The computer lights up and a page is open on my browser. It is a suggested pin from Pinterest, and as I look closer I see it’s a stylized picture of a tuna casserole. Under the photo, in trendy font, it reads “Best Tuna Casserole”. I click on the photo, intending to add it to my “Cooking” board on Pinterest. But then I stop myself.
The tuna casserole is a liar.
I know this already because the tuna casserole I make will not look like the one in the picture. I will have run out of milk mid-recipe. I will have burned it a little because I got distracted by my children. I will have overcooked the noodles. I will have served it with nothing else on the table because this one dish took so much time and energy. And I will have decided, after everything is said and done, I really do not like tuna casserole after all. I have to remind myself that Motherhood and tuna casseroles do not have to be one of the same.
Motherhood shows up everywhere, including on all the covers on mom-centered magazines, in all the photos on Facebook, and is in every hashtag. Motherhood is no longer a characteristic, but a lifestyle. And this lifestyle choice is perfection. It tells us that Motherhood is doing it all, and doing it all while wearing the latest fishtail braid.
You see, Motherhood and Perfection are not synonymous. They don’t even like to be in the same room with each other. But American pop culture is making Motherhood a way of life, a brand, a word gobbled up by consumerism.
Let’s not perpetuate the myth of Motherhood and forget the reality of Real Motherhood.
We, as mothers, cannot forget that Real Motherhood isn’t a trending topic on our social media pages but should be trending in our homes. Real Motherhood does not sustain the use of false archetypes in parenthood. Real Motherhood is found every day, in every way, in the hearts of the home, in the lives of our children.
There is no such thing as glamour in Real Motherhood.
But there is such a thing as grace in Real Motherhood.
Our children wrap their arms around our necks and give us sticky kisses from the peanut butter and jelly sandwich from lunch, their backside wet from potty training fails, and their hair messy after a morning of running through the backyard sprinklers.
This is Real Motherhood.
There is no room for idealism here because perfect imperfections make our hours, our days, our very lives simply grace-filled. There is no other way to describe the moment when our daughter finally shares a toy, or when our son cries over a dead ant. There is no other way to portray the time when our littlest came into the world, messy and oh-so-loudly crying. This is Real Motherhood.
I humbly ask you to keep embracing the overcooked tuna casseroles of Real Motherhood. Keep encouraging love, and laugh at yourself and your families. Keep it real. Remember that the tuna casserole, the way you made it (or didn’t get around to making it at all) is good enough, and that, my friend, is the truth.