There's a trend in the world of Instagrammers and online bloggers to over-romanticize motherhood. I'm thinking of 'grams featuring flawlessly styled young mothers in exotic locals, babies cooing, and captions extolling the virtues of togetherness and memories.
My family just returned home from a beach vacation, and can I just say? It was nothing like that. I actually came back more tired than I left. There is not a single photo of our entire trip, mostly because it takes nine billion hours to get three kids under five ready for the beach, and another nine billion hours to load and unload all the stuff a family of five needs for road trips.
Motherhood is beautiful, and I'll be the first to wave that flag.
But it's hard. Can we talk about that, and stop pretending the only things worthy of Instagram are rainbows and unicorn farts?
I've experienced moments of profound emotion as a mother, and in general, I strive to parent with joy and live in the moment. But, I also have three small children, and here are some other things I feel a lot:
- totally lost
- utterly incapable
The list goes on.
I'm happy. I love my kids. But as a flawed person living in very close quarters with three tiny humans, the sparks fly, emotions run high, and happy isn't an ephemeral fairy dusting my home with sunshine and unicorn dust--it's a state of mind.
Can we all admit that the raising of small humans is a noble and hugely important calling, but that it's also very, very hard? Can we stop fetishizing motherhood?
An olympic athlete has to push through fear and exhaustion to get to the top of her game. The genius with a business idea has to work long hours through failures and disappointments to launch a successful business. And a musician has to practice for hours and hours and hours to become world-class.
Why are we afraid to admit motherhood has the same learning curve, and requires the same kind of sacrifice?
Frankly, it's ok that I'm not madly in love with motherhood every second of the day, and it's ok that you're not, either. Feeling the hard feels as mothers doesn't make us any less perfect for the job, and it doesn't make us any less successful at that job.
It just means we're human. And I'm pretty sure a few of those happy captions were typed through clenched teeth. Traveling with kids is nuts.