Sweet mommas, if I could take each one of you, look you straight in the eyes and tell you this so that you’d believe me, I would:
You are not invisible.
I had the benefit of being a mom before “influencers” were on the scene. You know, the ones who say their life isn’t put together but every picture screams perfection. They are pictured in a field of sunflowers with a floppy hat and 200 dollar jeans and a kid that smiles at just the right time while her adoring husband stands in the background. We know that it’s staged. We also hear that it’s “not real.” But one look around our messy house, unkempt children and the reality of a soft belly that might never be flat again is enough to cause us to shrink inside. Too much “influencer” exposure each day might just start to make you feel…invisible.
The world races by while friends accomplish things. Promotions are had by others, everyone is taking extravagant trips, posting amazing pictures online, and where are you in the mix? Just over here cleaning up another juice spill, thank you very much. Your single friends talk excitedly about their goals. “What are yours?” they ask you unexpectedly.
That’s my goal. I just want to sleep. Actually, if you could wake me up when my kid turns 18 that would be just fine. I laugh and say I’m kidding, but inside it’s not too far from the truth.
So where are you in the mix? Motherhood is exhausting. If you’re lucky enough to have a relatively easy child for now, well, perhaps you don’t feel exhausted. We’re all happy for you, believe me! But many moms just feel drained. The comparison game, tied with fatigue or overwhelm, cause many moms to feel invisible, but we’re not. So let’s take a bird’s-eye view for a moment.
You are your child’s world.
They don’t want a mommy who wears a floppy hat in a sunflower field. They like the softness that you have. That belly that carried over from pregnancy is perfect for snuggling. Your scent and your essence is what they crave when big emotions grip them. Your embrace is what they need and seek. Unshowered, imperfect you. Let that sink in for a moment. They’d rather have you than anyone else.
Your heavenly Father sees you and knows you.
Here’s some food for thought: If no one ever affirmed you again on social media, would your heavenly Father’s love and approval be enough? Does our desire to be seen cause us to lean more on Instagram than we should? I want to encourage you to ask Jesus to show you where the moments of reprieve are in your day when you can take a life-giving gulp of his presence.
This can be felt as you take a nap, as you sit quietly in your room, as you listen to a song that you love, or take a walk. The things that nourish you are the desires that he put within you! Snack on Scripture when you can, talk to God as you do dishes, and for the love of everything sacred, stop feeling guilty about the time that you don’t spend with him! There is always a longing for more of Jesus, but guilt is the devil’s ploy to get you into condemnation, and nothing is more exhausting than that. Your times with the Lord will simply look different now than they were before kids. You are not less valuable to God because you have less time to spend with him. Your work as a mom is important. He validates you at every turn. This is a season when he will teach you to hear him in a more profound way than before. It’s an amazing adventure that he wants to take with you!
The flesh and blood people in your life see you and know you.
These are the real influencers, after all! If they weren’t, you wouldn’t be close to them. They don’t influence what brands you buy, but rather they walk on the road of life beside you. They’ve earned your trust and love; they’ve seen you on good days and bad days and have a beautiful thing called perspective. Ask them for the perspective you need and let the reality of what they say sink in.
As someone who has observed pre-internet relationships and post-internet relationships, I can tell you that a vague post on social media may garner some sympathy, but it doesn’t seem to really solve the problem. It is, after all, a passive form of communication with passive results that may leave you feeling even more empty and unnoticed. Instead, I would highly encourage you to reach out to a friend or a group of friends – the kind whose phone numbers you have – and humbly state how they can help. If you don’t know what you need (and I’ve legitimately been there), tell them that too (or mention it to your therapist) so they can help you gain clarity.
The bottom line is that we all need people who can be invited into the vulnerable parts of our lives so we can see the miracles God is working out in our lives together! Whether or not our issue ever makes it onto social media platforms is beside the point. Invisibility fades as we are known by the right people. Influence happens in living rooms as we process life together in small groups. And maybe someday a friend will snap a picture of you in a sunflower field with a big straw hat, looking wild and happy and free. And perhaps the lighting won’t be quite right and your kids are faced the wrong way but you’ll know deep in your bones that none of it is staged and that you’re loved and seen by the people who matter the most.
Tami Glendenning is a wife to Jonathan and mom to Ian, Max and Ben. She is also a piano teacher, crafter and avid book reader.