I see you flipping through your Instagram feed, admiring the white granite countertops and freshly highlighted hair of the mama bloggers you follow. I see the way you then look at your small home, longing for a big kitchen and a yard with a pool. According to those photos, that’s what our children deserve, right? I see your uncomfortable expression when your mom friends ask you if you’re considering home or private schooling, yet you’re just concerned with how you’re going to afford adequate school clothes when that time comes. I see you pause at the grocery store, calculating how much produce you can afford after toilet paper and formula. I see you looking up Youtube videos on how to fix a broken belt for your car, because a repair wasn’t in the budget this month – and the ad before the Youtube video is a woman who looks just like you driving 2018’s best family SUV. After all, isn’t that what you should be driving? I see you internalizing and doubting and struggling to feel worthy in this season of life when all you can do is get by for your kids.
I see you because in so many ways I am you, and girlfriend, I am here to tell you something. The number of family trips you take to Disney each year do not in any way correlate with your competence as a parent. That goes for so many unfair comparisons. Whether you’re the unplanned mama who still lives with her mama, or the mama who got away from abuse, or the single-income stay at home mama – your strained financial situation has no effect on your ability to love and care for those beautiful babies well. In addition to that fact, honey, you are not alone! Most families cannot afford theme park annual passes. Most families cannot afford custom kitchen cabinets in a farmhouse on a few acres. Most women cannot afford big black suburbans and bushels of Winter Garden farmer’s market flowers in their Louis Vuitton on the passenger seat… (psssst even some of the ones who have it still can’t actually afford it)! If God only granted children to dreamy, Pinterest-worthy families with a killer savings account, then the world would miss out on a lot of really incredible kids. Because life for most people cannot, and will not, ever look like that.
So please stop comparing mama. Your kind of motherhood doesn’t have to look like your social media feed. You have earned this title. I hope you soak in how small and snuggly your kids are right now, instead of wishing you could skip to the season when you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. I hope you stop feeling awkward when people ask “what do you and your husband do?” and you have to say a job you’re embarrassed of, or that there is no man in the picture. Give yourself more credit mama, your hard work and sacrifice are instilling values in your children that will last far longer than any Mommy and Me monogrammed matching outfit, I promise.
Another Broke Mama