Motherhood is a Spiritual Experience

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I don’t care what your faith is, what color you are, what shape you are, or what language you speak. Whether a higher power has always been present in your life, or you believe your destiny is solely based on being a good person who does the right thing to the best of your ability. It never changes the greatness and unparalleled experience of motherhood. If you believe you’ve never had a spiritual experience in your life, and you’re a mother, yes you have.

If you follow me, you know I didn’t grow up in the church. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a faith. I’ve always had a faith. One of my earliest memories is when I asked God into my heart as a young girl. It was an awkward gesture, one that I would never classify as “bad,” but one that never felt natural to me by any means. I couldn’t tell you why it didn’t feel quite right, but I spent much of my early childhood going through the motions for other people’s approval.

And although I wasn’t sure about God, or who my higher power was, I’ve always been spiritual. I’ve always felt connected to something, I just didn’t know what it was for a very long time. Today if you asked me what my connection to faith is, I’d tell you that I’m incredibly connected. I’m connected to the most inner parts of my soul. I believe in a higher power. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe I’ve experienced the greatest parts of these moments through motherhood.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my children and told them, “you saved my life.” I’ve whispered it in their ears as they laid skin-to-skin on my chest after giving birth. I’ve whispered it in their ears as I watched them while they slept. I’ve whispered it in their ears as they lay fevered in my cooling palms. I’ve told them directly to their faces, watching them attempt to understand what I could possibly mean by that statement, “you saved my life.”

Wandering this beautiful disaster of a world we live in, without the connection of motherhood, I was reckless. I was on a blind path heading toward a destination unknown. I was searching for purpose, connection and reason. I was a good, decent person, digging for truths and answers, never understanding that most answers could never really be found in the places I was searching.

Once I began growing life in my womb, a flame was ignited. I felt an incredible responsibility to take this job as a mother very seriously, spiritually. I grew a little being by the natural capabilities of my own body. I brought that being into this world, and nurtured it day and night. I became connected to an extension of my soul. I created a purpose. I created life.

If that isn’t a spiritual experience, I don’t know what is.

I’ve carried that responsibility with me every day as my experience doubled. I’ve been allowed to mother two incredible souls, who I believe, chose me. This daunting road of motherhood has taught me more than I ever thought possible. Love, and lessons. I don’t believe I would be half the person I am today had I not become a mother when I did.

This blind bliss of motherhood has answered every question I’ve ever had. This magical experience has kept me connected to my faith, my destiny and my own spirituality, because I could never look at motherhood as anything more than the most gigantic, challenging, test of willpower, strenuous, euphoric, overwhelming miracle that I’ll ever have the chance of experiencing. When we become mothers, we become reborn. We shift, we transcend into another part of ourselves. We adapt, we survive, we protect, and it’s innate. We love with no bounds. There’s no end, there’s no beginning. This is it. This is what it’s all about. That feeling. That love. That never-ending, unconditional, heartbreaking love. That is motherhood. And that is spiritual.

Don’t Tell Me Halloween is Just One Day Out of the Year

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If you’re a parent, you’re hyper-aware that Halloween isn’t just one day out of the year. No. We WISH it was, but no. Halloween isn’t just a tutu, a mask, or a simple costume, no. It’s practically its own goddamn season.

Halloween begins at least 4 weeks before October 31st. If you’re really festive, maybe a few months prior. Moms everywhere ask, “sweetie, what do you want to be for Halloween this year?” It can take anywhere from 2 minutes from the time you asked the question, to 2 minutes before it’s time to go trick-or-treating for children to make a solid decision.

Sometimes mothers begin making costumes (yes MAKING them) only to have their sweet offspring change their ever loving mind just as the last stitch is sewn in the seam. It’s a defeating feeling, but one mothers aren’t foreign to.

Sometimes children claim to have “told you a long time ago” what they want to be but we know that never happened, but we have to pretend we have it under control. And it becomes a shit show resembling the game show, “Supermarket Sweep” but in real life (I’m dating myself), except at Halloween Express, and Party City, and Target, and Walmart, and K-Mart, resulting in Amazon PRIME (RUSH THE FUCKING COSTUME HERE RIGHT FUCKING NOW, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) shipping.

