I was putting my laundry away this morning and convinced Emmet to help me with a few items. As we walked back towards I room, I began to hear rumblings of Ali waking up and Emmet heard them too. He took off running into our room yelling "isthy! isthy! ISTHY!". He clambered over to her pack-n-play, trying to get the blankets off of her as fast as his little hands would go. He finally spots her head and yells "isthy!" with a huge grin. As I looked down to see how she would handle such an enthusiastic greeting, she saw her brother and her whole face lit up. Emmet was beyond excited that Ali had finally woken up, and Ali was delighted to see her brother first thing in the morning. I almost cried. I don't think I can quite explain the joy I find in watching my children enjoy playing with each other, to watch them become best friends!
I immediately called Joe to tell him this tale. And my mom. I was just so excited. And it was such a cute story.
You never would have guessed from this story that Emmet also spent the ENTIRE NIGHT whining and fussing and crying. Seriously, I think he slept all of three hours last night. I think he wasn't feeling well, but it was one of those not-feeling-well-ickiness that I can't do much for, he just needs to wait it out. And it stunk. He didn't sleep. We didn't sleep. But Ali did - she only woke up once! Figures.
In today's day and age, with all the social connections, we share lots of things. As moms in my generation, we especially share lots of pictures - usually pictures of our kids. Since I had my son nearly two years ago, I think that about 90% of my instagram feed is of him or Ali. I just was on a friend's instagram feed the other day and her bio read "basically, this is all my son. all the time", or something to that effect. And that's great! We love sharing about our kids. Especially as moms with young kids, our kids pretty much take up our life. So it would make sense that that's a chunk of what we talk about.
Typically, the photos I post look like this:
I choose photos like these because they are happy, the are cute, they are adorable, they portray our family as happy and joyful and fun! They represent us well. They are good moments.
Occasionally, I post photos that look like this:
Usually, if I post photos like this, it's because I am able to laugh at my child. Ali, who's on the right, has the greatest pout and I have a hard time not chuckling when I see it. The picture in the middle came from when Emmet had a meltdown because I asked him to eat a grape (which he liked...). The one on the left is Emmet too, and I can't remember what he was so angry about. But it's a great face :) I don't post photos like these often, but sometimes will because I think they're funny. They aren't good moments for my kids, but aren't stressful moments for me.
But there are moments that don't get posted. I don't post a picture of my son throwing the 15th temper tantrum that day. I don't post a picture of him screaming at me as loud as he can. I don't post about when I lose my temper with him and scream back at him. I don't post about when I was so frustrated with my daughter I had to set her down and leave the room. I don't post about when I stand sobbing in the shower because I wish I could just hide in there all day long. I don't post about the days we sit and watch Daniel Tiger all day long because I just don't have the energy to do anything else. I didn't post about the day I fed my son pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Those aren't the pretty moments of parenting. Those are the moments I'm embarrassed about. Those are the moments I want to forget. Those are the moments I'm afraid people will see and think I'm a horrible mom. Those are the ugly moments. But the truth is that those are real moments too.
I like to post cute pictures of my children because I think they're cute. But more often than not, I post pictures because for once, my kids are getting along. For once, they're behaving. For once, Emmet is playing joyfully instead of screaming passionately. For a moment, I'm enjoying motherhood. I feel like the good pictures tend to be reminders to myself: look, your kids are great. They are fun. They are cute. The good times way outweigh the bad.
In Genesis 35, we find the following:
And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. And Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother.
Throughout scripture, we find altars being built. Most of the time, they were built to recognize something that the Lord had done, a place to remember His great work. In this story, Jacob had built an altar to commemorate that the Lord had revealed Himself to Jacob. I love the idea of altars, because it helps us remember the good times and the times that the Lord works. I've spent lots of time trying to figure out how to build an altar in my own home to remember what God has done in my life and in my marriage and in my parenthood.
In some ways, I feel like I use Instagram as a way to construct altars. I share the good moments to remind myself of the good times in the hard times. I remind myself of the joy that comes with parenting in the moments where I want to quit. I remind myself how He is faithful to equip me for this job of being a mom, especially in moments where I can be so frustrated with Emmet but see a picture where he is so happy and instantly be overwhelmed with love for him at the same time.
God is faithful. He is just. He is sovereign. He works. He works in our lives, and in the lives of our children. He provides. He equips.
So the next time you see another instagram photo by your "mom-crush" (you know, that mom who seems like she's got it all together because her house is always clean and her kids always look cute and she always looks put together and she does cutesy, artsy, educational activities with her children), remember that she is portraying her best moments. She may be capturing that moment because it's rare too. Rejoice with her in that momentary success, because you don't know how often that success comes. Turn jealousy or envy into joy as you celebrate a good moment with her. And remember that you have good moments too. You have happy moments. And you probably are someone else's mom-crush.
Motherhood isn't a journey that should be done alone. It takes a village, but most importantly it takes a sovereign and faithful God who walks every step of mothering with us and equips us for the task He has called us to.
As I finish writing this, I just looked up to find Emmet had crawled inside Ali's carseat, he has fingernail clippers in one hand and snot dripping out of his nose, and Ali is next to me protesting loudly because she has rolled onto her tummy and can't roll back. I think this classifies as a "don't-post-on-instagram" moment.