Honesty: Today’s Mark of Beauty
I have been enveloped into a life stage that Instagram and Pinterest portray to be fabulous: motherhood. Let me set the record straight: motherhood is incredible, but it has also been the most challenging three years of my life. Sweet morning “I love yous”, and interrupted sleep. The beauty of carrying and feeding and sustaining a human life, and a body shape forever changed. The joy of watching your child walk for the first time, and the pain of seeing them fall. Motherhood is full of ups and downs, joys and challenges. Yet we live in a culture that doesn’t like to spare too much time talking about the stuff that can’t be captured in a social media post.
I often fight against the common mom mantras, the taglines found under pictures of smiling babies and toddlers with backpacks: “Where did the time go?!” “It feels like yesterday they were born!” “Stop growing up!” While there may be moments these feelings arise, I tend to experience and say the opposite: “When can I send you to preschool?” “Will you ever be old enough to sleep thought the night?” “I feel like you have been two for two full years!”
As I’ve been on my own journey of discovering who I am as a mom, I’ve watched a variety of moms drown as they attempt to hold up a perfect life, closed off from their feelings—their fears and hurts. Yet I’ve also seen unmatched beauty in the bravest of moms who are honest and willing to say hard things like “Dang. These tiny humans are driving me mad. I need a break and a margarita. Also, can you hook me up with your marriage counselor?”
If I could pinpoint beauty in motherhood, it would be a mom who is honest— a woman vulnerable enough to ask for help when she needs it. Beauty isn’t faking it until you make it. Instead, it is acknowledging your current reality and taking the time to pause and assess, making the necessary adjustments and changes to be healthy.
This beauty is seen in women all life stages.
The sweetest temptation of life is to press so hard forward that we don’t press inward. We can try to cover up pain with lipstick. We can attempt to numb fears with online shopping. We can try and try, but these efforts will fail to bring long-term happiness.
This season of mothering two little girls three and under has challenged everything about me. I feel as though I’ve been living in maternity clothes and nursing bras; carrying a baby in one arm and an army of dolls and snacks under the other. It can be far too easy to just flip into survival mode—powering through emotions and disappointments— forcing myself forward without slowing down enough to feel, without slowing down enough to see how this season is changing me, without reaching out for a hand to hold on this terrifying and thrilling adventure.
My challenge for you today: slow down enough to feel.
Quiet your busy mind long enough to process your emotions. Then, talk to someone about how you are feeling. Sad? Excited? Lonely? Hurting? Dreaming? Take a step forward and speak it out—be honest with where you are and what you need. Everyone around you will be better because of it. This is beauty.