As mothers we are constantly berating ourselves for not being good enough and for not doing enough. And social media only makes it worse. It’s constantly bombarding us with family vacation pictures, outings, birthday party pictures and now mark sheets (thankfully I don’t have to deal with it yet). What we don’t see is how much time, effort, scolding it took to get the kids beach ready or how cranky the host got at the end of the party waiting for the last guests to leave. What we see instead is the proud smiles with the sand castle and a mom with perfectly done up hair and make-up with pretty pink balloons as the back drop. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all fake but the fact remains that it’s not all perfect either. What we get to see is the filtered reality of other moms while experiencing our own unfiltered often frustrating reality.
I have learned it the hard way that like my child shouldn’t be forced to do anything or be someone he’s not, I shouldn’t try to force myself to be someone I’m not. I’m terrible at organising birthday parties. I get very jittery and nervous. But each and every year, on my son’s birthday, I tried. It always left me and my son exhausted (the pictures speak a different story, of course). He would be as overwhelmed as I would be. All I could think of was cosying up with him, wearing my pajamas, with a cup of coffee in my hands. I love my son to bits and want him to be happy on his birthday but now I realise there are many more ways of doing it rather than giving into what everyone else is doing. I don’t have to keep telling myself that I’m not being a good mother because I don’t know how not to be flustered with 20 children screaming around me and me failing to socialise with other moms with all the chaos around. It doesn’t make me a bad mother if I’m not able to socialise with other moms on play dates. I come from a small town upbringing and have always struggled with big city ways of socialising. But it’s ok to not conform and take a step back and question yourself as to what is controlling your actions.
I wonder what makes us take motherhood so seriously that we question, doubt, weigh even the smallest action and its impact. I’m shaping a life but in the process of trying to “fit in” and what is considered “good”, am I not forgetting to have fun with my son on these occasions and limiting my experiences by constantly trying to control it.