Don’t even get me started on the candy situation. It shows up in Target the same day the Pumpkin Spice Latte is brought back to Starbucks, and moms everything begin spending 4 days a week in Target ranging anywhere from 9am to 2:33pm (because it takes exactly 12 minutes to get from the Target parking lot to the kids’ school pick up lot). It’s bad on the wallet, husbands everywhere are pissed that we needed more “deodorant, or make-up wipes again,” which is actually code for “I’m going to Target to buy whatever the fuck I want because I birthed kids.” So we end up leaving Target with 2 more bags of Halloween candy, a throw pillow, a new coffee mug (because you promised you’d try to start kicking your Starbucks addiction and make coffee at home – HA yea right!), and one last Starbucks coffee.

The candy gets eaten in less than a week because it’s that time of month for mom, or the kids act like they didn’t know it was for Halloween, or mom acts like she didn’t know it was for Halloween, or it’s Wednesday. We don’t need to throw blame around, the fact of the matter is, we WILL go through at least 6 more bags of candy before we actually buy the candy that will be given out on Halloween night. That’s the way it’s always been, and it’s the way it’s always gonna be.

The school Fall Festivals are the nail in the coffin for me. By the time I’m done spending my WHOLE weekend running around to all the different schools, playing all the different games, eating shit food, collecting plastic spider rings and rubber bats, and spending all my fortunes on DONATING to whatever fucking school fundraiser it is this month, I’m ready to kiss Halloween’s ass GOODBYE.

But no.

We still have to have costume day at school. So we do a dress rehearsal if you will. Then our children decide that they don’t want to wear that costume on Halloween night after all because the velcro on the back is too itchy. So we scour the land for another costume and all we can find is a Power Ranger costume that is 5 times too big, and $40 too much from the local Halloween Shack. Mom becomes desperate, buys it and cuts it up in order to make it fit. Kid smiles. yay.

Is it over yet?

Nope.

Halloween night arrives. Parents everywhere see the light at the end of the tunnel as the whiny, sugar induced goblins begin to crash somewhere around block 3 from the house. As parents carry their overloaded chocolate consumers for blocks while lugging around the 50 pound pumpkin bucket full of sugar, sleep feels so close…

But once you hit the front porch, the kids fall out of their costumes and into the candy bucket. Or better yet, some just sleep in their costumes as they hug their bucket, fearful that the candy may disappear over night like last year (and parents deny they had anything to do with it).

And for the next 10 days our children are demanding to get into their costumes again and again and again. They’re demanding to eat dessert after every meal, for every snack, or in substitution for every meal. It’s a fucking nightmare. And this is why parents have no choice but to eat the candy while the kids are in bed. It’s called sacrifice.

Halloween is not just one day out of the year, no. Halloween is the beginning of the holiday season that sends every parent into bankruptcy, panic and insanity. But fortunately, there’s chocolate all season long.

Until next year, Halloween. I thank you for the chocolate left behind and the pictures I’ll blackmail my kids with in the near future.

PEACE!

I Know Why the Seasons Change

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Photo Credit: Pexels.com

 

Feeling lost as an adult can be one of the scariest feelings. Pack on motherhood, marriage and all other grown-up responsibilities, and it’s all I can do not to crawl back in my mother’s womb or beg to be swaddled and rocked.

Have you ever felt lost? Or maybe without direction?

It’s confusing, because as mothers and parents, we are supposed to know who we are. We are supposed to identify with being a parent first and foremost, right? But what if we don’t? What if we love our role in that aspect, but don’t identify the way society says we should? Then what?

Am I an awful mother? An awful person? Selfish, maybe? Insensitive?

That’s been my life’s journey and quest. To find ME, while in the trenches of motherhood and marriage and career and responsibilities and obligations. I imagine it’s been many of yours’, too.

It’s been a series of successes and torments, one right after the other. Searching for something I think I need, getting it, then realizing, “nope that wasn’t it.” Struggling on the inside while keeping every fucking ball in the air on the outside. An exhausting juggling act that was layered with good intent but lackluster results, at least as far as my happiness goes.

Acknowledging my failed efforts to achieve contentment on the inside was something I was good at doing but terrible at doing anything about. Because I lacked direction on which way I wanted to go. Torn between many different worlds without a clue on how to merge them together.

The struggle was REAL.

