Finding the True You in Filtered Squares and Status Updates- Guest Post by Stephanie

Authentic.

Dictionary.com defines it as "not false or copied; genuine; real"; "representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified".

Is it possible to be truly authentic in a world of staged photos, filmy filters, and careful editing?When the only parts of our day that other people see are carefully chosen snippets of our choosing? I've gone back and forth on my answer, but I think I have finally come to a conclusion.

I think it is possible, but I also think it is very hard.

It's so easy in our world of social media to loose yourself amongst the plethora of filters and laughing "candids". It's easy to get bogged down as you scroll by picture after picture of perfectly happy babies and mamas who seem to have it all together. How quickly we forget that the word of social media is not true reality but a carefully curated version of life that we like to pretend is authentic.

Now don't get me wrong; I love beautiful photos. And no, I don't want to look back through my Instagram feed and see shots of dirty diapers, mountains of laundry, and screaming babies; that's just not how I want to remember motherhood.

But at the same time there is something in me, in all of us I believe, that craves to be real, honest, open, and vulnerable. We want to represent the world for all its beauty and pain.

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Finding Real Life

There was a time when I felt like I got lost in the tiny squares of Instagram and forgot for a moment who I was. All I saw day after day were golden hued pictures of children in stockings and bonnets. I read captions of mama's hearts "exploding" with love for their children and I grimaced that I didn't feel the same way.

I struggled with the thoughts that maybe my life didn't live up; or maybe I was doing it wrong.

So I went on a journey to "feel all the feels" and capture "kindred memories" and I filtered the crap out of my life until only the rosy, golden hued moments of false joy remained; and you want to know what I figured out? We are enough. My life is good enough. Whether I measure up to Instagram's perfect standards or not is not the problem; how I view my life is the problem.

When I found myself frustrated and hating my feed and all my photos because they reflected a life I don't feel we truly led was the moment something in me snapped.

I was done with Instagram and done playing the games of the perfect Instamom. Because the truth is it doesn't matter whether or not they like your photos; it matters if you like your photos.

I hope that when my children are grown and have moved on, I will be able to look back at those little squares and laugh, smile, maybe shed a tear. I want to remember the glorious messes we made while crafting. The fun we had using our imaginations. Our daily adventures and yes even the struggles that came with them.

I hope that when I look back on my social media presence I can feel that I represented myself and motherhood well in those little squares; because nothing about it is a cake walk.

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What I've Learned

Even though I am wading through the midst of the struggle right now, I know someday I will look back and "feel all the feels". So I'm doing my best to portray motherhood through social media as I experience it; the real and the raw, the good and the bad, the laughter and the struggle.

Because motherhood passes in the blink of an eye; there is no sense in trying to be someone you're not or portray a life that isn't real.

So if you find yourself in the place I was, struggling to see the real me in my feed, take a step back and reevaluate. Sometimes I think we need to relax a bit more and remember to have a little fun. It can be so daunting putting yourself out there on social media day after day; you never know how people will respond to your photos or captions, but you know what? Who cares!?

I mean for real; who really cares?

I think we put far too much weight on what other's think of us rather than just deciding if we actually like ourselves. Bottom line, is it possible to be "authentic" on social media? Yes I believe it is. But it started with knowing who you are and being confident in expressing yourself.

Don't take flack from anyone girl. Don't ever let them get you down. If you're out there being yourself and enjoying your life, don't let anyone make you feel bad. I decided a long time ago that I would be unapologetically me and though I lose sight of that sometimes; I always come back around.

Do you feel you are living representing and authentic you on social media? If not, I hope you'll take a moment to step back, breathe, and rediscover who you are. Because there is no one else worth being friend.

With Love,
Stephanie
www.heyhonestlymommy.com

 

A Moms Worst Fears

A moms worst fears

Okay, this is one of those times when I tell you my worst fears and you reply with… Oh, wow Terah, I have the same exact thoughts and feelings too!! 

