Social media is a funny thing. We only get a snapshot of people’s lives and it’s hard to know what goes on behind the screens. I get messages like:
“You look like you have it all together”
“You make motherhood look so easy!”
“You’re lucky, my kids are crazy!”
If you follow me you know I struggle with mental health. I certainly don’t ‘have it all together’ and life isn’t always easy. But what I share on social media? That’s still the majority of my day. By and large, my life with my children and being a mama is truly amazing.
I don’t share this to brag. I share this because I truly think my choices and intentional living are a large part of the why. So I want to share that so others can also have this experience if they wish to. I think unschooling and respectfully parenting really lend themselves to a more harmonious life. We are not battling my children’s humanity. We aren’t tied to other people’s expectations.
Motherhood isn’t meant to be perfect. We are balancing the needs of our children alongside the adults and that can be hard work. But we are all on the same team.
I get that many people generally only share their highlights on social media. I do think that is really significant, don’t get me wrong. But I also think there’s a big chunk of truth missing from this idea. People can’t assume that what is shared is any less real simply because it’s lovely.
I know for people I know and for myself; those awesome moments? They’re just as real. Those beautiful moments are reality too!
Somehow, being ‘more real’ has become synonymous with sharing lots of negativity surrounding parenting and children. I see some very popular bloggers constantly sharing how rough their parenting and marriage is. Not to mention how they put down their children (I don’t believe you need to call kids nasty names and belittle them in order to vent how hard parenting can be). This kind of thing is so praised in our culture. “Yes, queens!”
That’s not my reality! The hard times are a small subset of reality. At least for me and my friends that’s the case. Very genuinely here, yes there are tough moments but they’re often circumstantial and unrelated to parenting or my children. Those are few and far between.
I still share the hard moments. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ve seen me share my miscarriage, my experiences with anxiety and so much with depression, my husbands cancer experience and many hiccups in life (flat tyres, broken bones, lack of sleep, sibling disagreements.. many struggles). Yet I’m still told I don’t share enough of the real?
It seems I’m asked to be more real because their real isn’t as positive as mine?
It seems as though the validation of their choices is reliant on my experience of life being as bad as theirs.
So yes it’s important to share some of the rough moments, but percentage wise the good far outweighs the bad. What I share reflects my reality. I’m no less real as a result.
As someone who publicly shares my life and opinions I sometimes am told my choices and opinion are wrong (fair enough).. But even in the same comment the naysayers will share how ‘difficult’ their kids are or school is (but don’t question the choices right – it must be just a fault of the children?) I see many of these people are making different choices but are then frustrated when they have different ‘results’? It’s hardly surprising.
I share my life because we genuinely love it and think this is what kids deserve. It’s not about what ‘works’ but also the ‘results’ sound far better than the alternative.
If someone has to poke holes in your reality to be comfortable with theirs, they’re in trouble.
The reality with respectful parenting is that because my children feel more heard, valued and respected – they in turn reflect that. My relationship with my kids is a reflection of the intention and efforts we have put in to improve beyond punitive parenting. I don’t view their behaviours as offences but rather as communication. Usually for me my biggest struggle is wishing I could be more. Not wishing my children would be less.
I feel like what I share is an accurate representation of our life. Our real just happens to be amazing by a big majority.
My hope in writing this isn’t to shame people for not being happy with their reality but in the hopes to empower one another
Life can be HARD, believe me, I get that. But if cancer and ongoing clinical depression has taught me anything, it’s that life is about finding joy and living fully. Life is good. Life is meant to be enjoyed. This season of childhood with our children is fleeting!
Life is about sharing that joy and celebrating how fortunate we are. That’s just as real as the moments with breast milk stained singlets or kids arguing in the middle of the shopping centre. You can share the difficult without belittling all the good.
A life full of lovely moments IS REAL.
Thank you for reading.