A couple of days ago I was doing the nightly Facebook feed scroll and saw one status update shared by six friends on my feed. All had similar comments like preach and so true along with the shared post. Then I saw it a few more times again this week.
I have a feeling you know the one I am talking about. Good Morning America titled it as a Working Moms Rant Against Society’s Expectations.
It was even shared here on Filter Free Parents in its entirety. I read the whole thing and like many moms I assume (given the 42,000 shares) I found myself nodding along with line after line.
Then I did what I do not recommend. I read the comments.
And then I started to get annoyed. I got annoyed because there was a whole lot of negativity. More negativity than I expected from fellow moms.
My goal with Her Generation Project is to unite moms, not divide them. We may not all live the same life but we share a common title as MOM. That has to mean something. From reading one mom’s well-written commentary on how she was feeling in one moment in her life, I became inspired.
Inspired to create a reality check moment. To be that person that looks at you and tells you the truth. Your mirror if you will, to reflect some honesty from one mother to another.
At the end of the day, the only person who thinks you must do all the things and be all the things … IS YOU.
Thats right. I said it. Let it sink in.
And I said it because it has taken me a long time to figure this out. Even longer for it to really sink in. Now still, I struggle to remember it and accept it as truth when the overwhelm of life gets me down. Nine years into this motherhood journey and I need a constant reminder.
A constant reminder that the pressure that gets me down is there because I put it there. I see or hear or read things about parenting and I compare. I compare myself and quickly pick out shortcomings. I see the to-do list that feels so long.
Because every single line that this mom wrote rings true to so many mothers.
Mothers with many kids, mothers with one kid, working mothers, stay at home mothers, work-from-home mothers, single mothers, lottery winning mothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers and more.
Are your kids counting on you?
Is your partner counting on you?
Is your employer counting on you?
Does the school/team/dance studio/piano teacher/baby sitter count on you?
The answer to all of these questions is of course yes. But do you know what else?
Not all of them count on you to the same degree and not every one of them counts on you at the same exact time.
You are a mom. I am convinced we have super-human abilities and strengths. Things like super-hearing and a ridiculous capacity to remember ten schedules at once. We can do anything.
But what we can’t do, is everything. You cannot do everything.
You can do anything but you cannot do everything.
When you think you must do everything ask yourself, why do you feel this way?
Has your partner asked you to do all of these things? Has your child asked you do do it all and do it all right this very moment?
I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the answer is no. You are telling yourself to do all of these things. And do them all at once while doing ten other things, and thinking of fourteen other things because if you don’t do these things who will? And if you don’t do them right now, when will you do them?
Breathe. That’s what my partner says to me. He can actually hear me thinking at night when I should be sleeping. He can hear my wheels turning and me piling things onto my to-do list for the kids and for the family.
He has been my mirror without me even knowing. He does his share and even more than his share at times because he is my partner and its the right thing to do.
But even that can’t always stop the overwhelm motherhood brings.
But his reminders help.
I didn’t always see it as help. In fact, there are many an argument launched over the to-do list in my head and how worked up I can get over it. And he will ask me, who is telling me I have to do all of these things right now? And I stop. Think. Then finally, defeated I have to say it’s me. He’s not asking or telling me. It’s just me and my mom-brain taking it all on in my head.
So let me serve as your reminder. No one is asking you to do it all and do it all right this second.
Moms and moms blogs get a bad wrap for social media rants and memes about the struggles of parenthood. Obviously ‘The struggle is real’ had to start somewhere. Maybe it was a mom, maybe it wasn’t.
But it is real. Everyone has things they find challenging and there are difficult things at different times in everyone’s life. Mom or not, male or female, old or young.
It’s easy for someone to read the viral post or any parenting inspired complaint (real or sarcastic) and say, “well, if you don’t want to deal with all of this, don’t have kids.” If this was your first thought you, my friend, missed the point.
When a mom vents over social media about her struggle, click the heart or tag a mom friend.
Give the praise hands emoji or leave an ‘Amen Sister’. A mom isn’t posting her struggle to say she wishes she didn’t have kids. Shes not wishing for a different life or to ask for sympathy.
It is to put some truth out into the world and to possibly, find one other person that feels the same.
In summary, my point is this. Share your struggles with your network. Share them with your tribe and if you are bold enough, put them out there for others to see.
But know that ultimately the person responsible for the pressure of the struggles you share about is you. Only you.
You determine how much you can handle. And you determine what needs to be done now, versus what can be delegated to someone else. If not someone else, then delegated to another day, week or another month.
I am a type-A, number 1 on the enneagram working mom of two, so I tell you this because I constantly have to tell it to myself. Over and over again. All these thoughts and opinions are out there about what motherhood and parenting should look like.
The only opinion that needs to matters is yours.
You can do anything for your family, for yourself, for your career and more. But you cannot do everything. And you cannot do it all at once.
This post originally appeared on The Her Generation Project