So here is a list of my top 4 fears as a Mom... 

1. Fever-phobia

Is it just me, or do fevers really make you loose all kinds of common sense? I have two girls and one on the way and although my girls have gotten fevers a few times, I still freak out when it happens. I become a google encyclopedia two hours into it. All of a sudden their symptoms went from a normal fever to fight off a virus to now they definitely have an ear infection, strep throat and whooping cough (even though they never coughed once... but I can definitely remember two weeks ago they had a little tickle in their throat, so yes it is definitely whooping cough). 

The only advice I can give, is if you deal with the same thing, take a deep breath and then pass the kid off to the husband to worry about. I hate to admit it, but sometimes our husbands are a little less uptight when it comes to situations like this. 

2. Having the sex talk with my kids

I am just NOT ready for that day. Not too long ago we had a close call. Our oldest came home from school and said, "Mom, I have to tell you something really naughty my friend told me today." Here I am thinking, great she's going to say she didn't like her dress, or she couldn't sit with this girl at lunch, you know typical Kindergarten drama. She went on to say, "My friend said, 'Why are you acting so SEXY?'" WHAT!?... haha, at first I laughed because I'm not even sure what that means? But then she continued to ask what sexy means... for me that was close enough of a sex talk. 

3. Really, truly looking like a Mom (or even worse, your Mom) 

A few months ago I did the unthinkable, I cut my long wavy hair and went for the “Lob”. At the time it was in style and everyone was doing it, but then I realized that it made me look like a true Mom. I don’t know if its just me, but part of you as a Mom, doesn’t actually want to look like you’ve gotten no sleep and you wear workout gear not because you just worked out, but because its all that fits (key word: STRETCHY)

You see I find alot of joy in telling people I have kids and then watch as they are surprised because how could I have kids and be so hip and cool? But, I’m probably the only one that feels that way, so lets just move onto the next point. 

4. Pinterest dinner fail

If you've ever looked on Pinterest you would know that 90% of the time those recipes never turn out the way they are described online. When you first find a recipe it seems like it'll be so easy. You can even smell and taste your new dish just from looking at the pictures. Our family recently dabbled in the idea of going vegan. "Why?" You might ask...You guessed it, we watched that Netflix documentary. I was online looking at so many amazing recipes that sounded so good and seemed easy enough. One in particular I found only required quinoa , broccoli, nutritional yeast and vegetable broth. I figured well its easy enough, I could probably just add some spices to it. After it was all said and done, it was probably the most horrible thing I have every eaten. It even looked disgusting! The reviews came in from my husband and kids and we all agreed. It tasted like soap. Yuck!

Needless to say, we are no longer on that vegan life track and I have learned my lesson on "testing" new recipes. 

As you can see there are a lot of things that can make you fearful. I mean you have normal fears when you're single, but it becomes magnified when you have kids and you soon realize the strangest of things can become something you are afraid of. Now for real, with all joking aside, fear as a mom or even a woman can be really paralyzing when you don't deal with it and you allow yourself to be overcome with those things. I am in a constant battle to keep fear at bay so that I can live my life to the fullest. 

I remember dealing with the fear when we moved to California. I had know idea what normal looked like here. How was I supposed to know what was odd or off if I've never lived here. One night, I just couldn't get to sleep and honestly had a little breakdown in front of my husband. I finally had to admit what I had been trying to fight on my own. We talked through everything and for the first time I felt free from those fears. You have no idea how big of a difference that made! It's not always easy and in some situations can be hard, but the great thing is that I figured out a way to confront it instead of allowing it free reign in my life. So if there are certain fears you may be struggling with I would encourage you to confront those things and tell someone. Don't allow it to hold on to you! You are braver than you think!


