To the other mothers on my Facebook feed:
What you’re seeing is just a slice of my life as a mother. A minute. Scratch that—a second. The seconds I want you to see.
Here is a picture I snapped of my kids sitting on the windowsill looking at some birds (really wholesome, right?).
About five minutes before this, the big boy was grabbing a hockey puck from the little guy, screeching, “He cheated!” (he’s 2 years old, ahem). And a second later, the 2-year-old was in a ball on the floor because his puck got stuck beneath the air hockey table and he couldn’t get it out, and of course would not accept help from anyone else (“I do it meself!”).
But for that one second, on the windowsill, they were still, talking to each other about birds and ducks and snow, actually enjoying each other’s company. And I was watching them enjoying each other’s company, and I was enjoying that. So I took a picture of it and shared it with you.
Sometimes I tell you about the times they drive my crazy, too. I make light of it, usually. I make fun of their juvenile ways. Thank you for listening to my venting. Maybe some of you think I vent too much. But a lot of the time, I want to share the loveliness of these children with you.
I am not doing so because I want to show that I am a better mother than you are, or that my kids are happier or better behaved than your kids are. They most definitely aren’t.
Some of you I don’t see a lot. Some of you I have only met once or twice, a few not at all. I am sharing because I want to emphasize the beauty in our lives. For myself. I want to focus on that. There is plenty of the other stuff. I probably spend 80 percent of my day cleaning up, preparing food, breaking up fights, explaining rules, clenching my teeth, sneaking bites of chocolate. I find it therapeutic to savor the moments of calm, beauty, insight and love.
And I enjoy seeing these pieces of your life as well—the sorrow, the frustrations, the hilarity. Your lives are beautiful, every aspect you show me.
But I know for sure that you are not showing me everything—of course not. The world has gotten too big. I wish we could all just gather together on our stoops and chat at the end of the day. Social media is awesome, but it’s no substitute for that.
I know that sometimes you don’t remember this. Sometimes you are truly struggling, and my moments of celebration might feel like daggers in your heart. I’m sorry for this. I know how easy it is for mothers to compare themselves to each other.
For any time my sharing has made you feel that way, I am sorry. You can unfollow me, unfriend me, whatever, and I truly won’t take offense. I know we’re all just trying to get through.
But I want you to know that you are a courageous, interesting, fucking awesome mom, whatever you think of yourself.
So let’s take it like it is. I am so glad to share with you, but my life—oh, it is much deeper, more complicated, and messier than I could ever, or would ever, want to show you. And so is yours.
And that’s exactly as it should be.