In this social media obsessed day, it's easy to get caught up on someone's Instagram feed or Pinterest page and question everything about your parenting technique (and, do I even have a technique?) because someone else is making beautiful crafts and baking and taking their kids to all the best museums.
Am I failing my kids by not making their lunches into picture-worthy Bento box treats?
Frankly, I'm more concerned that they eat fruit most days, and my aspirating son doesn't have anything too dry to eat.
Am I failing my kids because they aren't seeing where every single culture around the world is at right now?
I'm more concerned that they learn to love and help the kids in their own neighborhood and city.
Am I a failure of a mom because I didn't shower in a couple days, and my perfect seasonal outfit is sweatpants and an oversize sweater?
Do I sound a little bitter? Maybe I am.
Maybe I am a tiny bit jealous of the Instagram moms who can accomplish all these things.
Maybe I am jealous of the excess time I had before my son was born with cerebral palsy. Maybe I wish I could do everything, be everything to all my kids.
The reality is that there is only so much time in a day.
I try to spend a little quality time with each of my children daily, but sometimes I fall flat.
My son gets extra attention by default; he needs me to listen longer because he is trying so hard to be verbal.
It often takes me six times hearing it before I process what he's saying.
He also needs extra time to go up the stairs, to be put in and out of a structural vest, his AFOs, his wheelchair.
Sometimes it's all I can do to promise them that “maybe tomorrow” we will sit down together to do that puzzle, to color in a book, to paint our nails.
Or I try to do one of those things while putting someone to bed, or reading a story, or feeding my son.
I'm honestly not the best at multitasking though. Someone always feels slighted.
I'm sure my kids wish they could go to all the museums, too, and do all the crafts, and bake all the beautiful Pinterest-pinned desserts.
I'm sad I can't give them those things, but the truth is I cannot be all things to all people, all the time. It's not realistic!
So what's a modern mom to do?
The crucial thing is to stop comparing our lives to someone else's.
Sounds easy, but it isn't (especially in the U.S.). It's in our nature to compare to one another, but just because something is in your nature does not mean it should be given into.
We simply must reject the idea that we need to be like someone else.
We need to embrace our differences and proudly jump into the social waters, ten minutes late, with all our extra equipment, and post about that.
The more posts about our reality are out there, the more they are seen and read. A
bove all else, our community is strengthened by seeing our stories published, and that is powerful!