Permission to be the Crazy Mom

Do you ever have those days, weeks or months where it just feels like you are loosing your mind? I’m sure if you have been a Mom for at least one minute you could agree that there are seasons when it feels like that. I remember traveling with my two girls one time, without my husband and afterwards swearing I would never do that again, but ended up doing it multiple times (I guess I learn the hard way). The first time I ever traveled with them alone, I was so stressed out from traveling that I completely forgot to feed them meals. I KNOW!! I couldn’t believe that I forgot to feed my own children. Poor kids, right? Luckly, the next time we traveled I did learn my lesson and ended up scheduling in meal times so that I wouldn’t forget. I even carried snacks in my bag telling myself “NOT TODAY TERAH, NOPE NOT TODAY”. 

All that to say, I remember at the time I beat myself up so much about forgetting to feed them a meal or two. The conversation to myself was not graceful. Instead of taking a breathe and realizing that it really wasn't that huge of a deal, I allowed myself to think things about my capabilities as a Mom that were untrue. You see, one thing you should know about me is that I can tend to be a planner and stress head if things don’t go the way I envision them. This was one of those MANY moments in my life and I was not handling it gracefully. 

I’ve noticed that us Moms tend to strive by showing the world, our family, our friends and ourselves that we have everything under control . We never yell at our kids, or get frustrated or forget to change a diaper every once in a while (guilty). We want the world to see all the activities our kids are in, how well mannered they are and how perfect of a parent we are. 

I don’t know about you, but that is EXHAUSTING and a lot of pressure!!! 

“PLEASE give yourself a hall pass to feel completely under qualified as a Mother. We need to see the REAL YOU, #momfails and all!”

I don’t want to walk around pretending I have everything together, because I DON’T and thats OKAY! It’s okay and normal for us to be imperfect Mothers. We have to learn to give ourselves the same amount of grace our little ones show us on a daily basis. I mean people, I FORGOT TO FEED MY KIDS!!! They ended up whining a little, but never held a grudge, or told me I was a horrible Mom. They just fasted for a meal (or two) and then it was forgotten about. They still loved me, still trusted me to take care of them. So please, Moms everywhere, PLEASE give yourself a hall pass to feel completely under qualified as a Mother. We need to see the REAL YOU, #momfails and all! 


Fear of missing out or #FOMO

I don't know if you've ever been frustrated sometimes with being a Mom. I'm in the season of having a 5 year old, 1 year old and another baby on the way. I'll soon have two young ones under 2 and it's terrifying.  Don't get me wrong I love being a mom and find so much joy in seeing them grow and change. I love these Little's so much it hurts. But it can be lonely somedays. 

“I was missing out on something that everyone else got to be a part of and it was not fun. ”

There was one day specifically, where I attended an event with my family and my 1 year old started to become uncontrollable. I pulled out all the tricks of the trade. The snacks, the toys, the diapers, diaper wipes, I even went so far as to let me kid put random things in her mouth just as long as it would entertain her and spare me the embarrassment of being "that Mom with the loud kid". All my work had not paid off and I was asked to leave, which sometimes as a Mom can be the most embarrassing moment of your life (well at least seem like it). 

I was so upset and frustrated because in that moment I felt so left out. I was missing out on something that everyone else got to be a part of and it was not fun. I sat outside with my daughter and just watched her play, just feeling like I had to give up. Why was I so upset trying to be part of the action?

“Parenthood is not selfish or self serving.  I’m finding that it’s the least selfish thing you can do in life”

I think often times we forget how big our sacrifice actually is when we raise kids. Parenthood is not selfish or self serving.  I'm finding that it's the least selfish thing you can do in life. You literally alter your entire life (and body) in order to try and raise healthy and well functioning adults. There are some days that can be easier than others where you don't mind being "left out of things", but then there are those moment we all have where we just want to be part of the action and feel included. 

So I want to encourage you Momma (me included)!! If your feeling lonely and left out just remind yourself that your an amazing Mom! There is nothing more important the influence you have in your child's life. I know it can be hard sometimes, I am right there with!  Don't get distracted by what you can't do because your raising kids, instead focus on all that you can do!! You're not missing out on much of what the world has to offer. #nomorefomo