Behind the Smile: Mask OFF

I was having a particularly rough day.  I mean rough day.  Really ROUGH.  I had been dealing with a death in the family and was prepping to leave for a funeral.  I was having a hard time dealing with anything that day.  However, you know moms don’t get to take too many breaks.  This was no different.  My children, as wonderful as they are, didn’t care that mom was having an emotional day.  I, for one, still wanted to do my mom duties for the day.  This probably wasn’t the best idea, but I did.  Anyway, I was messaging with my bible study group in a chat.  At some point, I had hit the voice record button.  Coincidently, I was I having a very serious conversation with my kids at the same time.  When I say serious, I mean I was yelling.  We were entering bible study at home and one of my children were giving me a hard time.  It was a moment where everything had mounted up at me and I kind of just let it out.  I also happened to record it and send it to my entire study group.

Insert all the embarrassment in the world.  If I could turn red in the face, I’m sure I would have in that moment.  What happened?  I had a raw mom moment and sent it out to a group of friends and I got scared that they would think the worst about me.  Why?  Because of the mask I wear.  You know…the mask.  The one I wear everyday so that I can fit the popular description of who a mom is.  I feel like a lot of moms do this.  We try to pretend that we don’t have too many bad days, or that our children don’t annoy us most of the time.  I am tired of it.  I’m taking my mask off.  What about you?

  • I don’t always like to bake.  I know it seems my kids are always eating homemade cookies and my husband brags that I make the best vegan chocolate chip cookies, but guess what?  I don’t always like to do it.
  • I don’t like to do crafts.  I think they are great and I enjoy watching my kids put together different art pieces.  However, I don’t enjoy them myself.  I would prefer for other people to do them with my kids.  Mainly because I’m not crafty.
  • Our family is vegan.  This does not mean my kids don’t get junk food.  Sometimes.  All the time.  They’ve had fries for dinner.  So…there’s that.
  • I homeschool.  There are days where my kids learn to sit quietly on the couch and watch Phineas and Ferb while I take a quick nap because I’m so tired (I’m a mom, remember).
  • When you see me correcting my child out in public, that is not how I normally correct them at home.  I just don’t want to be judged for my loud tone.

Whew!  That felt good.  I feel like if we pull back the curtain a little bit, other moms would learn that we are all out here trying to make it one day at a time.  Sometimes that day looks like clothes all over the floor.  It may look like dishes in the sink.  It could even look like the kids haven’t had a bath in over three days.  The sooner we stop trying to portray this “better mom” image, the sooner we can all stop competing to be the “better mom”.  Did you catch that?

I know, I’m not the first mom to want to show “real” motherhood, but the more women talk about it the more we can all be about it.  Right?  Shed your mask.  Let other moms know that you don’t have it all worked out.  Let them know that even if you do have it all worked out, you probably won’t keep it worked out.  That’s just how life goes.

Here’s the other side of the coin, some of  us need to stop pretending that we aren’t exceptional at some things when we really are.  We don’t spend too much time on this topic because I feel like people often times don’t want to make others feel bad, but we have to shed the mask, remember?

  • I’m really good a preparing snacks for my children.  Call it overcompensating because I didn’t stay home with them when they babies.  Whatever.  I give great snacks.
  • I come up with good lesson plans for my children.  It’s just something I tend to do very well.  God has given me the ability to pull things together that are fun and insightful.
  • I’m actually pretty good at public speaking.  I say that I’m not because if I don’t, I feel like people will ask me to speak in public.  Which I don’t like  (You don’t have to like something to be good at it).
  • I’m really good at cleaning toilets.  Like I clean them a lot and I’ve gotten so good at it.  I’m quite proud of this actually.

This was not me bragging.  This was me telling the truth.  There are things that I am exceptional at and I don’t want to keep putting those talents down because I don’t want to make my friends feel awkward.  This is something I’m betting I’m not alone in.  We can be ourselves in every area.  In our shortcomings and in our triumphs.  It’s important that we do so.

I know some of you may have wondered what happened after I sent a recording of myself yelling, to my friends.  Well, surprisingly, I received a few voice messages from them telling me it was okay.  They were just encouraging me and letting me know that they yell sometimes too.  They let me know that I wasn’t alone and to not feel bad.  It was the best response I could’ve gotten.  I’m so thankful to have so many understanding moms in my life.  I’m glad that we have created this environment where we can appreciate each other and our differences.  I’m glad that we can be moms without our masks.