That is until I got real. Real with myself and everyone around me. Real about my needs. My REAL needs. Real about my desires and real about my ultimate goal in this life, which I’m not gonna lie, took some serious searching for.

And then it was as if I woke up one day and knew what I needed to do. So I did.

I began to say no when I needed to say no. I stopped engaging and entertaining people and interactions that no longer brought me joy. I only did what I could, without feeling guilty about not doing what I couldn’t or just simply didn’t want to.

I decided to only be authentic. Being authentic to myself and to others, immediately set the tone and foundation of every relationship that began to form, even with people I had known forever. I no longer tried to be something I wasn’t. Yes it was freeing, but also terrifying.

What if I lose friends that I want to keep?

What if people don’t like me?

What if people judge me?

What if I cuss too much?

WHO GIVES A SHIT! Became my motto. And still is by the way.

But I became more humble in a way I never had, and intensely GRATEFUL. Grateful for the people who I chose to have in my life, and especially the ones I chose to dismiss from my life. Because they were my teachers. They were the ones who helped guide me down a path I either wanted to go, or wanted to steer clear of. How would I have known if I hadn’t tried?

I needed the experience to know any better. But now that I do, it’s my responsibility to stick to what’s right and good for me. That’s the only way to stay on my path and get to where I’m going.

I didn’t understand why I was feeling lost, or why I didn’t feel like myself. I thought, “I must be doing something else wrong among the slew of my other shortcomings.”

Once I found my contentment by staying true to me, I finally understood why things happened the way they did, and why they always do.

It was a season in my life that was necessary for my growth. Like all the seasons before it. It doesn’t  last forever, it will never stay the same, and it will always change. Because we are always changing, growing and expanding.

Most lives are made up of so many beautiful and heartbreaking seasons. We’ll always have those favorites to look back on and smile. The ones to look back on and say, “wow I learned so much that season.”

And the one we’re in.

I’m currently in one of the most liberating seasons of my life. Maybe that’s why they say it just keeps getting better.

Maybe this is all a part of the process of growing up and growing older.

Wherever I am, whatever this is, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This season is stunningly beautiful.

 

 

 

 

The Great Expectations of Motherhood: Getting Out of Our Own Way

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I’m not ashamed to say that motherhood has been by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The day to day struggle of taking care of little ones while trying to take care of myself, it’s an exhaustion no one could have prepared me for. Late nights, early mornings, midnight surprises, the physical strain is taxiing to say the least. It can feel like running a marathon on empty.

But there’s another kind of exhaustion I’ve allowed myself to bear. One that probably could have been avoided if I’d known better. Before having kids, I decided what kind of mother I should be. I packed a bag of expectations, adding to it every chance I got. Watching other parents, judging other mothers, sifting through memories of my own mother and all that I would have hoped she’d done differently. Why did I do this? I guess I desired to give something to my children that I didn’t have, and hoped everything would fall into place the way I planned. Maybe to prevent myself from failing or falling flat on my face.

When I got pregnant, I strapped that heavy bag of expectations to my back and carried it around, opening it for anyone who wanted to look inside. Sure, I got some looks of, “good luck with that,” from people who were already parents, but I knew what I was doing. Or so I thought.

As I became a mother once, and then twice over, my full bag became tattered with gaping holes. Things falling out all over the place. I struggled and spent more time trying to pick them up and place them back just where they belonged than I did enjoying the process, but nothing ever stuck. Something was always dropping and all I felt was defeat, and failure.

Why couldn’t I succeed in carrying this load anymore? Why was it so hard for me to be and do all of these things for my children? What was wrong with me?

“I” was wrong with me.

Comparing myself to others, to my own mother, where was that going to get me? It wasn’t working for me or my family, and something had to give. I decided to put the bag down, and go through it like we go through old pictures from the garage or attic. It was startling to see all that I expected of myself, and even more startling that I hadn’t yet realized what an unrealistic task I was putting on the shoulders of myself and my family.

It was heartbreaking how hard I was on myself day in and day out. I was never going to be this mother, even if I tried with every effort I exerted. It wasn’t humanly possible. So why the disappointment when I looked at myself in the mirror? I mean, motherhood was hard, yes, but it was also the greatest joy of my life. Looking at my boys, I saw happy, compassionate, well-rounded kids. So what’s to be disappointed about?

