Real Talk Revolution

Social media and motherhood, a gift or a curse? That’s a bigger question than I wish to tackle (today) but recently I have seen a sort of shift in the portrayal of mom life both personally and in general in the social media world from over idealized to over dramatized.

Back when it all began blogs with crisp images and happy words set the scene of motherhood as a beautiful task. Joyful, beautiful women with gorgeous homes and well kept children were suddenly plastered everywhere sending a message to the world that motherhood is about as good as it gets. The perfectly dressed moms with magazine worthy kitchens, making their well behaved, but just-the-right amount-of-silly-to-keep-it-cute kids their organic chia seed smoothies and loving it all AND somehow capturing it all on camera became the norm. The danger in this portrayal was that people took it as reality, when really it might have only been as real as the average episode of The Bachelor. The comparison began and sent mothers’ spirits to the trash thinking they must be missing something, or doing something wrong.

Thus began the “Let’s be REAL” revolution. Accounts showing more honesty and the “dark side” of mothering began to gain in popularity. Laundry piles, messy kids and disheveled selfies (except brows, your brows still needed to be on point) started to pop up here and there. It was a breath of fresh air. I’m not the only one giving my kids non organic lunch!? Other moms hide in the bathroom midday too!? The comfort that comes from knowing you aren’t alone is powerful. Confessions of exhaustion and lack of patience became public. Caffeine and trips to Target as coping mechanisms were shared. But just as the bright side might have been a little too bright, the pendulum has now started to swing a little too far in the opposite direction.

I have always defended the blogger’s right to portray their reality in any way they wish. I see the value in sharing life through rose colored glasses as a tool of optimism or hope. I also don’t think anyone should be required to air their dirty laundry. I have played both sides. I enjoy photography and view curating my feed my way as an expression of creativity. I also like to look back on snapshots of my life a little better than they might have been. BUT I can’t stop myself from being open about my struggles. There is so much power in opening up and connecting with others. Each side has a place, but I don’t like the direction the Real Revolution is headed.

The brand of motherhood is changing. The struggles are being magnified and glorified in negative ways rather than productive, supportive ways.  Moms are being reduced to sleep deprived, overworked, overwhelmed, self-sacrificing zombies just trying to make it through another day. Posts of women at their breaking point sharing their “hashtag real talk” of meltdowns and wanting to run away are liked and lol’d instead of being seen as the cry for help they actually are.  Motherhood IS hard. It IS exhausting. It IS overwhelming. But it is also great and beautiful and most of the moms hiding in their bathrooms wouldn’t change it for the world. Mom’s want the respect of the world as being a serious and challenging job, but isn’t is about time we give that respect to ourselves?

Let’s stop accepting a life of balancing on our emotional breaking point. Let’s rise to the occasion. Let’s find the joy in motherhood again. Let’s show the world ours is a job worth having. Let’s replace self obsession with true self care. Let’s share our struggles to lift each other up rather than validate our bad habits. The time has come to be real in a way that moves us forward rather than setting us back. Moms are some of the hardest working people out there, so let’s not lose this fight.

This is not a call to plaster on a fake smile and pretend things are fine when they aren't, it is more a call to action. The way we choose to talk about, think about and portray motherhood will become our reality. It’s a role I have to fight to fill every single day, but I know it starts with me. As exhausting as it is, and as much as I want to quit, I just have to keep fighting.

xoxo Julie

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