Monday, February 22, 2016

The TRUTH About Perfect Babies and Social Media Moms... and How to Survive Motherhood in REAL Life

The TRUTH About Perfect Babies and Social Media Moms... and How to Survive the Little Monsters in REAL Life

When it comes to social media moms, we've all seen those magical moments of smiling content babies, perfect mornings, and well-behaved children eating organic veggies and tofu.  The truth is that raising kids is no walk in the park.  When these things do happen, we have to capture them fast because it doesn't last long!  We post these pictures because somewhere deep inside we need to know that once in a while we get it right.  Then there's the days we post nothing at all.  Those are often the days that are complete shit and we let the little one eat a package of baby wipes in exchange for 5 minutes of peace and quiet.  As I type this, my baby is yanking my braids that have been unwashed for four days and slapping my face with her tiny precious hands.  After the 75th slap/hair-pull... they're not so precious anymore!  So to all the mothers that can't help but compare yourselves to the perfect families on Instagram or Facebook, please know that you are not a failure and babies are not always adorable. 

How do I get through the bad days, you ask???

1) That mom's baby is smiling and mine is always crying. 
Crying... It's the worst.  It makes you feel sad, helpless, worried, frustrated, and even angry sometimes when you can't fulfill your baby's needs.  The biggest thing I have learned to do is walk away for a few minutes.  When cuddling, feeding, singing, holding, changing diapers, and big smiles just don't work, the best thing you can do it walk away.  Take a moment to breath and while your baby is hanging in a safe spot.  Put on some headphones and listen to your happy songs (you know the ones... you used to dance to them in the club before your driving playlist was filled with Elmo and Barney).  Go into the bathroom, run the water and shut the door... or hide in the closet... anywhere you can find to hide out for five little minutes.  Sometimes babies just need to cry it out.  They are human too and they need some space to work out their frustrations. Babies never always smile and that mom doesn't want to completely terrify people from having children. ;)

2) That mom's life looks perfect but I just can't mom today!!!? 
You are completely exhausted and if you drink one more Red Bull or Starbucks, you might have a self induced anxiety attack.  These are the days you need back up.  Don't be ashamed to ask the hubby or a family member to take over and give you a break.  Every mom needs a recharge and if you don't take one you may find yourself yelling at complete strangers on the street for simply smiling at you the wrong way.  If this isn't an option, this is the day you need to make nap time your nap time.  Give yourself the same discipline that you give your kids... get off of your phone, turn off the TV, and close your eyes.  Shut down your brain and relax.  Leave the dishes in the sink and the toys in the floor (tomorrow is another day)... your sanity is more important.  Your children and hubby will thank you later.  That other mom couldn't mom yesterday. It's all good ;)

3)  That mom looks like a model and I feel ugly, smelly, and the checkout girl at Target today gave my nails dirty looks.  
I have been asked a few times from other moms, "How do you always look so put together with two kids?"  Because I finally decided that after five days of not washing my hair, wearing makeup, or taking off my workout pants, it was time to put the baby in her swing, turn on Sesame Street and face the mirror.  Sometimes you have to put yourself first and do everything you used to do before having kids.  (Well maybe not EVERYTHING, but you know!)  After taking some time to really get yourself ready, you walk out of the house smelling like heaven, your hair is flowing, your eyes bright, and the world is once again your oyster.  The confidence you feel makes everything the baby does OH SO ADORABLE.  You take a picture and put it up for everyone to see... DUH!!  You go on with your day and feel good about life.  That same guy on the street who was smiling at you the wrong way before suddenly becomes a friendly part of your community.  My point is that every now and then you need to take a day to get your shit together.  It doesn't have to be a face full of makeup if that isn't your thing, but do something that makes you feel fresh and alive like you did before your little blood-sucking monsters came around.  (Uh oh, sounds like I'm due to make today my day!) 

4) That mom is surrounded by friends but I'm so lonely.
  Whether you are a working mom or staying at home, every one of us has them.  It's not that you don't have friends or family but sometimes life just gets in the way of getting to those people.  Maybe you are uncomfortable bringing your crazy kids around friends who don't have them.  Perhaps you are having one of those ugly/smelly days and just can't get it together to feel confident around others.  It could be that after 42 days of only being around kids you realize that you don't know how to talk to other adults anymore.  There is no need to feel lonely today.  Put the baby in the stroller and go for a long walk.  Go to the park or do some window shopping and you just might meet another mama that feels just like you.  Even if you don't just being around other people will make you feel less isolated.  Call your mom.  Who else has already been there and will listen to your whining for hours and hours?  Listen to her voice and instantly remember that you are NEVER really alone.  Maybe she will even offer to take the little animals off your hands for a while. ;)  Get on social media and interact with other moms just like you.  I don't think hiding behind a screen is the answer or should replace interacting with other humans in person, but it's an amazing trend that is there for you when you really need it.  There are so many moms who feel EXACTLY the same as you. 

5) That mom just received a mom of the year award and today I questioned why I ever had kids.
  It happens.  I don't care how much you love your children and I know that if anything happened to mine, I would literally die!  But we all have that moment where we question why we ever decided to breed.  While the feeling doesn't usually last long, it happens and it often brings a tremendous amount of guilt.  One simple trick is to pull out the baby book.  Whether you are adding to it or reminiscing, your heart can't help but melt.  A memory of that sweet newborn smell, the time they fell and you ran to the rescue, a first birthday where your little prince or princess smashed that cake and made everyone laugh, a print of their tiny feet that are not so tiny anymore, or favorite food that was spit out onto you.  You may have been frustrated but now you laugh... exactly NOW you laugh. All the moments good and bad will all make you laugh one day.  Nothing is forever and life goes by way too fast.  You will tear up with the realization that you will take the bad days over no days at all with these tiny humans that have forever changed your life. 

6) Today that mom's "mom game" was on point and I DIDN'T COMPARE MYSELF ONCE-
   I want to be an inspiration to other moms but never do I want anyone to think I'm perfect.  Try as I might, please don't think I've got it all figured out.  There have been days I've played the "Total Bullshit Comparison Game."  Her vacation is better, the city she lives in is warmer, her kids behaved at the restaurant while mine got us kicked out, her house is bigger, her car is safer, I do not look like that in a bikini... why am I so lazy!?  I could on and on.  It's stupid!!!  STOP!  Just stop and know that she does the exact same thing.  The grass is always greener... blah blah blah.  It's not.  Wherever you are in your current life will have good times and bad.  Live in the moment, fix the things you hate, but don't strive to have someone's life.  You never will because it wasn't meant for you.  Trust your journey and stop comparing. 

Today I posted a pic of my precious little baby crying and tomorrow, if I am lucky, I will post a pic of her smiling after she took a long, peaceful nap. ;)  Yesterday I missed living in Tennessee but today I will love being in NYC.  Tomorrow I will shower...

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