To the parents who are tired of feeling like failures,

Our generation of parents does not have it as easy as our parents and grandparents like to think. Sure, we have more efficient ways of doing basic parenting duties (um hellooo…disposable diapers!). There is an infinite amount of information on the internet, and although WebMD will most certainly convince you that your toddler’s heat rash is life threatening, it’s still helpful for all the NON-hypochondriac parents out there. We have a network of thousands of other parents available to us 24 hours a day on Facebook and other parenting forums. But the convenience of new-age parenting is a double edged sword.

Thanks to social media, like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, the bar has been raised for parents everywhere. I dare you to get on Pinterest right now and search “first birthday party.”

Is this really necessary for a child’s FIRST BIRTHDAY?!

Don’t be surprised when your search results are filled with designer smash cakes, candy buffets, cleverly named food dishes to match the party theme, and freaking pony rides. What the hell happened to just having family and friends over for cake and ice cream?

I admit, I’m just as guilty of buying into the “Pinterest way of parenting” as any other sleep deprived mother who isn’t capable of making logical decisions. For God’s sake, we had about 75 people at my kid’s SECOND birthday party. It was an incredible party and the kids had an absolute blast. But a lot of the stuff we had at her party was totally unnecessary.

And you better believe my ass got on Facebook and posted over 100 pictures of her amazing party, only to become guilty of the very thing I’m writing about. I guarantee you at least a handful of moms who saw my pictures thought, “Crap, I guess the pinata and Publix cake I bought aren’t gonna cut it for Suzy’s party this year.” The LAST thing I want to do is make another mom feel like what she’s doing isn’t good enough. Because I know how much it hurts to feel like a failure as a mom.

So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and each other to live up to these unrealistic standards?

Raelyn colored her legs green…and I let her do it

I don’t think it’s intentional. Actually, yes I do. We live in a world where we are constantly trying to “one up” each other. And courtesy of social media, this can get way out of hand at the click of a button. Every mother wants other people to think she’s the best mom ever. So she will post pictures of her four beautiful, perfectly behaved, well groomed, “normal” children and make it seem inconspicuous that you can see how immaculate her house is in the background.

Those perfectly staged pictures used to make me feel like a failure; like a shitty mother and an inadequate wife. But you know what? I made a decision to give the “Pinterest way of parenting” the middle finger. No one can actually make Christmas ornaments out of coffee filters and glitter and end up with a beautifully decorated tree, rather than a glitter covered toddler. No half decent mother is going to have a sparkling clean kitchen and freshly vacuumed floors at any given time. Why? Because moms are supposed to spend their time loving their kids and making messy memories.

I’m happy if at least 50% of my living room floor is visible and the dishes

This is real life, people

piled up in the sink don’t smell too bad.

If you read that last sentence and were totally grossed out, then there’s no way in hell we can be friends. Because THAT is real life, my friends. THAT is what parenting is about. Just because I post pictures of my kid still in her pajamas at 4pm playing in the living room that is covered with toys and snacks, that doesn’t make me a bad mother. It makes me a mom with realistic expectations.

There are days where I am a rockstar mom and a trophy wife.

But there are also days where all I can manage is the bare minimum because I’m just too tired to give 120% that day. It’s okay to just be adequate. It’s okay to sometimes let your kid watch TV all day and then order pizza for dinner. Love your kids, feed them, keep them safe, and keep them relatively clean. That’s all you have to do sometimes. Sometimes that’s all you CAN do.i-love-these-parents-teaching-their-toddlers-japanese-while-im-over-here-just-trying-to-get-mine-to-stop-licking-the-refrigerator

I challenge each of you to give the world a glimpse into your REAL life…post pictures of your kids (and yourself) looking like a hot mess. Don’t worry about cleaning up the clutter before snapping that picture of your kid doing something hilarious. Share your stories about your kid eating dog food. I mean, come on people… parents, of all people, should be the most understanding people on the planet. But for some reason, we tend to be the most judgmental.

I have had so many people tell me how much they appreciate my blunt honesty when it comes to parenting.

I don’t sugar coat things. I share snippets of our life exactly as they happen, because even a messy and chaotic life can be beautiful. Having the courage to share your life uncensored is so refreshing; not only for you but also everyone you share it with.

I don’t know this kid but I could definitely see Raelyn doing this…and me taking a pic before getting her out

How many times have you seen pictures of “parenting fails” and started cracking up because you’ve either done the same thing or you could totally see yourself doing it? I know I have more than a few times. That’s what is great about sharing these raw moments of your life. People can relate to your imperfect pictures of your snotty nosed kid in her pajamas at 4pm, eating dog food off the floor. Those moments don’t make you a bad parent. They make you human. And sharing them makes other parents, who are pressured to always be perfect, feel normal for a change.

Join me in embracing these REAL moments of our crazy beautiful lives. Share your parenting fails. Laugh at yourself. Quit judging other parents. Don’t take life so seriously. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, cut yourself some slack. Stop trying to be perfect and remember what it feels like to just be human.

Follow our journey on Facebook: Autism Through Raelyn’s Eyes

Click here to read my intro post and learn about my awesomely autistic daughter.