Dear Mainstream News: We’re Breaking Up

Dear Mainstream Media Outlets,

We have to break up.  You and I, we had a great go, didn’t we? I had a genuine interest in you, and most of the time that interest felt reciprocated.  But at the risk of sounding like every bad rom com break up cliche, we have to break up – it’s not you, its me.  I’ve grown, found myself, and the new me just doesn’t see her future with you in it.  At least not right now.  Maybe one day in the future we’ll meet up again and rekindle our magic, finding that we can once again meet each other’s needs. But until then, I’m going to have to walk away.  I’ll try my best to explain myself.

I’m a mom.  I have been for nearly two years now, and every day since becoming one, I’ve felt myself slipping farther and farther away from you.  It’s not you. You’ve held up your end of the deal.  Well, most of you. You continue to keep on keepin’ on, presenting the latest news from around the globe every single day without fail.  The good, the bad, and the ugly. You always show up.  Sometimes with integrity.  Sometimes not. But no one is perfect, right? I just can no longer pull my weight in our relationship.  I have nothing left to give.  I’ve got nothing left in the tank.  You see, I’m a mom now.

Back when I was young, wild, and yet to start a family I could consume you without missing a beat.  I had you on all of my devices, checked in with you religiously, and had a strong desire to stay current on all happenings in this world that surrounded me.  I can no longer be that girl. I tried, believe me. For two years I’ve been trying to be that girl. But there’s no going back. I’m a mom now.

One of the little secrets no one told me before becoming a mom is that the depths of my heart would reach levels I never knew possible.  So deep, and so wide, I’m not sure how to accommodate it anymore.  It’s too heavy.  Too much to bare. I feel too much.  And I just can’t carry it all. Everything you show me affects me in ways I have no longer have control over.  Every story. Every heartbreak.  Every life gone too soon. And god forbid, every single injustice, mistreatment, or tragedy that involves a child.

I’m a mom now.  It’s all too close to home.  I can no longer separate myself and my family from what I read.  And there’s just too many of those stories.  Far too many. Every time I read one of your articles about a young child abused in unspeakable ways by those she was supposed to be able to trust.  Every time a newborn is quite literally thrown away like they are part of the garbage. Every time children are forced to flee their homes and become refugees in fear of rebels terrorizing their community. Every single time there is a story about a child that is hurt, lost, mistreated, trafficked, used, beaten, kidnapped, neglected, or any of the other thousand verbs that that should never happen comes into my awareness – it consumes me.  I see those children as if they were my own.  And I see my own in those children.  The lump immediately travels up my throat as the rip simultaneously makes its way across my heart.  My legs feel unstable, and my stomach tightens into a ball.  And if I’m somehow able to make it to the end of the article, I can guarantee you there will be tears.

It doesn’t consume me for the ten minutes following.  I carry it for far too long. I still can’t get past the kid at the library who stiff armed my daughter in the head over ten months ago, let alone all the stories from this summer about young children left to die alone in their overheated vehicles.  I see them in my own children, and they show up in my dreams.  I can’t even talk about the things I feel for the parents of these children. It hurts too much and I keep trying to make sense of things that I know will never make sense.  They can’t make sense.  In no world I want to live in should these things ever make sense.

I imagine their fear. Their loneliness.  I imagine their scared uncertainty. Their hopelessness.  Their pain.  Their fear. Oh, the fear.  I want to swoop in and pick every single one of them up, showering them with the love, attention, and the safe environment they so deserve to live in.  I want to reassure them all that every tomorrow will be okay because I’ll be here. I want them to know their worth and potential, and that they will always have someone cheering them on.  I want to read to them while rubbing their back before gently tucking them in at night so they can peacefully dream about snowmen, cookies, their friends, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But I can’t. It’s not possible.  They aren’t mine.  I don’t even know them.

Don’t worry, I haven’t allowed these stories to completely dampen my faith in humanity or turn my heart black.  For every tragedy I read, I know there are a million more people out there bringing comfort and joy to the lives of our littles.  I know this because I try every day in my own ways to be one, and I see all the good every single day in the hundreds of moms and teachers I am connected with.  But for now, at this moment in my life when my heart is working overtime trying to make room for this ever-growing and burning love I have for my own children, we just need to take a break.

Don’t worry, I won’t be negligent to shut myself off from you completely. People need to know the truths from around the world so brave men and women can act on it, and do their part to spread a little more love in this world that desperately needs it. We need to be exposed to the dark so we know where to spread our light.  I just can’t give you what I used to, and I hope you understand.

I told you – its not you, its me.  You see, I’m a mom now.

