We’ve all come across one. You know the advertisement that looks something like this:
Or like this:
Or maybe it wasn’t an advertisement, but a real life person that seemed to embody this image of perfect family, perfect motherhood, perfect marriage. Looking at these ideas and images makes many of us cringe. The idea of a perfect family doesn’t exist, right?
These ideas of a perfect and happy family should not be flooding our lives and even worse, the Internet! At lease this is what many believe. Where the Internet and other media outlets are flooded with “ideal family and marriage”, a typhoon of “refreshing honesty” is saturating these even more. If you’ve been the few, the proud, the Facebookless, then you are most likely unaware of what “refreshing honesty” is. “Refreshing honesty” is exposing all of marriage and family dirty little secrets, a.k.a. complaining in a comical way about relate-able topic. When people first started coming forward with the comments such as “wow, marriage is hard work” or “children can be difficult to deal with”. It was fantastic, novel, and well, refreshing to have people, mostly women, come out and express how hard family life is. People, *cough* women *cough* loved that someone was brave enough to expose the truth and burden of life; this lead to a wildfire burning in the land of social media.
Mommy blogs sprung up everywhere denouncing the perfect family. Soon it wasn’t enough to announce the truth, but satire had to be added into the mix, after all, who wants to read complaining when they can read funny complaining. While many gobble up this humorous form of complaining, and the popularity of such blogs rise, has anyone stopped to see what is happening from this “refreshing honesty”?
While I was pregnant, I was terrified of giving birth. I had watched enough television to know that women in labor lay in a bed and scream and shriek as they bring a giant bundle of gooey ooze into the world (the baby is usually around three or four months old). I was terrified by the whole prospect of that happening to me. I began frantically researched everything I could about birth and pregnancy. After I had brought my beautiful bundle of joy into the world, I had developed a terrible habit of immersing myself in these hilariously relatable written works of wonder.
As regular as my infants diaper changes, I found myself reading at least one of these “informative” blogs during naptime every day. The more I read, the more I learned, the more I felt part of a community. But something else began to happen, more than just the new sense of community. I slowly began to change. I went from the girl who wanted nothing more out of life but to be a loving wife and mother to becoming annoyed at everything my fabulous husband did and bothered by my baby. Luckily, I was able to realize the change in myself and evaluate the cause. I stopped reading the brutally negative blogs and looked to the reasons why I wanted to be a wife and mother in the first place. Soon, I was back to my old self, loving my family.
It wasn’t long before the poison of this new beloved view raised its ugly head in my life again. As I attended my classes, I found the next generation watching us. They had seen our negative outlook on being wives and mothers and decided that was not the life for them. It didn’t affect just the girls either; the boys also saw the negatives of being fathers and husbands. I saw the poison in my friends and family. Many had in some form or another “drank the kool-aid” and now their family was suffering.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is very important to be honest. People should know that marriage and parenthood are hard work. They should know that there are hard times. But in this typhoon, something has been lost. The wonderful fulfillment and purpose that family life brings, the sweet moment of watching your baby sleep, the strength found in companionship, all these moments are left out of the negative honesty. By focusing solely on the negative aspects of family life, we only see the negative aspects. We lose sight of the beauty and amazingness of family life.
While images such as these:
Inspire longing for the unachievable perfect family, I would much rather have that than the constant source of negativity that will tear families apart.