I am totally the worst.
A hypocrite to the MAX.
I spend my entire time worrying about how moms are being judged or shamed – trying to give okay moms a voice. Trying my hardest to tell moms from every walk of life that it’s okay to be okay – to ignore the perfect instagram mommies because there’s a lot we don’t see behind their perfectly filtered pictures.
But at the end of the day – I took that voice away from the okay moms and used it for harm.
My eyes were opened to my hypocrisy because of a peanut butter sandwich.
Not just any peanut butter sandwich… but a peanut butter sandwich made from a professional. It was for a peanut butter ad and it was targeting moms who pack their kid’s school lunches. The ad showed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with perfect tiny star shapes cut out of the top of the bread so you can see the perfectly smeared thin layer of (I’m sure) organic jelly and the thick layer of the protein packed peanut butter. No mess. Crust not even cut off – because of course this kid eats crusts. Perfect little lunch packed for a perfect little kid by a perfect mom. Every time this ad popped up on my Facebook feed, I wanted to throw my middle finger up. OVER IT. STAHP. No one is that perfect. No one takes the time to do this. And if they do take the time to do this – it is for a filtered instagram pic and not for their kid. Right??
Well I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
For nearly a year I have ran a mommy support group on Facebook called the World’s Okayest Moms and it’s pretty freakin perfect. We’re coming up on almost 2,000 members and it is a well oiled machine – so far there has been very little drama (WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE HELLO) and a huge support from all over the world… literally the world. It’s amazing and encouraging and I couldn’t be more proud of it.
A few weeks back, one of the world’s okayest moms took a screenshot of said peanut butter ad and posted it in the group with a caption along the lines of – who actually does this. The comments were hilarious. A bunch of woman, including myself, got on the thread and bashed the ad for being so fucking perfect and not messy. It was exactly what I thought would happen. Until a mom commented something I hadn’t thought of :
I won’t quote her directly but basically she was hurt. She said that her child had the hardest time eating and would go through bouts of refusing food for days on end (who doesn’t have that every once in a while). So in a desperate attempt to get her child to eat some protein, she made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Perfectly, no mess, cute shaped cut out of the center of the bread, and it was beautiful. The kid ate the sandwich and she finally found something that worked. It became a ritual for her to make these special sandwiches for her kid who she was worried wasn’t getting enough nutrients. She said that the comments on the post hurt her directly and she was debating leaving the group over it – she thought this group was a place without judgement and here she was, feeling completely judged. She was hurt. We hurt her. Suddenly a memory hit me that four years ago I had an extremely stubborn two year old refuse to eat for days on end with the exception of cheerios. So I did this! I used cookie cutters and cut her sandwiches into shapes for months. It was the only thing she ate and I was relived she was getting some protein so it didn’t matter to me that I had to go the extra mile for my typical two-year-old.
I wrote her back an apology and validated her hurt. I thanked her for not leaving the group but I think my apology was too late. I never got a reply back.
I felt terrible.
I had set out to create this environment for mommies who felt like they didn’t belong and here I am shaming mommies.
Is it possible that we are so worried about not judging and shaming okay moms that we end up shaming and judging the instagram moms?
We hate their perfect yoga pants and their skinny bodies and their avocado toast. But aren’t they doing what they need? They need the marathons, they need the cookie cutter sandwiches, they need their protein shakes in the morning. Some of them even need the likes. They need to post their filtered devotional and coffee pic in the morning so that they feel validated and noticed. It’s their way to feel creative and appreciated. Who doesn’t want that?
I am a creative but not with my instagram pics… I am not a photographer and I don’t spend 15 minutes working on the perfect placement of my latte on the cafe table for the perfect picture. But these women who do are only expressing their creativity in a different way than I would.
Point is – we don’t know. There is no way we could ever possibly know their life. We don’t know why they feel the need to post Breast is Best or Fed is Best posts. We don’t know why their house is pristine and their coffee always hot. We don’t know why their kids wear name brands and eat their perfect organic sandwiches every day. Just like they don’t know us.
Isn’t it time we push through that divide? Can’t a mom just be a mom? At the end of the day – we all have the same end goal…
don’t raise an asshole.
Let’s chill out, mommas. It’s okay to be okay and it’s also okay to be sub par and it’s also okay to be spectacular. You do you. That’s the best we can do, right? We all kinda suck – there’s some common ground!