How do you leave dirty diapers laying in a pile in your house?
What about dishes piled in the sink? Dirt on the furnace vents? End tables un-dusted? Oh goodness, seriously, baby fingerprints on the fridge?!
That would freak me out. *sarcasm* And apparently it freaks out a lot of other self-righteous, judgemental mamas out there, too.
There should be a form we all have to fill out before being able to comment on anything, anywhere. Like a full-disclosure post to warn everyone who we are.
“Hi, my name is (insert name). I’m a perfect, flawless mother of (insert number of) littles who rarely ever makes mistakes and if I do they’re too tiny to even mention. I have no regrets and no failures on my parental resume. Everyone on the internet needs to hear my (brilliant, insightful, adjective of your choice) criticism and instructions. Don’t worry, I don’t talk to people in my real life like I do on (facebook, instagram, twitter, social media channel of your choice), because I know I would be friendless and family wouldn’t invite me to holidays anymore.”
Something like that. 😛
Here’s my story. I’m Tiffany. I am Mama to two sweet littles who are 9 months and 2 years old. My days run together and I most often have no idea what day of the week or date it is. I have struggled with Postpartum Depression. I’m living in a major reno zone as my dear husband works hard to finish the addition of a bathroom and bedroom to our house, while working full-time and serving as a deacon, SS teacher, youth leader and sound room tech in our church. I love my Savior, but I have days of low faith and high stress. On those days all that mixed together is lonely, scary and frustrating.
Here is where I’m at right now. My home is un-dusted. More dust is coming. Some areas of it are un-vacuumed. Those areas are filled with totes and things that just CAN’T be put where they belong. Sometimes there are blue bags full of dirty diapers sitting at the door to go out. Other times I’m completely at my wits end with keeping two little ones happy, changed, fed and safe at the same time, that my first priority is NOT to wash the dishes, counters and stove top. I keep the areas we need to be in clean, I wear slippers on my feet and keep their little feet away from the dirt. But I don’t scrub my floors yet. Hubby and John will mess them up with drywall dust, plaster, paint and/or sawdust the same day.
If you walked into my home right now, you would be disgusted if you thought Jessa’s mess was bad. You would assume I was a dirty person. Wait 2 weeks and you would have a totally different impression. I love clean. I’m the person who notices the little streaks from the extra soap on the mostly sparkling kitchen counters and has to rewipe them. I see the specks of something on the carpet, the small clump of dirt from hubby’s boots in the dining room, the hair statically stuck to the toilet seat. I want things put away, organized, and decorated farmhouse style. I’m the one who will stay up till 2:30am to catch up on all the laundry, because I can actually tackle that project when babies are sleeping. I love clean, I thrive in it and I take pride in my house being that way for my family.
So the judge-y moms who freaked at Jessa’s pictures would have a field day at my house. I don’t care. My children are safe, they’re well cared for, fed and happy, and even though it’s stinking hard right now to keep them out of all the areas affected by this reno, we still have a blast playing on the (vacuumed) living room floor with all their (clean) toys. I dream of being able to put everything where it belongs, throw out stuff we don’t need, vacuum, clean, scrub floors, cupboards, counters, organize closets and bathroom storage areas. I go over it at night, some times extensively, with Hubby after the work has finally stopped and we’re trying to wind the kids down to sleep. He keeps telling me, soon. But right now, this is where we are.
When I saw Jessa’s post, I was impressed that she was brave enough to be so, well, real. I mean, what kind of bones does it take to be able to share real life with our peers? You have to know, no matter what you do, think, say or sing, if it’s seen/heard by enough people, someone isn’t going to like it. And, since it’s online and we’re not actually, you know, humans there, usually that someone has the nerve to rip you to pieces about it. Jessa has a huge platform. You guys, she has 2 MILLION followers – on Instagram. She’s probably got 10 thousand trolls. And I don’t mean these happy, colorful, huggy trolls:
Nope. I mean more like the Troll-eating Bergens.
Why is that?! Why are we so mean, so rotten, so cruel to each other? Is it because they are happy and we aren’t? (Like the Bergens).
Do her kids look abused? Did you see poop laying around in piles on the floor next to the building blocks, roaches in the sink with the dishes? Look again. Seriously, when you were a mama to littles, yours didn’t like to smack their sweet, dirty little hands on the cute reflection of themselves in the mirror? Or on the shiny exterior of kitchen appliances? I haven’t met one yet that hasn’t, so, if so, yours is the weird one. 😉 Have you really kept up with laundry every single day of your life?
Look at the background of the snapshots into her life. The house looked nicely furnished, well kept and decorated. If you can decorate your house when you have babies, that’s something to commemorate. Heck, there was even a PLANT. In the living room. *standing ovation*
Above all else, the babies look happy, healthy, clean and strong. How can you slam someone like that, especially someone willing to be vulnerable enough to open up about the not-so-perfect parts of their lives?
It’s scary how those most critical of young mamas seem to be women who have been young mamas. Apparently it’s easy to forget how hard it is, what sleep deprivation and no self-care can do to you, and every housewife failure you’ve ever had when you get the chance to showcase your ‘perfection’ to 2 million of someone else’s followers.
Mamas, old and young, please, please, please give grace. Remember when you were there. Think about how your situation is NOT their situation and maybe they’re truly doing the absolute best they can by their families. Many, many of these mamas are also struggling with a hidden hardship called Postpartum Depression. Your cold, harsh criticism might be just what they need to totally give up. Just because their pretty, smiling face implies they’ve got it together does NOT mean they do. Grace, which is synonymous with courtesy and decency – we need more of it with and for each other.
Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Sometimes that means offering up some kind encouragement or prayer. Sometimes it means lovingly correcting, if it’s your place. Other times it means keeping your mouth shut and praying for them unannounced. If it’s something that really irks you, but you know your comment won’t bring grace to anyone involved or reading, I offer my sincerest advice, that I take to heart quite often myself – scroll on. Or, unfollow them. Because, seriously, no one wants a Bergen as a follower anyway.
And if you can’t, please, please, please give grace.