I'd never claim to be a perfect mother. I don't know any moms who would. I have my bad days, my challenges, and my moments of doing that which I do not want to do.
But those aren't the moments I wish to dwell on. They happen, yes. I share them, yes. But what I seek is to find peace and joy in the moment. It goes without saying that some days I find myself fishing toys out of the litter box or scrubbing poo out of the carpet in the middle of the night. But those aren't the moments that stick in my mind, because they all go straight out the window the moment I tell my toddler I love him and he replies, "Mommy, I love you!"
Becoming a mother was a turning point in my life and the catalyst for a great deal of personal growth and healing. I wanted a place to both document and share my journey towards a life governed by purpose and intention. My journey is my own. Of the other blogs I read, some are on a journey similar to mine, and others are on a very different journey. Each one is valuable. Each one is worth sharing.
And yet there seems to be a trend of deriding those bloggers who write anything considered "alternative". They are accused of being holier-than-thou, of judging others, of making others feel bad about their lives, of presenting an impossible image, and above all, of pretending to have the perfect life.
If a blogger writes about homeschooling, does that equal a slight against those who choose public school for their children? I read blogs written by mothers who public school. They talk about how their children are doing there, about how good it has been for their little ones, about what a positive it is in their family's life. I don't find that offensive, as though I am somehow depriving my children by choosing another option (unless, of course, the blogger straight-out says so, in which case I'll just have one less blog to read). I am happy for them. I celebrate their successes and joys with them. So why does writing about a different sort of educational journey mean that a blogger is somehow placing herself above those parents?
If a blogger has a positive birth experience and shares it, does that negate the reality of someone else's birth experience? If my homebirth was beautiful, I'm going to say so. If my hospital birth was beautiful, I'm going to say so. If my homebirth was awful, I'm going to say so. If my hospital birth was awful, I'm going to say so. Does speaking my truth somehow mean that I am being inauthentic, simply because your own truth may be different?
Cloth diapering can be overwhelming to get started with. If a blogger shares information to make that process easier for someone who is interested, how is that scorning those who are perfectly happy with their babies' disposable diapers? Why not simply appreciate that the information is there for those who do want it?
If a blogger finds an interesting project on Pinterest and shares the results, does it make you a terrible mother if it isn't the sort of thing that floats your boat? You have your way of winding down, of relaxing, of finding peace, of doing something just for you simply because you enjoy it. Your way might be different than another blogger's. So you're not into crafts but you love cooking. Or you're not into cooking but you like to wind down in front of a good movie. That's okay. Must every blogger keep their own ways to themselves for fear of making someone else feel inadequate? Must I hide who I am so that you can be who you are?
If a blogger finds motherhood enjoyable, is she a liar? Must every entry celebrating a positive be followed by an entry stressing how awful and difficult and challenging this all is? Are we only permitted to share the uglier side of life so as not to make anyone "feel bad"?
If a blogger really wants to avoid the so-called mommy wars, why tear down those bloggers whose lives seem to be "too good"?
If I'm having a friend over, chances are I'll tidy up a few things and scrub a couple sticky spots off the kitchen floor. Am I an inauthentic person because I don't want my guests' socks sticking to my floor? And when she comes, am I presenting a rosy picture of fake perfection if I don't share with her the nitty-gritty details of the hypothetical fight I had with my husband the night before? If not, then why am I, as a blogger, expected to showcase every dirty toilet and difficult moment in the name of "keepin' it real"?
I don't know, maybe there truly are bloggers out there who claim to be perfect. I certainly haven't come across one yet. I read blogs that are encouraging, uplifting, challenging, and inspiring, but none written by people who I presume live magical, perfect lives. I read about Robin, the Jewish mother whose children attend daycare and private school, because she has an extraordinary ability to take the most ordinary of moments and spin them into magical tales with her gift for storytelling. I read about Ann and find hope that God can redeem even my deepest weaknesses. I read about Theresa as she balances her ideals and reality while raising three children under two. I read about Dulce as she speaks out to remind other Christians that we are called to treat our children as we would like to be treated. I read the passionate voices of Sarah, Megan, Rachel, and Jen. I follow the journeys of Melissa and Enigma. Even SouleMama encourages me to let go of perfection and embrace the scarred and weathered.
I can allow my self-worth to be determined in comparison to others, or I can find joy in letting go and living fully in the present - as fully as I can, flawed person that I am.
Today, friend, I want to celebrate you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do, however you live, whatever your passions, whatever your challenges. Whether your life is currently hard, wonderful, or somewhere in between. Because I know that most of us are just trying to live our lives in the way that feels best to us - and our doing so isn't a slight against those who do things differently. Keep sharing who you are and what's on your heart. The world needs your stories and your truth, whatever they may be.