I should start this by saying I am sitting here with an incredibly sick three year old to my left who is determined to beat the flu by doing nothing but eating waffles and watching Frozen on repeat, (I should also mentioned she isn't yet potty trained no matter how hard I have tried) and a 4 month old equally determined in every aspect of life.... but not yet sick. She did manage to pee around a new diaper last night and completely soak me and our bed while breastfeeding and I may or may not have only half dealt with it because it was 4 am and baby pee is basically just water right?... I'm kidding but all that to say I am not perfect, I am not coming from a place of perfection... I don't have this all figured out.
There is a movement going around the internet right now to unfollow people who don't bring you joy, and in some cases to call them out, stereotype them... and basically shame them. If you read my post on breastfeeding and mom shaming you already know my experience and my thoughts about shaming others BUT this movement and this voice to end comparison is so loud I feel like I need to address it again.
And by address it I mean do the exact opposite... because mamas the truth is your value doesn't lie in anyone else's story. These little squares we see online aren't the whole story and no one else snippets of life no matter how beautiful or imperfect or whatever they are can change the value of yours.
I think it is human nature to look at what other people have or are doing and assume it changes the value of what your are doing or have but I want to say... to really truly make it clear that isn't the truth! Oh Mamas that is not the truth! When I posted about breastfeeding a while back and was shamed for leaving out mothers who can't breastfeed I was upset but after thinking about it really just sad. Sad for the mamas leaving the comments, and the ones unspoken reading it and feeling left out. Sad that we have bought into the lie that there is only one way to live and one persons truth has to be your truth and if it isn't you aren't enough. It breaks my heart to see the comparison, the whispers of inadequacy, and weird competition that has become motherhood online.
So I want to say we need to change the dialogue... we need to stop thinking that answer lies in who we follow or don't and we need to realize the answer lies simply in saying NO. No I will not join in on the game that is comparing my life to yours. NO my life, my story does not depend on how good or bad yours appears to be. NO I am not dependent on other people for my worth... I am not dependent on other people for my worth.
I am NOT writing this as someone who has it all figured out... if you know me at all you know I struggle with extreme self esteem issues so please I am not saying this from the top of the mountain more gently whispering it again and again as I climb the steep hillside and know that someday I will not look at others and question my own worth. I am sharing this though because the path to less comparison and more joy in the mom community online isn't found it calling others fake and shaming moms who appear to have it all. Real joy isn't found at the expense of anyone... you are enough, they are enough, we are all enough.
Having different stories, different struggles, different ways of mothering and living doesn't make one better than the other... it makes us all unique. As someone who has spent her whole life trying to fit in, being ruthlessly bullied in middle school, and fighting an inferiority complex that goes deeper than I have yet to explore... trust when I say this isn't any easy thing to believe BUT it doesn't make it any less true. Our uniqueness is what makes us stronger as a community of mothers and those difference are beautiful. You are enough no matter where you are at on your journey... whether you take a shower every day, feed your child 15 different kinds of organic vegetables on a daily basis, or don't.
I could keep listing things off but the truth is those lists still create comparison... there doesn't need to be an us verses them mentality online OR in real life. The mother who showers every day is no better or worse than the one who showers once a week. (and the same goes for vegetables or whatever else.) Motherhood is hard.. every child is so different, every experience is so different, and every life is so different... we each have our own story and that is BEAUTIFUL. So please if you take away anything from this let it be that you are enough... no one else's "enoughness" changes yours. ( I think I may have just made up that word but it fits so I am going with it.) If you are feeling inadequate, if you are questioning your worth.. the answer is never going to lie in cleaning out who you follow online... (though by all means if you don't want to follow someone don't do it... but please don't do it because you think it will bring your life more joy).
The truth is real joy is going to be found in putting down your phone and living YOUR life, embracing the life you have, and knowing that the story you are telling is beautiful and valuable and your worth is found there... in the moments you actually live, not the tiny squares you see of others online.... we are all enough.