I didn’t have an answer, because the only person who ever told me I had to be all of those things to everyone else, was myself. Just me. No one else.

Sure I felt pressure from society in many ways to do it all with a smile on my face, but I knew better than that. I knew that’s not how mothers really felt, and any mother I saw trying to tell me different, I was calling bullshit. So why expect those things of myself?

I shouldn’t have. But fortunately, it wasn’t too late.

I think we all dream about how we’ll be as mothers and parents, and with that comes expectations. Some healthy and realistic, and some not so healthy or realistic. What I needed to do was throw out every single unrealistic expectation, take it to the dump and never look back. But also keep the realistic ones that represent my morals and values, and a few to strive for.

I did just that. Because I’m not perfect. I don’t want to be prefect. I think there was a time where I did want that, but I realized quickly that it’s neither rational, nor possible. I had to get the hell out of my own way, and praise myself for all of the things I was doing right and succeeding at.

I put those expectations on myself, and I had the power to take them off. We all do. I feel so much lighter. I feel so much more accepting of myself. I feel accepting of love from my children without question of whether I deserve it or not.

I hope to pass this on to my sons as they embark on parenthood one day. And I look forward to sharing my journey through the great expectations of motherhood with my future daughter-in-laws, so they can love themselves for exactly who they are.

Because the only thing that has risen, met and surpassed my expectations, is how much love a mother can carry. It’s limitless and unbreakable.

 

 

The Faces of Depression & Anxiety: We Are Not Alone

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It is my gratitude and honor to include the beautiful faces of women I call friends, who also battle anxiety and/or depression. We are not alone. Please see below for their names and links to their social media sites.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I’m not alone when I say I’m struggling. I’ve been struggling and the day came to finally do something about it.

Anxiety has had a presence in my life since I was a young girl. Unfortunate circumstances and stressful times dealt me a hand of heavy responsibility and crowded emotions. We all have a story, one that’s left us helpless and scrambling. That story isn’t the focus of this, however relevant it may be, the damage is done, and time ticks on. Life carries on. And here we are.

There I am, a young adolescent, moving through the drudgery of life. As I look over my shoulder, I build a defense so the past never repeats itself. A wall sturdy and strong. While I calculate my plans and analyze those in them, I steer clear of any opportunity to feel pain, or hurt. I am being introduced to anxiety, although I won’t know it until my late 20s, it’s there from a young age, and grows as I grow.

Anxiety feeds me insecurities, and fear. It gives me sweaty palms, and a racing heart. It keeps sleep from me and wakes me with thoughts that don’t make sense, but they somehow do in the dark quiet of the night. It depletes relationships and group gatherings. It hinders my role as a wife and mother. And it takes from me my confidence, all that was left of it anyway.

Depression introduced itself to me as a young adult. I’m maneuvering through my 20s, feeling like the world is my oyster (if only I could manage this anxiety better). When my nerves get the best of me and my anxiety gouges me with fear, depression is there.

Depression, hovering over me like a fog. A fog that has the potential to develop into thick, dense, rain clouds. Showers pour over me without knowledge of why it is so dark. I search for light, and when I find it, the clouds eventually follow. This feeling is foreign, yet familiar. Reminds me of darker times as a child, I want to run from that feeling as fast as I can.

But it always catches up.

Depression feeds me anxiety and irrational thoughts. It engulfs me in overwhelm. It gives me sadness and loneliness. It keeps me isolated and unproductive. It takes me away from my family both physically and emotionally. It provides me a dark hole to hide away in. In pain and achy from stagnation. It places me in the dark, gives me back to the light, only to return again. And again. And again. To take me away.

I’m tired of leaving. I’m tired of missing out on life, because ‘I just can’t.’ I’m exhausted.

I see myself suppressing the anxiety and depression. Everyone else sees my smiling face. My mask I wear it so well. I see myself running on a hamster wheel, trying to keep going. Trying to keep my mind busy from the thoughts that attack me time and time again.Everyone else sees a woman who is accomplished and can do it all. The pressure is suffocating.

I see myself running the rat race and beating myself up when I fail. I see my abilities and potential flying out the window, landing on the opportunities that pass me by, because there’s just no way I could attempt anything more than I’m doing, which feels like absolutely nothing.

