I think of Sundays like I think of Facebook. Everyone shows up in their best clothes with their hair and makeup done, smiles brightly and answers “great, how are you?” when asked how they are. I mean, that’s what’s expected, right? Once a week you pull yourself together and let everyone know what a great Christian you are because you’re not struggling with anything and your family is picture perfect.
What are we missing out on by doing this?
I had the opportunity to make a real connection with a mom at church today because after a few minutes of shallow conversation, we started getting real. We talked about some of the challenges of motherhood, especially the unique challenge moms in the 21st century face: the interwebs.
Our moms didn’t have Pinterest or Facebook, which could be a good or bad thing. I think it can be a good thing, but so often it isn’t.
There is already so much self-imposed mom guilt that moms have been feeling since…well, I’m guessing the beginning of time. The pressure to do better and “keep up with the Joneses”; only “the Joneses” really just boils down to “Mrs. Jones”. Now throw Facebook and Pinterest into the mix. Suddenly all you’re seeing is a news feed full of Pin-tastic birthday parties and date nights, gourmet home cooked meals from scratch, elaborate school lunches in bento boxes, and clean houses that were clearly decorated by Joanna Gaines.
Enter mom guilt. My kids will never eat raw radishes and carrot shreds for lunch…am I a bad mom for not starting them on healthy foods sooner? I mean, they used to eat veggies as babies, what happened? Did I give in too much? Did I not discipline enough? I did buy those baby carrots, but I bribed them with peanut butter… And didn’t I read somewhere that baby carrots are soaked in bleach and harvested by starving kids in third world countries? Am I forcing these poor children into slavery by buying baby carrots? And what if the bleach causes cancer?
Great, now I’m solely responsible for cancer and child slavery.
Stay with me here. What would happen if we actually started being real with each other? What would we find if we let that curtain fall and we showed our real selves?
I’ll tell you what happened today.
We found out that while I was admiring her hair and wondering how she found time to do it, she’d actually had it in a messy bun and pulled it out last minute. She said mine looked perfect and I laughed and said it was only decent because I’d fixed it for a Skype date with the hubby last night.
She marveled at my makeup & I confessed that I’d put it on last night and just rubbed away the mascara circles with some extra foundation this morning; and then we laughed because she said she does that frequently.
We found out that our middle children are eerily alike and I shared how we made it through our troubled years at that age.
We even talked about the guilt we feel over being late to church. We didn’t high five over the awesome fact that we managed to get our entire families ready and out the door to church at all, but beat ourselves up over being late and feeding them Dunkin Donuts in the car.
Moms, what are we doing to ourselves?? Why are we so afraid to actually be…I don’t know, HUMAN?!
I know you think that’s a rhetorical question, but it isn’t. I’m going to stay on my soapbox and give you the answer.
We. Are. Afraid.
We are afraid of being judged or thought of as not good enough if we open up. And you know what’s sad? It’s because it’s happened.
That one time you admit that your marriage is struggling, someone questions your faith.
You admit that your child is struggling, and someone tells you how to discipline better.
You admit that you’re struggling with time management, and someone tells you how to prep freezer meals for a month.
(disclaimer: I’m not telling you to walk around looking for ways people are judging you. It’s ok for a friend to disagree with you or offer advice and it doesn’t mean she’s judgemental)
I’m telling you, mommas, we’re missing out. We’re missing out on the joy that we could have in building friendships. Motherhood is isolating and lonely, and it doesn’t have to be! The truth is that most of us are struggling with the same things.
What if… Just what if…
Momma A admits her marriage is struggling and Momma B puts her arms around A and says “Oh, sweet friend, I’ve been there. How can I pray for you?” I’m telling you from personal experience this makes a difference.
What if Momma A asks “how are you?” and Momma B says “It’s been a bad week & I don’t know what to do.” Suddenly, we’ve opened a whole new door to what could be a friendship.
Here’s my idea/challenge for this week: share just one thing on Facebook that is “real”. I don’t mean complain about how your life sucks, but just be real. Share a picture of the $2 on the kitchen counter for school lunches because you overslept and couldn’t make lunches. Or the pile of dirty dishes in the sink because you made dinner and fed everyone, but ran out the door to dance class before cleaning up.
I promise your dirty sink will not break the Internet.