Being a working mom is hard. Being honest about it is harder! Facebook is a facade & I'm fessing up!
I’m a mom of two. I’m a wife. I’m a business owner. I’m a hustler who busts ass and works multiple jobs.
It makes me sound like a badass when I write it that way, but I’m also the person that has anxiety over attending family/social gatherings because I hate feeling like the mess I think I look like; the mom that feels like she’s just treading water; the wife that always wishes she had more to give; the imperfect person that has the hardest time forgiving herself for even the smallest mistakes.
I also am guilty of letting the world see the first sentence and leaving the rest behind smoke and mirrors.
(Social media vs reality)
Now, I’ve been talking to lots of girlfriends and fellow female BOSS ladies since the pandemic started. I thank God for that boredom that birthed our reconnections, and the fact that we’ve maintained pretty consistent communication since. What I've learned is that most of us, regardless of how varied our lives are, all deal with very similar day-to-day issues. I’ve categorized them into four major categories.
Hate toward Self
While I’m certainly no expert, I’ve found it’s much easier to sum it up with the convenient acronym I’ve created, “S.H.I.T.”
Maybe this is you, and maybe you’re dealing with SHIT.
Maybe you feel like you don’t have a friend lately, or that you’ve outgrown the ones you had. You’ve already met your complaint quota with your significant other and start to bottle your feelings up inside. You might also feel like you don’t have someone to relate to or trust, the funds for counseling, nor the energy it would take to fill someone in on the thousands of things that are bringing you down. So instead you suffer silently… hoping things will improve before your mental state gets worse - as if trying to let time outrun your problems for you.
Maybe you secretly hate yourself. Leading up to 2020, there seemed to be campaign after campaign about self-love and acceptance. Still, for many, it’s easier said than done. Hate is a strong word, but know that you can love yourself as a whole but hate aspects of yourself: a personality trait you wish you could fix, a complex you wish you didn’t have or a physical characteristic you’ve never felt comfortable with. Do you hide behind your kid in photos? Only share your beach trip selfies with filters? Or only share life’s highlights online? Are you the person that would never dare to share a post about how tough your life feels today? Do you internalize every criticism you’ve ever gotten and still beat yourself up about the dumb mistakes you’ve made dating back to junior high because you still haven’t forgiven yourself? Do you swat away compliments because you have trouble believing or accepting them? Are you hard on yourself, constantly trying to fix something or are you just unsatisfied with who you are or who you aren’t? If you’ve answered yes to any, or even all of these questions, don’t be hard on yourself… I bet we would be hard-pressed to find a single female that doesn’t feel the same way.
Feelings of insecurity have always been natural to me, and I’ve been blessed enough to have friends and family members that helped me to normalize those feelings by sympathizing with me. People have insecurities about self, self-worth, image, personality, and physicality. You might feel insecure in your role at work, your marriage, as a parent, as a friend, daughter.. the list goes on.
Lastly, but possibly the most relatable: these tortured comparisons we make. We tend to torture ourselves endlessly; comparing ourselves against standards that are often outrageous. My husband and I have come to realize that my ambition in life has a negative side. If I don’t meet my own mark, or a mark I think I should have met by this point in life... I feel like such a failure. Regardless of the success my ambitions helped me to achieve… there is always this need for something more, something better, and something bigger - because, by comparison, someone else has already done it... so why can’t I?! People compare themselves to other people constantly - which is why people “keep up with the Jones’” We compare ourselves in our endeavors, experiences, careers, possessions, achievements, even health. We compare the way we look, the clothes we wear, the way we act. Then we project those comparisons on our family… the way our family looks, what our family has, what our kids wear/do/achieve. The worst of us are like me - comparing ourselves to ourselves, or some “bar” we set once upon a time.
The worst part about all this SHIT is... we tend to hide it. We hide the things that affect us and hurt us because we don’t want to seem weak, or less than those we compare ourselves to. We hide our shit behind smiles, behind our finest moments, and in the depths of our hearts, because we don’t like when others think we don’t have our “shit” together. Well, friends, despite the way my Facebook page looks - I’ve got shit! WE ALL have shit.. and this shit is affecting our mental health. For some - we still get to deal with our shit because we have people to vent to, to listen and hear us. Others aren’t so lucky. During the pandemic, especially... airing out your shit on a daily basis had become much more difficult and it may have felt like it was slowly breaking you down.
Like I said when I started this awfully long blog - I’ve learned in talking to girlfriends that everyone has SHIT they are dealing with, and when just ONE person lets down their guard and is honest about how their life isn’t rainbows and butterflies... the flood gates seem to open. I’ve always been an open book and I’d be largely unauthentic if I sat here and said that my social media presence looks anything close to my real life. I recognize I’m so blessed and love my life as a whole, but day to day… my life is far from picture-perfect. I feel failure daily, whether it’s losing my patience as a mom, or being a flat-out jerk to my husband, or trying to figure out why I feel so aggravated for no reason some days (even before pregnancy was an excuse). I have ups and downs, and that’s LIFE. I assure you I am NOT complaining - I’m NORMALIZING. Outside of Mother Theresa and a few others, I imagine anyone who doesn’t admit to experiencing this sort of “shit” is oblivious in life or lying - and if you feel like you’re getting crushed under the weight of your “shit” - you need to hear this.
You are not alone!
SO… if you have “shit” but you are afraid to tell your best friend because you think she’s too perfect to understand what you’re going through… she’s not. Have the conversation. If you’re too afraid to talk to your mom, sister, or ______ person because you think you’ll be judged… know that most of these things are human feelings and you’re not a failure for feeling them. It’s okay to not be perfect and it’s okay to admit you feel pressure trying to be. So have the conversation. If you don’t have someone to talk to — there are helplines. Admittedly, I’m always open to hearing from anyone who feels the need to reach out… but just know, I’m not a counselor, all I can offer you is judgment-free love.
I’ve gone on long enough, but I woke up this morning thinking of every friend I’ve caught up with lately that thanked me for being real with them about the “shit” I’m going through because it made them feel so much more normal. It gave them comfort and the courage to trust me with their burdens too. Every conversation seems to be the same. Our problems aren’t FIXED... but seem smaller. We don’t feel so alone and the pressure of being perceived as perfect is lifted, making it easier to breathe. So at the very least... I hope this helps even ONE of you feel less lonely and saner. I hope this post encourages more women to be more comfortable being their authentic selves - “shit” and all.
With the most love,
Professional family photos were photographed by the wonderful and talented Meagan Andrepont, color editing done by yours truly. Our "real" in home session was a DIY job.