The Thief of Joy

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A snapshot. A moment. A day of digging for roly-polies and frogs coming to a close. Her little hand opened inside of mine, holding a caterpillar. Dirt under her nails, wispy blond hair falling in her eyes, the smell of sunshine on her face. An excited sister holding a box of dirt and bugs behind her. Their voices intermingling so much that I can’t tell one voice from the other. My loves enjoying each other and the beautiful day. This is what I will remember about Mother’s Day. Not the flowers, balloons, or cards. Not the lunch or chocolates. I am fond of these things, but I don’t want my real blessings to get lost when Facebook and Instagram begs me to compare my life with everyone else’s.
I challenge you to not miss the moments by letting social media take your joy.
It’s your time, your moment. Don’t lose that gift.
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I know how you think. I am also a self-conscious woman who analyzes everything. We see a beautiful family picture of a friend and tend to focus on her perfectly dressed children in outfits you can’t afford. Or how it hurt a little that you saw that the neighbor kid made breakfast in bed for his mom and you barely had time to make your cup of coffee before things were demanded of you. Or you see your friends getting amazing gifts, jewelry, and vacations you can only dream about. You cringe at your waistline when you see a picture of you holding your baby. The same body that gave life and sustains life everyday, all day long – in ways that some people don’t even understand.

Let’s just stop devaluing our lives by comparing them to the facade of someone else’s.

You are more than that. You are a mother… and not just on Mother’s Day when the picture perfect stuff is plastered on every social media page. You are a mother on the really hard days when he’s puking for hours on end and he just. wants. you. You are a mother in the middle of the night when she hasn’t come home and you stay up worried and waiting for her call. You are a mother when he uses your shirt for a kleenex and you wear the shirt for the rest of the day, anyway. You are a mother when she doesn’t stop crying and feeding and you feel like this season of life will never end. We don’t take selfies and post our status for these moments, but it is in these moments when we become the best of mothers. What we see online is not reality. No one knows what they are doing when it comes to parenting. We are all doing the best we can, even if your friends on Facebook post otherwise.

Last week, my oldest had a Mother’s Day “spa day” at school. She told me to wear PJs and a robe so I would be comfy, so I showed up in my favorite pajamas and my robe, as instructed. Not only was I the only mom out of about 80 mothers wearing my bedtime get-up (complete with a large hole in the pant leg that I had failed to notice), but most of the moms were dressed up – like Easter Sunday dresses and heels! I started to feel a tad crazy, so I whispered to her and asked if she was embarrassed that I was in my PJs. Her response? “No! I love it! I think you’re awesome. That’s what I wanted you to wear.” She then proceeded to give me a hand massage and painted my nails. I’m so glad I wore my PJs that day. I only became self-conscious when I started comparing myself to others but seeing myself through my child’s eyes changed my perspective for the better.

Notice the real blessings… the only-for-you love. The faces you know better than your own, the hands that curl into yours when they are scared, the cherished little feet that you worry about when it’s cold and they aren’t wearing socks. The long eyelashes that get you every time. The memories that are yours and yours alone.┬áThe moments that make you sit back and thank God; those are things that can’t be purchased on an aisle at Hallmark or even bragged about on Twitter. Those are the real gifts. That is what we, as mommies, live and would die for. Social media, in all it’s glory, can never take that away from us.
Remember… “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Happy Day after Mother’s Day to all my mama friends. I hope your week is joyful and that you feel loved and celebrated – even on the really bad mama days.

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Categories: Mommy Musings, Writing