There’s this new meme that comes up in my feeds at least once a week that pokes fun at this concept of “adult-ing.” It’s pretty spot-on in the way it captures most adults’ I’m-not-ready-for-the-week mourning that happens on Sunday nights. At the very least, we can all get a chuckle at the fact that we’re all in the same boat in having those feelings of lament about the responsibilities that come with “adult-ing.”
And as I read those memes, I can’t help but think of.. a few.. (ok, ok, probably a lot more than a few) examples of times when I just don’t feel like “mom-ing.” In fact, despite what we all share on our social media accounts, I’m sure we all could. Here are a few I can rattle off the top of my head:
Baby comes down with the stomach flu. In the middle of the night. And hasn’t figured out how to aim for the bucket. Blech!
Toddler meal times: when you spend equal (or more) effort cleaning up as you did preparing the actual meal. Sigh.
Laundry. All the laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
Here’s one I like to call “date night guilt,” does anyone else have this? When my husband and I finally carve out some time to go out, grab a bite and maybe even catch a movie, I can’t help but feel guilty I’m not spending what “extra” time I do have with our babe.
Packing up to go most places. With (a) little one(s), there are just way more steps involved in leaving the house.
We all have those moments and it doesn’t mean we don’t love our kiddos. And it doesn’t even mean that we don’t love being parents. Sometimes, all it means is that it’s hard and that’s our truth in those moments. One thing that rings true in my journey as a parent is the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Dude, it’s hard to do it alone. So why are we all so afraid to say these things out loud?
What would we have to be ashamed about as parents anyway? “I yell at my kids when I’m stressed out,” “I let my kids watch TV when I’m too tired for activities,” “My kid won’t sleep in her crib like she’s ‘supposed to,'” etc. etc. You get the picture. In the highly social world we live in today, it seems like, if we’re not careful, the things we selectively choose to share about (or not share about) can unintentionally breed shame among those you’re sharing with (“Everyone else looks so happy” or “So-and-so makes it look so easy”). The quote, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlight reel” comes to mind.
One of the most fascinating things about the “adult-ing” (and, in this case, mom-ing) memes is that it brings people together around taking things that suck and putting them out there and having people share them around as if to say “Oh man, I know how that feels too, I hate that.” My girl Brene Brown rightfully points out that shame “depends on me buying into the belief that I’m alone” and we are drawn to things that remind us we are not alone in our struggles.
I find it hard to believe that it’s a coincidence that parents are really starting to break out of the “shell” of sharing only the good, the happy and the beautiful. I’ve started seeing more posts pop up about “keeping it real” when it comes to our experiences as parents (umm, have you seen “Reasons My Son Is Crying?”), both when we’re #winning and when we’re struggling to stay above water. And when parents start sharing, it makes it easier and more comfortable for other parents to join in. Yay, empathy!
All I’m saying is this: in this world where we have more platforms to selectively share about ourselves, we all need to not only embrace but own our crazy lives as
parents humans (because, letsbereal: we’re all a little nuts). To share a more balanced perspective of our lives. To come together as a community and truly connect to be the best, most authentic, messy but real version of “the village” for ourselves and for our children.