(4 minute read)
It has been a while since I have been struck by writers block. Most days I can noodle around on plenty of topics or continue working on my book. But yesterday I was empty: of energy to flip my mood, of words to articulate my frustrations, and optimism to find a silver lining in a rough couple of days. This blog has not been my place to vent complaints or air my dirty laundry. Nobody wants to read about someone having a bad day. I could not even post about my cancelled COVID Christmas without turning it into a cute rhyming poem. It is not that I do not complain, I definitely do (ask my husband). But usually I can muster up some resilience and bounce back quickly. Not yesterday.
Perhaps a blog about motherhood is the most fitting place I should be honestly sharing when times are tough. So much of social media presents pictures of us on our best days. Smiling. With family or friends or cute animals. Traveling to amazing places. Proud moments when our kids do great things. Gourmet meals. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Happy times. The latest “challenge” going around is to post “10 Days of Life is Good,” where the person posts one picture of something that brings them joy for ten days (no explanation). And then they tag a friend to join in on the challenge.
I am not trying to be cynical, but let’s say we do a challenge called “10 Days When Things Kind of Suck.” Day 1: a picture of a positive Covid stick, Day 2: a bad haircut, Day 3: a broken crown, Day 4: mud tracked through the house by dogs, Day 5: ran out of firewood on a freezing cold winter day, Day 6: bags under my eyes from lack of sleep worrying, Day 7: unidentified pet vomit on the area rug in the living room, Day 8: flight cancelled and stuck in the airport, Day 9: a suspicious looking mole, Day 10: an unhappy kid.
Fortunately not all of those things happened to me. But can you imagine? By day 10 of those posts I would be really concerned about that person’s mental state of mind. And yet…stuff does happen. We just don’t share most of those moments on social media. The exception being the loss of a loved one. I, myself, read every obituary a friend shares. I feel honored to read the legacy left and summarized in a few words. I also take a moment to send up a prayer for those grieving.
Let’s face it, most of the posts on social media are all the positively filtered good days. And most of my blog posts have highlighted happy times with family and the farm animals. Today I am coming clean that my days are not always full of joyful levity. In fact, I can get in quite a funk. It usually has to do with parenting. It is the old saying, “you are only as happy as your least happy child.” As moms, we feel most stretched thin and depleted in energy when our efforts do not help solve the problems. It is even more challenging when multiple fires flame up. I used to feel like I was constantly putting out fires with four kids, but it was more like Whack-a-mole. The older the children grow the more difficult it is to step in and fix things. Not intervening is tough for this mama bear. So some days just kind of suck.
There is a new app that just crossed my radar. It is called BeReal. It was developed by a woman in France during the socially challenging times of 2020. The app is similar to others where you post a photo, but this picture is not planned or filtered. It actually is not even taken at a time of your choosing. At the exact same (random) time, you and your BeReal friends receive a notification to take your BeReal photo. So maybe you are without make up, hair in a bun, in reading glasses, watching tv, you take that picture. It shows what you are looking at and what you look like at that moment. Seems like an interesting idea. Social media at it’s most unfiltered raw state.
The picture of me that would have gone out yesterday would have been red eyes, wrinkled brows, and no smile. It is not that anything horrible had happened, just a challenging mom day. I knew from experience that it, too, would pass. All we needed was a good night’s sleep and a new day.
*One of my favorite books I read to my children and to my 2nd grade students was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” by Judith Viorst.