But someone commented on how it “looked like the perfect year!” and suddenly, I felt like I had committed the worst social media crime possible.
Even though we all do it.
I think one of the most fitting quotes for my generation is this: "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel*."
We use social media to connect with family, friends, and co-workers, but no (mature) adult likes to air dirty laundry on Facebook or use Twitter to complain about their spouse, so what everyone sees is our “highlight reel.”
The best of the best. And that's all that video was.
As moms, I think this can be toxic. When you’re covered in baby pee and pureed sweet potatoes, it can be so disheartening to see pictures of friends’ beautiful outdoor picnics with their clean, happy children.
Sometimes, it can make us feel like failures—but I’m prepared to bet that we all struggle with the same things when the camera isn’t rolling.
So let me share with you what I DIDN’T include in Sarah’s video.
I didn’t film the problems I had learning to breastfeed, or how I could barely care for her by myself in the beginning because I had such a terrible recovery.
I didn’t press “record” on my phone to capture the frustrated expression on my face when she would wake up after a 45 minute nap (which is still a daily battle).
I didn’t turn the camera on the night she wouldn’t stop crying for several hours. When I laid her down in the bassinet and put my hands over my face and moaned, “will you just shut up already?!” I didn’t record the phone call I made 5 minutes later to my mother. Crying in my humiliation and shame when I told her what I had done. And I didn’t film me picking Sarah back up and whispering in her ear how sorry I was.
I didn’t have the camera with me on my first day back to work when I sobbed the entire one-hour commute.
I didn’t film the arguments my husband and I had about sharing responsibilities of childcare.
I didn’t take any pictures during Sarah’s first fever, or record me staying up with her all night because I couldn’t sleep from worry.
I didn't record the nights I stayed up late making baby food, just to have it all thrown on the floor the next day.
I didn't whip out my phone to document Sarah spilling dog food all over the kitchen or unrolling toilet paper all over the house.
And I didn’t film Sarah when she started to learn disobedience, nor did I include one of her temper tantrums when we tell her “no."
The video doesn't show her having a meltdown when I leave her at the church nursery on Sundays or screaming at every diaper and outfit change.
No, the video is all cuddles and smiles, all silly tickles and beautiful kisses.
It doesn’t show the hard stuff because those aren't the things we remember. Because it doesn’t matter how hard it is—how hard the baby cries, how disgusting your house is even though you clean it continually, how hard you feel like you’re failing at motherhood.
The hard is what makes it beautiful. It’s what makes it real.
No matter how terrible the day is, 10 seconds of her happiness erases 4 hours of fussiness. I go to bed with my heart feeling like it could literally explode from joy thinking that I get to wake up and see her smiling face again.
Praise the Lord—I am blessed indeed.