I spent this past weekend with 5 of my best girlfriends from college. We have been friends for almost 16 years now, and while we rarely have the opportunity to get away to spend the weekend together, when we do, it’s like we haven’t missed a beat.
The six of us that were together this weekend are all mothers, and in fact, we have 14 children between us! What I think is most amazing and wonderful though is that we are all so different in the paths that our lives have taken, yet we all want the same thing for our families. Of the group, half of us work outside of the home and half are stay at home moms. Half of us breastfed our children while the other three used formula. Several of us were prolific and committed when it came to making fresh baby food while the others were always excited (or maybe just found it convenient) to see what new Gerber food might be on the shelf during our next grocery trip.
But at the end of the day, what is most important is that we all love our children to the end of the earth, and we strive to do what is best for them and our families every second of every day. We might get there by different means and methods, but that does not make one path better or more laudable than the next. And we learn from each other and support each other even though our journey through motherhood might not be exactly the same.
The outside pressures placed on mothers these days can be tremendously difficult. I think it is sad that hardly a day goes by without me reading some article, blog post, status update, Instagram, or what have you on social media that exudes undertones of “I’m a better mother than you because…” It’s not purposeful (in most cases), but social media allows us - encourages us even - to tap into our natural human instinct to present that perfect picture of ourselves and our families to others. But if instead, we all could surround ourselves with people in the non-polished, non-social-media-perfect world who make us feel stronger as mothers rather than feeling shamed at the fact that we just can’t quite recreate the latest Pintrest fad, or produce enough breast milk for our kids, or that we chose to have our children in someone else’s care during the day while we pursue a career, etc. - wouldn’t we all feel more confident as mothers?
I feel so lucky to have some amazing women in my life who build me up, make me feel stronger for the life decisions I have made, and give me encouragement when I feel like I might be failing. It is my hope that I am able to do the same not only for the family and friends in my life but also for anyone else - my neighbors, my patients, or even another stranger - who might be having a day where they just aren’t sure if they are enough. We all know that motherhood is difficult, so let’s strive to break down the social media “perfection” and spend real, genuine time building each other up and conveying a message that your best, while not ever quite perfect, will always be plenty good enough.