If you are a mom and anything like me, then you probably enjoy browsing lots of things on the internet posted by other moms. Things like facebook posts, tweets, instagram pictures, blogs, etc. While these things, in and of themselves, are not bad ... I think they deserve a word of caution. As moms, we are all proud of our children and want to share their accomplishments and the funny/cute things they say and do. We do not, however, always want to share the down side- the frustrations, loneliness, insecurities and countless tantrums we encounter on a daily basis- and I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps it's because in this new, technology-obsessed world we can meticulously control the images others have of our lives. While I'm not one for "airing out your dirty laundry", I do whole-heartedly believe in being transparent and honest- especially as a mother.
So let me share a little of my experience in this area. My first born, Carter, was a difficult baby. He wasn't colicky, but he cried a lot and hasn't been a good sleeper since his first night in the hospital. As a new mother, it was really difficult for me to hear about other people's infants who were sleeping 12 hours/night at 6 weeks old. I tried my best to comfort him, but nothing (other than nursing) would soothe him and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really frustrated by all of it. Eventually, he outgrew this stage and developed into a very pleasant toddler, though we still 3 years later.. struggle with naps and nighttime sleeping. I've learned to accept this about Carter- and I'm ok with it.
A different (and more sensitive) issue was that of his delayed speech. Carter didn't talk until after he turned two (27 months, to be exact). I had done everything in my power to encourage his verbal development and he could literally only say a handful of words on his second birthday. As a very expressive and "early talker", I was baffled as to why he wasn't the same way. Many other children his age were talking in sentences by this point, which only made matters worse. In my gut, I knew there wasn't anything seriously wrong with him.. I had enough experience working with developmentally delayed kids to know that. I stopped reading things on the internet and did my best not to compare him with his peers- because if I did, he inevitably fell short every time. Then in February 2011, he started gushing out new words everyday and now possess a vocabulary far above his age level.
I say all this because I don't want any mom who ever reads something I post about my boys to feel insecure or to look at her children and compare them to mine. I confidently know the strengths of my kids, but I am also keenly aware of their weaknesses (and mine) and am more than willing to share them, if need be. Carter started reading this week, but he cannot hold a pencil properly and refuses to color. He isn't terribly interested in throwing or catching balls, but he can name the top 50 country music artists (and their songs) on iTunes. My little man, Cooper, is far more physically advanced than Carter, but hates sleeping in his bed most days- as he still prefers the arms of his mama. I strive hard every single day to be the mother God called me to be, but I lose my temper and patience regularly.
Each of us were given the children that God specially designed for our family. Let's work on being transparent and honest with each other.. because Lord knows that young moms need more support and encouragement than anyone else.
Food for thought:
"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." -Steven Furtick
"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Franklin Roosevelt
Can any other moms relate? I hope so.