Once upon a time, there was a perfect mom…
Her house was organized and orderly. Her closets were neatly packed with everything in clear boxes stacked and labeled in creative handwriting fonts. She prepared healthy balanced meals three times a day, plus ready-to-go snacks lined up in bins with each child’s name attached. She needed no cabinet doors in the kitchen because her beautiful serving dishes were perfect for display. No dirty dish was ever visible and the place settings were always ready for dinner with plates and utensils aligned. Each family members’ clothes were always clean, pressed, hanging neatly in each of their closets, arranged by color, size, and season. The living room pillows were perfectly placed on the sofa and side chair, color-coordinate with the pleasantly draped accent blanket. Not a speck of dust could be found. The family dogs were groomed regularly, so they never shed, and they pranced around the house and neighborhood with matching collars and quiet barks. The children’s’ toys were all in order in labeled bins and were picked up every night so each day began anew. The beds were made each morning with clean sheets and perfectly fluffed pillows. When the children came home from school, they put away their things from the day and sat down to do homework, which was always completed by dinnertime, and a family fun event followed the joint meal. When the sun began to set, the children hopped along immediately and gleefully to get showers and put themselves to bed. The perfect mom sat back and smiled upon her perfect life.
That’s the fairytale; now, let’s get real.
My house does not look like that big reveal moment on Fixer Upper. Pictures of me do not look like an ad for makeup or hair products. My child’s playground does not look like an IKEA catalog. The backseat of my car does not look like a commercial for the big sales event “happening today at your local dealership!” So let’s get real.
The fairytale above is what we want people to think. It’s what we want to be real, but it’s not. Most moms’ lives do not remotely reflect the perfectly polished image above, or the one we see on each other’s social media posts. This leads to others thinking we have it all together and consequently feeling shame that they don’t. Why do we feel the need to pick up and put away, so we airbrush our lives on social media? And, more importantly, how do we change it?
Let’s get real. When we get real, we can show others the truth. And sometimes, in fact, most of the time, the truth is messy and gritty and complicated. This is true for happy moments and really really hard moments. It’s for the moments we are proudest of and moments we wish we could change for the better. Because were human. When we get real, we show our humanity. And then, something happens. When others see our humanity, we connect because they are human, too. So instead of shame, they feel connection and they feel understood.
So let’s get real. Let’s stop believing the lie that “everybody else has it all together.” That’s what we thought in junior high, and it’s time we grew up! It’s time we not judge others for being just as human as we are. It’s time to get back to humanity.
Let’s get real: Let’s show the mess. Let’s show the complicated moments of our lives. Let’s show a gritty picture of the real us (the no make-up, end-of-the-day, just-lost-my mind-with-my-family picture). Let’s show the truth. Let’s not judge others for being just as human as we are, and let’s not judge ourselves based on the best 1% of everyone else’s life they choose to share. Let’s get to the 99% that real.
So here’s the challenge: show your humanity. Let others see the truth of your life; not to brag about failure, but to connect with others through the complexities of just being a person. Not a perfect person, just a person. So let’s get real.
Rather than complain about social media or use it to judge others, let’s use it for some good. Let’s use it to connect because, after all, that’s what it was meant to be. So, share your messy, complicated life in a way that allows others to know they are understood and not judged in comparison to your 1% perfection. Let’s connect through the 99% truth and get real.