I see myself rationalizing the feelings, and dismissing them as if they’ll soon be gone with each passing circumstance. After I finish school I’ll be fine. After we move, I’ll feel better. After this, after that, everything will be ok. But it’s not.

And I’m not alone.

I finally hit bottom, sitting at the edge of my bed alone with my thoughts of failure as a mother and failure as a wife. I pick up the phone and call my doctor.

I walk into her office sweating, on the verge of tears.

I sit down with a racing heart and blood pressure so high, you’d think I had just taken 5 shots of espresso.

I sit in her gaze, crying, and asking for help as she compassionately asks me the hard questions.

She confirms that I am a therapist. “Yes, an intern,” I affirm. “Wow,” she replies. “You should feel so proud of yourself for taking this step,” as she writes my prescription.

I am proud. In this moment I am more of a helpless child, but proud I am. As long as it’s taken me to get here, it’s not because I think I am exempt. It’s not because I don’t think it can happen to me. It’s not because I am embarrassed. I needed to have a moment of clarity, a moment of realization that I can’t actually “handle” this, or “manage” this on my own.

It was an emotional bottom that no one sent me into. Not my kids, not my husband, not family or friends. It is no one’s fault. It was my depression and anxiety. They ganged up on me and attacked me all at once. And I thank them for that. If it weren’t for that bottom, I wouldn’t have made the gigantic step I did.

And I’m not alone.

I’ll never be alone in this struggle. I do not stand alone. I stand with a brave and courageous legion who fight for their lives every day by using therapeutic interventions and medicine. We stand (now) together to fight the stigma.

We are not alone.

Depression and anxiety does not discriminate. Every gender, every race, every size, and culture suffers from these debilitating disorders. And it’s ok. Because we aren’t alone, we have each other, to rid the shame and embarrassment from our minds, and the stigma from our society.

I am not ashamed. We are not ashamed. And you don’t have to be ashamed.

Because you are not alone.

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Please find my courageous fellow writers’ and bloggers’ social media links below:

Alison Tedford at Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops

Bianca Jamotte LeRoux at Real Mommy Confessions

Jorrie Varney at Close to Classy

Christine Suhan at Feelings and Faith

Susanne Lewis Kerns at The Dusty Parachute

Mary Katherine at Mom Babble

Emily Krawczyk at The Laughing Lesbian

Kimberly Zapata at Sunshine Spoils Milk

Bonnie Guy at Unrestrained Laughter

Sara Farrell Baker at No Purple Walls

Ashford Evans at Biscuits and Crazy

Denise Scott Geelhart at Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy

Eran Suds at Good Mother Project

Kathryn Leehane at Foxy Wine Pocket

Jill Eitnier Silvius Dinos, Daydreams and Lollipops

Gina Marie at Stage Too

Alyce Kominetsky at One Word at a Time

Jenny Ball Tufford at The Happy Hausfrau

Shannon Parry Johnson at Joy in the Works

Jennifer Bly at The Deliberate Mom

Mary McLaurine at Sassy Lassie

Chelsea Nelson at Mommy Makes

Steena Hammer at The Angrivated Mom

Elizabeth Broadbent at Manic Pixie Dream Mama

Kristen Flerl Eleveld at The Plucky Procrastinator

Rachel Bledsoe at The Misfits of a Mountain Mama

Jessica McNeill Azar at Herd Management

Glynis Ratcliff at The Joy of Cooking (for Little Assholes)

Sam Wassel at Between the Monkey Bars

Kristi Rieger Campbell at Finding Ninee

 

 

I Am A Mother, I Am Not Enough

 

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Photo Credit: Pexels

The world of motherhood has done two things to me. It has broken me down, and it has shown me who I really am. I’m not speaking in negative terms, I’m speaking in honest terms.

I’ve been a mother for just over eight years, which also means, I’ve been on a path of self discovery for an equal amount of time. And what I’ve found is the last thing I thought I’d find.

Ever since I stepped into the mold of the Mother, everything has been heavier. Everything. My heart, my tears, my thoughts, my pain, my happiness, my guilt, all of my emotions, all of my limbs. Everything. Each step I take is a weighted shuffle of the feet, desiring to go in two different directions, tripping over one another, indecisive, and heavy. It’s a lot to carry. It’s heavier than I thought it would be. It has been unexpected and it has been difficult.

