Authentic vs. Positive
Authentic vs. Positive
One of the internal struggles I’ve been having lately is in trying to find a balance between being authentic and being positive.
I pride myself in my authenticity. I have been open and honest about how difficult the transition of becoming a new mother has been for me. When people ask how I like motherhood, I usually respond with something like “it’s so hard”, or “we had a rough start but it’s much better now”. And I usually get a look that I interpret as, “what’s wrong with you?” I can’t tell whether it’s “what’s wrong with you that it’s so hard for you, you’re supposed to be enjoying every moment”, or “what’s wrong with you… you’re not supposed to talk about the bad stuff.”
Don’t get me wrong! There is good stuff. There is great stuff. So much great stuff. But there’s also stinky, screamy, teary, overtired stuff. In the early weeks, I struggled with a baby that had a medical issue with acid reflux issues who screamed and screamed and never let us put him down. I continue to struggle with breastfeeding issues that once included, but have not been limited to, a slow weight gain baby (who thank goodness has no issue packing on the pounds now… my little fatty loves his food!)
But there is so much that is hard and I don’t want to hide it. When people tell me they had no idea I had a hard time because everything seems so great on Facebook and Instagram, it knocks me back. Not because it’s not true (let’s be honest, I don’t have my camera out and ready while getting screamed at and pooped on), but because I pride myself in my authenticity and intend to be honest and balanced. No matter what dirty looks it might get me. If it helps someone else see that they’re not alone in their struggles, I’m all for never pretending things are easy and wonderful all the time. If it attracts other real, honest people as my friends, then lucky me for not being alone in my struggles either. This is probably why I am most attracted to the other moms in activity programs who don’t have perfect hair and makeup, and look like they have run a marathon just to get out the door… maybe because it makes me feel less bad about my lack of shower that day… or maybe because the fact that when Ari naps in the morning I choose to go back to sleep instead of get myself together is something I might share with them. I certainly do not think the other more put together mamas don’t have a hard time, I just think they might not be as open about it. And I am not a fan of the mamas who pretend that everything is perfect.
But lately I’ve been thinking: how do I make sure being honest and balanced doesn’t start to tip into negative and whiny? Negative thoughts can build into more negative thoughts. Doubts build more doubts. When nothing seems to be going my way, is it actually helpful to complain about that? Or better to try to find some positive in the situation? Better at the end of the day to celebrate how nicely he went to sleep that night (even though he woke up 3 times the night before) or how happy he was at the program that we went to (even though we only made in time for the last 5 minutes). Better to remind myself how nice it was to go on a long walk in the sun (even though I was trying to put him to sleep for an hour and a half and he didn’t fall asleep until I got back to our driveway). Life with a baby is so frustrating, exhausting and challenging, but it’s also so rewarding and sometimes even a lot of fun!
I don’t have the answer, but I thought I would share my curiosity and ponderings on this delicate balance… in case maybe you do.
And now to wrap up, here are some recent adorable pictures of my baby who is both an exhausting handful and a sweet, cuddly, happy boy.