One of my best friends is also a mommy blogger. In fact, she’s the one who inspired me to start blogging. I could write a whole post about how awesome she is, but one of the many things that I love about our friendship is that we are always inspiring one another.
Yesterday she published a post titled Mamas Need Selfies Too, and managed to inspire me once more. She’s challenging her fellow mamas to post a selfie on Instagram this week with the hashtag #mamasneedselfiestoo because too many of us hide behind our kids in pictures because we’re embarrassed of our uniform of yoga pants, messy ponytails, and spit up. We’re especially embarrassed of our worn and torn bodies that are forever soft where our sweet babes were formed. Our society preaches that beauty looks like toned abs, flawless makeup, and perfect carefree curls (which actually take a good hour and are anything but carefree). So we use our adorable kids as shields to hide our weak spot–our insecurity about our bodies.
But the truth is–beauty does not come from a bottle of mascara; it glows from our hearts that overflow with love for our babies. Jesus taught that the most beautiful thing is laying down one’s life for another. By that definition, mothers are the fairest ones of all. We put ourselves aside in order to take care of our kids, and the King of Kings says that that is beautiful . And that’s good enough for me.
When we lived in California, I was taking classes at our church. We only had 2 kids at that time, but Ary was a very difficult baby. I was lucky to get through 20 minutes before the nursery called me to get her because she was screaming the whole time. I would always end up sitting with her on the floor in the back, trying to pay attention to the study while playing with her. I even had to take the midterm while I was nursing her, because she was teething at the time and nursing around the clock. One night I was feeling a bit defeated; I was tired and worn out, and in desperate need of a break. I wondered why I kept trying when I knew that Ary would never allow me to get through an entire evening uninterrupted. How much was I actually able to absorb when I had to listen with one ear every time because I had to play with my high maintenance child in the back? Was I being a distraction to everyone else who was there trying to grow in God? It was becoming really exhausting, and I felt like giving up.
My thoughts were interrupted when the pastor asked us to try an exercise: sit in silence with our eyes closed, and ask God to reveal Himself to us. Then, we were challenged to ask God how He sees us. I was so broken in that moment, that I came before God with no reserves and a heart that was completely open to Him. When I asked Him to show me how He sees me, I saw myself holding my daughters and twirling around in a field. I was wearing a blue shirt that I wore frequently and I looked as I always did: slightly frizzy hair, glasses, and no makeup. But–I was so happy. I had the biggest smile on my face and I could actually see the happiness radiating out of me in a brilliant yellow glow. All of the unkempt hair, dark circles, and soft spots got swept away in that glow, and I truly was beautiful. That’s how God sees me, and it’s how He sees you too.
As a mother of 3 girls, I am very mindful of instilling self-confidence in them. I tell them how beautiful they are every day, because I know that all too soon someone is going to tell them that they aren’t good enough. But I know that telling them to be confident in themselves isn’t good enough; I have to show them what confidence and true beauty looks like. If you’re a mother to a son, then you have to show them what true beauty is, so that they will grow up with a respect for women and not fall into the trap of only valuing her looks. So I will accept my friend’s challenge to tackle my fear of not being good enough, and post a selfie. I will not hide behind my kids. I will show you me, in all my imperfect glory.
I would love for you to join us. Because you are beautiful.
I know that those dark circles are a product of taking care of the sick kid all night, and that is beautiful.
I know that your hair is in a ponytail again because you spent all of your time getting the kids decked out in their awesome rainbow tutu, Frozen shirt and neon leggings that they’re rocking, and that is beautiful.
I know that your body may not look like what it used to, but you created life inside that soft tummy, and that is beautiful .
You are beautiful.
So sometime this week, take a picture by yourself and post it on Instagram. Tag my friend @andifranklin and myself @ajonsson31 with the hash tag #mamasneedselfiestoo and let us remind you of how beautiful you are. Then search the hash tag and comment on another mama’s picture, so that we might encourage one another. This challenge isn’t just for young moms; you are still a mom, no matter how old your children become. Grandmas and great-grandmas, you survived the trenches of motherhood and stuck around for grandkids. You are BEAUTIFUL! I want to see you too. If anyone doesn’t have an Instagram, head over to my friend’s Facebook page and post your picture there.
This is me. I’m in sweats and though you can’t see it, there’s spit up on my shirt. I most definitely am not wearing make up and my hair is not only uncombed, it is also in a messy bun. But I have brushed my teeth. I have been taking care of Ary all day, because she is on day 3 of a stomach bug. Oh, and I was nursing when I took these pictures. Nursing in my dark room, where Ary is FINALLY napping. I’m going to have to sit in here to keep an ear out for any more diarrhea because diapers don’t do well with liquid poop. But even though it may seem like the most unimportant work ever, it’s actually the most important work.
And that is beautiful.
I love you, all of my fellow mamas! I sincerely do.