I brought two human beings into the world and never felt more unprepared for anything in all my life. I was sure I could do an amazing job, but now, I’m not so sure. I’m not sure I’m building the childhood for my kids that they deserve. In fact, I know I’m not.

They deserve more. They deserve everything I didn’t have. They deserve structure, proper discipline, fruits and vegetables at every meal, even if they refuse them, they deserve the option. Many times, I slack at giving the option. They deserve a mother who can whip up a home cooked meal from scratch. But this mother, their mother, is not that mother.

I’m at a place in my life where I’m focusing on my passion and my career, and yes, the guilt is eating me alive. My youngest is four and I’ve convinced myself once before that he needs me to stay home with him, before I quickly realized that I’m miserable in that role. I don’t do well staying at home, because I need to be moving, creating, chasing passions and cultivating something more than just these beautiful children.

I feel like I should be crucified for admitting that. I must be a bad person, and for sure a bad mother. No one admits that and is accepted. Aren’t my children enough? Don’t they provide me enough happiness to stop chasing all the other dreams I have?

My children are enough. They’re more than enough. In fact, they’re so beautiful, and magical and more than I ever imagined they’d be, that I can’t believe I still want more out of life. They fuel me and motivate me.

They are life.

They’re everything.

And I’m tormented.

On my 8 1/2 year journey of self discovery, of being broken down and shown who I really am, I found out something about myself. The heaviest, most honest discovery a woman could make; a mother could make. I was more unprepared for this than motherhood itself.

I am not enough.

I’ve been telling myself that I’m not doing enough, giving enough, being enough for my own children, therefore, I’m not worthy. Because they deserve more, I don’t deserve them. I’ve been a self-deprecating mess who has convinced herself that she’s undeserving of this beautiful life, and to want more is a sin.

The reality is, I have not been doing enough, giving enough, or being enough to myself. I’ve been treating myself as if I don’t deserve to have it all. As if there’s shame in being and feeling so blessed that I must punish myself with massive heaps of guilt for feeling unsettled, and like there’s more I need to accomplish.

My heart is not at home with my children, my heart lives inside my children. I can’t keep punishing myself for wanting more. I can’t look down on the woman whose body created life. I can’t tell that mother she doesn’t deserve her children who she’d die for in a heartbeat.

I must tell that woman, you are enough! You’re more than enough. You are so deserving.

Because I am.

It’s ok that I don’t cook every meal from scratch. Ok, no meals from scratch. It’s ok that I’m inconsistent with my discipline, because sometimes, I just can’t deal. And it’s ok that the structure in my house is stable but won’t fall apart if we don’t brush our teeth on Friday nights. There’s love. More love than we know what to do with, and enough love for my children to give and receive it tenfold.

I am entering a new journey in motherhood, and in this new journey I plan to make another incredible discovery. One that is so great, it will be just as unexpected, but this time it will put me back together, the way I deserved all along.

That I am enough.

Moms, We’re Under Attack

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Becoming a mother gave me a new perspective on every mother there ever was. The mother who had 10 kids, 5 kids, 2 kids, 1 kid. The mother who had a miscarriage, or several. The mother who was never able to have children, but yearned to. The aunt who never had her own, so she mothered her nieces and nephews as often as possible.  How hard they’ve worked for centuries, and how incredibly strong they are; we are. As nice as it’s been to see what warriors women are, it’s also allowed me to see another perspective painfully clear.

Moms are under attack. And not just by anyone, but by other women, specifically other moms.

It’s a frightening anticipation, and experience, becoming a mom. There is no manual, no instructions, no do-overs, no return policy or exchange process. How terrifying, how utterly exhausting, how isolating can motherhood be? Be honest with yourself! How bad is it at times?

It’s fucking bad.

It’s been so bad that I’ve cried myself to sleep some nights. It’s been so bad, I’ve experienced debilitating fear that I’d fuck the whole thing up. I’ve spent full days in bed, only to get myself to the restroom, and maybe the fridge because I felt defeated. Because I was defeated.

Am I the only one?

Thanks to my amazing online friends who are also mothers, I know I’m not. But for other women and mothers, to have gone through this same journey, and intentionally bash me, and other mothers for voicing our honest and raw experiences, it’s frightening.

