The Importance of Sharing Our Struggles

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The other day someone asked why I only share the struggles about parenting-- not the joys. I initially created Mommy Has Struggles on the notion that someone should showcase what parenting is really like, outside of humorous memes. I had put a lot of thought into the why, but never really questioned the how -- I simply decided to start writing one day, because at the time my days were filled with a lot of struggles.

When I first considered the idea of this blog, The Beau was in graduate school full-time, while also balancing a full-time career. I had rapidly grown my design firm, but was working from home full-time while also raising our almost 2-year old daughter-- who at the time was home full-time too. No two days were the same which was both an absolute blessing and sheer torture.

We saw The Beau sporadically through the day, often popping by mid-morning or late at night for a quick bite to eat. I continued to prepare meals for my family so that The Beau would be taken care of during a last-minute trip home between study sessions and deadlines.

During all of this time, our daughter was becoming much more busy and opinionated about her daily routine. Most days were fantastic and easy and filled with a healthy balance between work and family, but the bad days were horrific.

A side-story that I'll save for another day -- it turns out the IUD I had, was causing me severe anxiety and depression (here's your PSA about the Mirena) and so I found everyday to be even more of a struggle for survival-- not to mention the increased frequency of tantrums from our almost 2-year old. I am lucky that I never suffered from Postpartum Depression, but if Post-Postpartum Depression exists, that would be my diagnosis.

I should also add that our daughter is extremely strong-willed, which I know I've mentioned in the past. For those of you who wonder if your child is as well -- if you've paused to ask yourself whether your child qualifies as strong-willed, chances are he or she does not. You'll know when you have one and if you don't already know then the answer is no.*

Many people will say to The Beau and me, "If our strong-willed child, our third child [or second, or fifth or tenth], had been born first, we would never have had more children." This is parenting-feedback I love-- the kind that brings me ease and reaffirms that I'm not a horrible mother incapable of balance, or an overly stressed mother, but the mother of a very, very determined little person who let's nothing get in her way.

[ctt template="7" link="1d2Fb" via="yes" ]Do we really need one more lifestyle parenting-blogger, showcasing a simulated and styled daily home, with an ever-immaculate kitchen, and moments of nothing but smiles and hugs with hair always in place? The answer is no.[/ctt]

I've had people ask, "Why is parenting so hard for you?" The reality is that I know I'm an amazing mother and our daughter is a truly astonishing little person. She's hilarious, intelligent and a generously empathetic and caring person -- so I'm doing something right!

It's not that parenting is so hard that inspired me to create Mommy Has Struggles, but rather the answer to the question -- Do we really need one more lifestyle parenting-blogger, showcasing a simulated and styled daily home, with an ever-immaculate kitchen, and moments of nothing but smiles and hugs with hair always in place? The answer is no.

For many the answer is no -- the kitchen is far from clean, the day is a stress-filled balance of packing lunches, dissolving tantrums and keeping a career intact. Though many of these lifestyle parenting-blogs are designed to inspire what could be, it also creates a sense of failure when we realize our everyday is not Instagram-perfect. Parenting is hard for everyone at one stage or another and often at all stages. I created Mommy Has Struggles, because I recognize the effect a facade of perfection has on each of us.**

Social media has been both a curse and blessing in my life. It plays a big role in my professional career, and allows me to stay connected to those I love in my personal life.

As a new mother I felt bombarded by fellow mom-bloggers sharing only the positive moments of their chubby-faced offspring, moments of affection with their flawless husbands who co-parent perfectly without question, and inspired outfits free from the evidence of life. Though we all know the realities of Instagram-worthy lives, we continue to look at the world with the purpose of sharing on social media. For me, it was never a matter of whether I could keep up and produce as a new mother, but rather -- shouldI.

In a world filled with so much we cannot control, and the desire to find balance among what we can, it's time to push away the facade of perfection and recognize what life is really about -- that there is beauty in the struggle to improve, parent and live.

During this great time of stress, while The Beau was in graduate school, I decided to be a voice for honest parenting. Though it's usually the grandparents who cringe when I tell a tale of another meltdown, it's the fellow mothers who are relieved to know they're not alone.

I think we can all agree it's about surviving in a supportive environment, free from just that one more tidbit of "friendly advice." So Mommy Has Struggleswas created -- to offer comfort to those tormented, to offer humor to those in need of a laugh, and to offer an ambivalence for criticisms we women face -- criticisms from and for those with more children, fewer children, no children, or those with thirty grandchildren.

[ctt template="7" link="fewcS" via="yes" ]In a world filled with so much we cannot control, and the desire to find balance among what we can, it's time to push away the facade of perfection and recognize what life is really about -- that there is beauty in the struggle to improve, parent and live.[/ctt]

No matter what stage of life we're in, there will always be someone waiting to jump in to question our decisions and life-choices, and so I hope Mommy Has Struggles serves as a place where you can come to either feel better about what your child didn't do [based what I share about mine that day], or a place to feel better knowing you are not alone in your situation.

I like to think it's really all about the fact that I just don't care what anyone thinks, but that would be a lie. Of course I care -- I'm a person . . . with a conscious! I just don't want to care. I want to be confident enough in my parenting to never second-guess a decision. I want to be confident enough in knowing who I am to ward off any judgements about why I might say something or do something or write something. I want to be confident enough in knowing who my daughter is -- to properly embrace her while lending the support she needs, or knowing when to let her take the lead as she navigates her world.

Sure, sometimes I share the most ridiculous, embarrassing, or questionable content, but it's really about showing what is possible -- that it's possible to live honestly, for in honesty there is freedom.

*Strong-willed kids are spirited and courageous. They want to learn things for themselves rather than accepting what others say, so they test the limits over and over. (Source: Aha Parenting). The best character description, and the most accurate, courtesy of Very Well Family.

**It would be hypocritical for me not to address the reality that I share the edited versions of my photography. After all, I do have a background in advertising and marketing! In truth, I often capture a photo, because the moment presents a story opportunity, or a story later requires a specific photo. In the vision of what I try to capture, my photos provide a platform to share an authentic story to showcase the dichotomy between the beauty and struggle of parenting.