I like writing happy things, sharing pictures of grinning children and a happy mother in the background gently and joyfully nurturing in the midst of a chaotic day with little kids.
But the truth is, I’m not always a happy mom.
Sometimes I scroll through my Facebook feed and see pictures of moms cuddling their babies and giggling, or smiling as they run around with their older kids and I think “yeah, that’s totally not me”. Those smiles and images radiate joy.
Sometimes, those joyful photos only serve to remind me how far I am from that place in the moment.
I’m not always that happy mom. Sure, I love a good smiling photo, but there are times when my photos come out like this:
Or this one, as I can barely contain my tears and struggling to keep my eyes open as I rock the crying baby to sleep for 10th time that night.
There are times when I can’t bring my mouth to curve. If I manage a smile I know it doesn’t reach my eyes and can only hope no one notices. The smile may be enough for my kids but the camera knows the truth of my heart. The despair and the lack of joy in life, and motherhood.
No, I’m not depressed every day.
But I’m also not completely happy each day.
If I’m honest my emotions are more like a heart monitor careening up and down.
Sometimes my kids and I giggle until our sides hurt. Other times, I muscle my way through the day, microwaving chicken nuggets for dinner and allow them to watch sesame street a bit more than normal.
The former days make me feel great about myself as a mother, while days like the latter usually end with me mentally berating myself for not being like the shining images of joy I see on the faces in my newsfeed.
I’m not saying it’s social media’s fault. Social media isn’t the source of my pain, it’s just the place I can most readily see photos of fun and sometimes it leaves me feeling inadequate and defeated.
When the truth of the matter is, all moms have bad days. It’s a pretty normal thing for moms to get depressed and to just feel like we want to hide for a minute.
We should not let those emotions define us. Because we are each more than how great or how difficult of a day we had today.
In fact, letting our kids know that emotions are real, and teaching them by example healthy ways to deal with bad and depressing days, can be an extremely valuable phase in their own personal development.
Sometimes it feels like in order to be a good mom, you must smile all day long.
But that is simply not true.
In order to be a good mom, we must love our kids. And you know what? Even when I’m exhausted and impatient and wanting a break, I still love my kids immeasurably. I’d still do anything for them, even when I’m sighing on the inside as I’m asked another question I’m unable to answer or the baby is happily screeching for 45 minutes straight.
Motherhood is rough. It’s up and down. I’m not always that glowingly joyous mama. I am sometimes. But other times I have hard days. Just like every other good mama out there.
If you are having a rough day, don’t beat yourself up over it. Hug your kids, do something fun, go outside, plan a night out alone. Do what you need to do to make it through the day, just don’t EVER tell yourself a bad day makes you a bad mama. Emotions and hormones do no such thing.
Love your kids. Love ON your kids. And take care of yourself.
And admit it… Whether today was a good day or bad day emotionally, you ARE a good mama!
or check out this post about the 10 things all good moms have in common *hint, one of them is bad days…*