Moms are under attack, and I have a theory as to why. It’s not far-fetched, it’s nothing new, but it’s relevant.

In the 21st century, we are more connected than ever. We can access someone on the other side of the world in 12 seconds or less without leaving our bed. We are “out there,” exposed, informed, leaving us all vulnerable as hell.

The more connected we become, the more comfortable we are with sharing our lives with one another. It’s comforting to know that Lisa from Colorado has been dealing with the same issues as Rachel from Tennessee. Both of their babies are colic. Both mothers are sleep deprived, their spirits are shot, and they are helplessly defeated. They found each other and have been an amazing support in each other’s lives. They don’t know if they would have survived the six weeks of suffering without the other. Well, 7 weeks for Lisa.

But what about Mya from Texas? She’s potty training her three year old and has been unsuccessful for months. She put out an S.O.S. of sorts on a message board, only to be attacked by several mothers for several opinionated-filled reasons. She was told that something must be cognitively wrong with her daughter, because Angie from up state New York’s daughter was trained by 18-months. Ivy from Washington told Mya that Mya missed her window and will likely be dealing with accidents for the next two years because she obviously didn’t take a proactive role in “good parenting.” Mya ended up leaving the message boards after reading the comments that ridiculed her parenting style, her character, her judgment and her eyebrows in her profile picture. Mya continued to struggle with her daughter’s potty training, but she also isolated and blamed herself for her daughter’s struggle. A struggle that was misdiagnosed by the women of the internet.

You see, sometimes we put ourselves out there, and we receive more love and support than we anticipated, but that’s not everyone’s experience.

Why is there so much judgment being passed? Why are other women and mothers so concerned about what others are doing, or how they are parenting? Why does anyone give a shit?

Because as electronically connected as we are to one another, we are as equally  disconnected from ourselves. When we sit behind the screen, scrolling through the social media websites, we start comparing ourselves to other moms and women. We begin judging ourselves. We feel less than. We feel as if our life needs more improvement, aesthetically. So we filter, crop, and edit our lives to what we want people to see. Forgetting all along that’s what everyone else that we compare ourselves to is doing. It’s a sad reality that we choose to participate in. But only if we are blind to it.

So what does this have to do with moms being under attack, you ask? Well, think about it. As long as there are mothers behind the screen searching for support, there will be disconnected, frustrated mothers who are ready to put those women down. Those who direct anger, superiority, and disrespect towards others, especially if they don’t know them, are just reflecting how they feel about themselves. And the internet and social media has made that ugliness as accessible as the beautiful support.

I don’t recall having this hateful, mom shaming behavior 10 years ago. At least not to this extent, because the judgment and comparisons weren’t as accessible. Yes, Sally down the street might have had a picture-perfect life from the outside. Lawn mowed, shiny expensive cars, and wearing the latest trends, but no one knew what was happening on the inside. She may have been a mean, ornery woman because she was unhappy with her life. What you would see today is a selfie as her profile picture with a gorgeous filter, and a family photo where everyone smiles, as her cover photo.

What I’m saying is that we are more insecure, and self-absorbed as a society than ever. People literally make a living off being social media models for goodness sake. Those models might be beautiful, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean we should be comparing our lives to a filter and a good angle.

We’ve got to get in touch with ourselves, and if that means getting off the internet, than so be it. Because we are out there for everyone to see, we subject ourselves to the risk of being something we are not, or wanting something that doesn’t actually exist, perfection. It’s ok to be vulnerable, to seek a support group, to need help, and to make mistakes. We can do this OFF the internet if need be. Because the internet is where I’ve seen and continue to see moms under attack. As amazing as the connection can be, for many it can be detrimental.

I’m not saying that moms can’t be supportive of each other, I’m saying we are under more scrutiny today than we’ve ever been, and it has to stop. We must choose compassion and understanding when we’re on a journey together such as motherhood. It’s the hardest job we’ll ever have. The most important job we’ll ever have.

So, I have one favor to ask of you mothers. When you are met by another mother, or woman with judgment and criticism for you, ask her what you can do for her. Ask her if she needs a break, or help. Because the odds are, she’s suffering, she’s feeling less than, and just too fearful to ask.

It’s a cry for help.

Answer her with compassion.