There's this trend out there on social media, and maybe you've seen it. "Real mom confessions." I admit (but won't confess) that I have read and have enjoyed these posts and comments on occasion. But there's this feeling in my gut that settled there awhile back and hasn't gone away. In fact, it grows every time I read these "confessions," and now I can't read any of them without feeling really angry. Here's why.
A "real mom confession" might look something like this:
It's been three days and I haven't showered. My kids are still wearing their pajamas and it's dinnertime. We've ordered take-out more than once this week and had frozen waffles for breakfast. And I haven't exercised since yesterday!
Now, I just made that one up but I could have written it about any one of the weeks from this past year (except turn "kids" into "kid + husband"). In a good week I might wash my hair three times, though I do usually shower at least every other day. No need to confess, this is just normal life. (You shouldn't be washing your hair every day anyway. Ask my stylist!) And even though I make homemade meals a shockingly large percentage of the time, we sometimes eat random stuff we find in our pantry and about town (take-out, that is. Not stuff off the street.).
Friends, these things shouldn't be confessions. This is just real life.
The thing is, something that makes a confession a confession is admitting that you've done something wrong. And I take issue with the fact that so many women out there think that normal life is something to be ashamed of. Some of my favorite parts of my life these days, other women write about them as though they are disclosing some big, shameful secret.
"I don't normally..." "This almost never happens..." "We do this horrible awful thing..." But nothing they write (or say) is horrible or awful, and I'm left there feeling two things. 1) alienated, because if they think all these things that we regularly do - or that I see no problem with - are only okay to talk about because you almost never do them, because you know better and are usually perfect, well, I can't relate to that; and 2) sad, because I suspect these women actually find joy and freedom in these everyday happenings but are too afraid to admit it. The only way we can talk about our life is by apologizing for it first.
Because your life doesn't look like what you see on Pinterest? Because it doesn't sound like what people share on Facebook? Because that Instagram picture from your non-friend from high school makes you feel ashamed?
I like that "real mom confessions" can help moms feel less alone. I am a big believer in the power of "me, too." BIG BELIEVER. But is it helpful to perpetuate the lie that real life is something to be ashamed of? Can't we just SHARE about our lives, our experiences, our days without having to preface everything with mother-effing apologies?
Friends, you don't have to apologize for being you and living your life. Your life is your life. Your child-rearing is your child-rearing. Your diet is your diet. You don't need to confess anything. You don't need to feel ashamed.
Instead of "real mom confessions," why can't we say something like, "real life moments," or "honesty hour," or... Or how about we are just always honest and comfortable sharing the truth of our life with the people who matter in our life and then we forget everyone else? You know?
The more we are honest and open with our truth the less we will feel the need to "confess" anything. And when we are truth-tellers we give other people permission to be truth-tellers. And maybe, just maybe, this mother-shaming thing can be put to rest. (Maybe.)
A mom can dream, right?
I titled this post "real moms never confess" but of course I don't believe anything of the sort. It's an inflammatory title. It's click bait. (Did it work?) Please don't read this and think that I believe women who post "confessions" aren't real moms. That is obviously ridiculous.