we all hear the complaints of everyone shows the "highlights" from their life, how no one shows or talks about the real stuff, the less than ideal stuff. i agree with this consensus for the most part. most of time when it comes to posts, people stick to the highlights of vacations and smiling kids in cute clothes adorably eating their kale. or something. on the occasion that someone admits that their child or life is less than ideal there is almost always a positive spin put on the end of it. something like #stillgrateful or #lovethemanyway or #atleasthescute...i've done all of those too.
there seems to be a desire for realness based on all the comments and talk about how frustrating social media can be in creating unrealistic expectations and setting us up for comparison and let down. but, when you get real and are willing to talk about the hard and annoying parts of your life, you open yourself up to criticism. i feel like this especially applies to parents.
i feel like i post real moments from our lives and i don't always throw in the positive spin hashtag at the end of the caption, because frankly, that's just not (my) real life.
when i have put my kid back in bed 7x at the end of an exhausting day, there is some real frustration. when the 2 year old will not stop screaming her face off in the car for no apparent or fixable reason, i'm feeling pretty done. when the 5 year old decides that for whatever reason, tonight would be a good night to become suddenly and inexplicably driven to tears by the thought of her bed, i'm not feeling super gracious. that's real life. sometimes i put those real life moments on facebook and instagram because i know they are relatable and because posting it out there for the world to see somehow helps me feel less alone in this madness.
it does not mean that i am not grateful for my children. it does not mean that there weren't funny and sweet moments all day long surrounding the chaos. it does not mean that i wish my responsibility to parent away or regret our three children. and, yes, as irrational and crazy as it may sound, it does not mean that i feel like we have met our child quota.
here's the thing about parenting that i think we can lose sight of; it is a very weighty and worthwhile role. and, as with most weighty and worthwhile roles, it is demanding and refining. it is filled with high highs and low lows. it will change who you are and how you see life. you will see the best parts and absolute worst parts of yourself when you take on the role of parenting. admitting the hard doesn't mean i am any less grateful than the person who chooses to see it (or at least display it) as all sunshine and hearts. it just means i have a different approach to how i process and share life. and that's okay.
the truth is, sometimes i do need to intentionally realign my focus and perspective to see the beauty in the madness. some nights when my kids finally do quiet down and go to sleep, i walk back to their rooms just stare at their beautiful faces and remind myself what a gift their lives are to me. sometimes, i feel the rise of a well of tears and a physical ache when i consider how much i love them.
so yes, you see will sweet, cuddly pictures with my kids on instagram but it's pretty likely you will also see a crying kid captioned with sarcasm and a hashtag sendalltheicecream. that's just real life for me though.