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I’m An Oversharer And I’m OK With It

For the past 22 months I’ve shared my pregnancy and our new life with our daughter with friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.  And for the past 22 months, I’ve questioned myself about it countless times.  I’ve debated writing about the topic since I first started this blog, but was unsure of whether or not it was worth writing about and if it were a topic anyone would even be interested in.  Then, like with all my posts, I reminded myself the blog is for me.

Its easy these days to be put in a certain category within social media.  You know them. The food people, the pet people, the health and fitness people, the selfie people, the inspirational quote people, or the baby people.  And in all honesty, if you don’t share the same passion, following those people can be utterly exhausting and boring.  Despite my fears of being one of those baby people, I’ve gone ahead and risked annoying people by sharing our journey.  I did the weekly pregnancy pictures (and yes, I’m attempting a much more toned down version of them again this time around), and I could easily post a picture a day of our daughter.  Between people’s generalized comments on Facebook about their frustration with their Newsfeed turning into a Gymboree ad, the numerous articles I’ve read about moms wanting to put the camera down to “enjoy the moment”, and that whole privacy issue, I’ve had my share of internal struggles about what is appropriate to share and what isn’t.

And then one day in the not so distant past, I said screw it.  I’m over the guilt.  I’m over the wondering about who I’ve annoyed.  I’m over wondering if I snap pictures too much.

 

By nature I am an open person (hence, the blog).  I always have been, and I think its safe to assume I always will be.  Ask, and I’ll tell.  To keep everything we go through to myself goes against the grain of my being.

Nearly our entire family is on Facebook. My mother, grandmothers, and great grandmother are all on Facebook.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, and numerous other family members that would otherwise never really get to see our daughter grow up, are on Facebook.  They enjoy watching her grow, and I enjoy that they are able to.

After making my daughter’s one year video, I realized I take just the right amount of pictures and videos.  In one short year, there were things I had already forgotten she did, and certain ways she looked when she was oh so small.  THAT is how fast they grow, and I am so grateful I am able to look back and remember them all.

Facebook and Instagram both have tools that allow people to limit what they see from you, or options to not see you at all.  If someone chooses to utilize them, no hard feelings here – I get it! No one is forcing them to suffer through viewing my life.

The time Tayler’s great grandparents that live in another state voiced how much they appreciate being able to watch her grow.  If they can’t see her in person all the time, seeing pictures and videos is the next best thing. Or the time another pair of Tayler’s great grandparents voiced somewhat jokingly that, “they start their day by looking for new pictures of Tayler, and if they can’t find anything, their day is already ruined”.

The women my age in my network are just starting to have children and start families.  Many that are thinking about it for the near future have reached out to tell me how much fun it is to see what they have to look forward to.  How cool is that?

I love the relationships that can build out of connecting with other new parents who are going through the same things we are.  You can never have a big enough support system when it comes to raising your children.

Once people go through it themselves, they get it.  Whether they are as open about their children or their home life as you, they understand the sheer joy and excitement that comes from creating life and doing your best to raise happy and healthy children.

My daughter is thriving, joyful, and oh so loved.  So that whole fear about “not being in the moment enough” left just as quickly as it came.  And most pictures and videos are the fourth time she’s done something – I soak up the wonderment of the first.

The first time I skipped a weekly pregnancy photo, I got multiple threats. To not post sometimes is scarier than posting.

Some things are kept private to enjoy with just us.  But you wouldn’t know, because they’re private.  Right?

The amount of messages I’ve received from expecting moms that thank me for sharing our journey.  Anticipating what parenthood is going to be like can be overwhelming, and being able to take an honest peek into someone else’s life that is going through it can sometimes put a few of those nerves at ease.  If I can give that to someone, what an amazing bonus to sharing!

I’m aware of the privacy settings I use, and who can view things that I share.  If I post, I understand who may see it.

I consciously try and balance showing an honest take on parenting with respecting challenging moments that aren’t intended for everyone.  If you want to see some of the other side (which I assure you there is), ask and I’ll tell.

The unexpected people who share in the joy with you.  There are few better feelings than knowing that there are people who enjoy watching your family grow and genuinely care about your journey.

Finally, like all choices in parenting, to each their own.  Whatever your feelings are on the topic, they are the right ones for you.  If you prefer to keep things private, you are absolutely right.  If you prefer to share your whole story, you are absolutely right.  And if you’ve found a beautifully happy medium of the two, you are absolutely right.

 

To anyone reading this that has enjoyed watching our family adventures, thanks for tagging along 🙂 I’m glad you’re here! 

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