The other day there was a comment on one of my pictures that said, “You guys go to the coolest places.” I was surprised. I rarely leave the house; I put makeup on once a week, and with two toddlers outings are usually cut short. I scrolled through my pictures and realized it does look like we go to a lot of cool places. I recently posted about our beach trip; there is a picture of our favorite pumpkin patch, trips to our hometown. Wow, maybe all of the social media accounts that I scroll through with envy really are just like me.
Maybe the mom in heels doesn’t actually wear heels every day.
Maybe the couple who just celebrated 20 happy years of marriage also had a few downs to go with all those ups.
Maybe the gentle parenting crunchy mom has also lost her ish a time or two with her children.
On July 4, we were invited to spend the holiday with friends. It had been a while since we hung out with other couples, and I was thrilled. Well, the day did not go as planned, and we ended up leaving before the burgers were even put on the grill. My kids were having a day that they just could not recover from. We tried to make it work, but it was something that just couldn’t be forced. We needed to throw in the towel and accept it just wasn’t their day. I left the party secretly crying. I let my husband say our goodbyes and give an apology for having to leave so early. I could barely pull myself together and was a little angry with my toddlers. Mommy just wanted a couple of hours, and they stole them from me. Why couldn’t my two toddlers sacrifice their own needs and tantrums and just let me be first for once? Why couldn’t they just be rational and enjoy a good time? Toddlers.
By the time we got home, I was a mess and only getting angrier. I went to my room, sobbed, snapped a photo and sent all of my complaints to a trusted friend. I felt like I was breaking, I felt tired, I felt mad, and like I needed help. I needed someone to tell me that I was okay, that I wasn’t screwing up my kids, that I wasn’t failing as a mother, that I wasn’t going crazy.
She did just that. She validated my feelings and encouraged me through my own personal tantrum.
I went into the next room and loved on my babies and made sure that they knew I loved them. I accepted that we were all just having a bad day and needed ice cream and sleep. A lot of sleep.
It took a while for me to recover from that day. I still felt like a failure; I missed friendships and just felt insecure.
My mom came to town and took over watching the kids a few mornings, so I could catch up on sleep, my sister gave my husband and I a few date nights, friends invited us to dinners, and they also continued to check up on me and reminded me that we are all figuring life out.
Parents are always learning how to parent.
Couples are all navigating their way through marriage.
College students are all trying to figure out exactly who they want to be in life.
Moral of this story, well… there are a few:
No one is living the life that they post on social media. It is merely a small piece that fits into a picture. So don’t compare yourself to Cindy because her house looks like Joanna Gaines herself lives there and yours looks and smells like a zoo. Maybe only that small corner of her home is spectacular, or maybe it is actually the entire house, and she is just that amazing. Either way, it doesn’t make you more or less of a person. You aren’t the best housekeeper. That is Cindy. So, stop trying to be Cindy.
We need each other. No, we cannot be coddled. Someone cannot always babysit or call or continuously validate you, but we can lend a helping hand when there is a need to be met, we can send a text to our friend to check-in, we can love each other through the hard moments, we can be a community.
This story originally appeared on Facebook