I never fully embraced the blogging world until I was a mom. I never understood the need to share all my thoughts with the world (except for maybe my AOL IM profile in the 90’s, but that’s another story). But then motherhood hit me out of nowhere… apparently at the end of nine months, the hospital does not keep the baby. So here I was, new mom, new person. And it was hard. And sometimes I struggled. And I definitely relied heavily on trial and error. And then I found blogs. Blogs of women like me, struggling like me. And it was just what I needed.
Except for one part — and I think this is the part that is somehow kept a secret. Bloggers (including myself) forgot to share that the hard days are nothing in comparison to the good ones.
We all focus on the hard. The times we drudge through a day, an hour, a minute, and never know how we’ll survive. I can’t tell you how many times that a well-meaning stranger, friend, or fellow mom looked at me with knowing eyes and told me things wouldn’t get easier. When I was still in college, I was told to wait until I was out and the bills piled up. When I was engaged I was told to wait until that honeymoon phase wore off. Pregnant? Just wait until you never sleep again. Toddler? Just you wait for the tantrums. And it never ends. The advice, the milestones, all of it goes on and on. The problem is we are so quick to give out the warning labels and forget to share the highlight reel. The joys of life. The college years that taught you who you really were, and who you wanted to be. Getting married and discovering so much about sacrificial love. Having a baby and feeling your heart burst with every little breath. A toddler running at you full force just for a hug.
So you know what? With tired eyes, an aching back, and an ever-growing to-do list, I’m here to tell you that it’s not so bad. And it is all worth it, just you wait and see.
Rose is in a new phase of trying her best to stall nap time and bedtime as long as humanly possible. She’ll ask to be taken to the potty no less than five times, she’ll ask to sing the ABC’s or Twinkle “just one more time”, and then she’ll hold on for dear life when you try and lay her down. But it’s not so bad. Every time I finally get her to let go of me and go to bed, I leave the room already missing her. The extra songs are always met with her toddler sing-song voice and it’s really the best sound in the world. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, my patience can wear thin. But it’s not so bad.
When we only share our struggles and forget to share our joys, we aren’t helping ourselves or anyone else. We need to remember how good the day was, not how bad that one moment of the day was. And other people need to know that too. Young adults, newly married couples, and new parents all need to know how happy these new stages of life are. We don’t need to go into life’s greatest challenges wide-eyed and scared, we need to greet them bright-eyed and eagerly. Because I promise they’re all good. And okay fine, most of them are hard in a million different ways. But it’s not so bad.
I promise there are enough bad things that can happen to a person or a family — a loved one with terminal illness, the loss of a child, the loss of a job, the list goes on and on. Everyday life is not a tragedy though. And I’m working hard to be more mindful of that, because I’m one of the worst offenders of complaining.
So next time you (and I’m talking to myself, mostly) feel the urge to offer sage advice to the struggling person, I challenge you to offer a smile, an encouraging word, and maybe some help instead. The mom with the screaming kid at Mass? Tell her she is doing amazing things by bringing her children to church. Smile so she knows it’s okay. We’ve all been there. The college student looking lost? Don’t tell them it’ll be worse when they graduate. Buy them coffee. Or pizza. Tell them they’re doing great.
We all experience life differently, but we all experience life. And most of it is filled with good, not bad, just you wait and see.