is Hard” which was shared on Facebook. As a mom who has blogged frequently about why it’s not only ok but healthy to be honest as a mom about your struggles and failures, I was intrigued by the title. I clicked on the link and hoped, desperately, that the title was simply a writer’s trick to lure you into a post in which she gave permission to all moms to be honest.
The author laid out a very beautifully written argument about how motherhood isn’t easy, how it’s all about working diligently for your children and your family and how we mothers need to focus on the blessings and not allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut of negativity. She also encouraged moms to pray and reach out to friends. I really loved 98 percent of her article and would have shared it with my friends if it wasn’t for the little 2 percent in which she said we mothers should stop saying being a mom is hard.
I read through the comments looking for moms who would protest, and there were plenty. The author held strongly to her point, though, and said she chose to write the post after she saw too many of her friends complaining about motherhood on Facebook.
Here is my argument: saying something is hard is not the same thing as complaining, and if we don’t allow ourselves to be honest, we risk having a society in which we all plaster on fake smiles and tell each other everything is “fine” because we are too afraid of being judged by fellow mothers.
Complaining about how hard your kids and life are on social media is one thing. I have done it plenty of times, and I can see how an overwhelming Facebook newsfeed of ranting mothers who are struggling through potty training, runaway kids at the grocery store or children who cut their own hair while a parent is distracted can be discouraging.
If these types of rants and posts are fostering a culture of negativity where mothers are surrounded by other mothers who do nothing but complain, we will all be drained and too overwhelmed to better ourselves as mothers.
Is this something we as a community of mothers should work on? Absolutely. I am so grateful for my life and my children (as I know you are, too). Getting caught up in the negatives to the point where we can no longer see the gifts we have is working against us being the best moms and daughters of our God.
However, I absolutely believe we need to maintain a culture of honesty with one another. If not, we will have social media filled with nothing but pictures of magazine-worthy, toy-free living rooms, photos of homemade reindeer soap and stories about our children doing nothing but sharing and hugging one another all day. And who knows how painful our face-to-face interactions would be when no one felt allowed to say anything other than how much they loved being a mom. This is a recipe for fostering shame, guilt and secretiveness between mothers who need to support one another.
The author also suggested in the comment section to remember moms who have lost their children or those dealing with infertility. As someone who battled for a long while with infertility and wanting a family, I can respect this. We all need to be mindful of our words, status updates and Tweets, thinking of each one through a different filter before sharing. There are moms and women who would give the world to be in our shoes, and we need to be aware of this daily. We are truly, truly blessed to have children to hold and hug each day.
However, having an attitude of gratefulness and maintaining some restraint in the complaint department on social media are NOT the same thing as not being real with each other.
We have to find a balance, moms, and I believe this balance includes permission to say, “Man, this mom thing is hard,” without judgment.
Should we think before we complain mercilessly on social media? Yes.
Should we look for the joy in our lives and work toward feeling grateful every day? Yes.
Should we encourage one another down this wild journey called motherhood every step of the way? Absolutely.
Along the journey of accomplishing these tasks, we should give one another permission to say, “Being a mom is hard.”