Social media and I have a love/hate relationship. Since I have been on maternity leave, I have spent a lot of time scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to pass the hours while comforting my newborn who has yet to take up sleeping at night. While social media does keep me extremely entertained, at times it also makes me feel extremely inadequate.

Everyone splashes their beautiful family pictures, work out selfies and Pinterest birthday parties all over the internet. I have done this too: my child’s first birthday was a fabulous fiesta, and I always choose the best picture to post on social media; I work out, and I have posted about it on Facebook.


One evening, I was sitting in my car in the drive-thru at McDonald's and my 2-year-old was screaming “FRENCH FRIES!” from his car seat at a volume that could only be described as ear-splitting. It was the end of a really long work day, and his heckling was hard to ignore. Since the McDonald's lines in my city move very slowly, my car was in park, I decided to peruse Instagram. One of my friends was at New York Fashion Week, sitting at the show of a very well-known designer and posting pictures of the latest fashion trends...She was at Fashion Week. In New York. And, I was in the drive-thru at a McDonald’s. In Kentucky. With a toddler in the backseat screaming about fried potatoes.

I literally laughed out loud when I realized that crying wouldn’t make me feel any better. That’s when I decided it was time to write about real life.

Because it’s okay to show the hard side of life and being a parent and to admit that we don’t always do it perfectly.

Expectations for a modern parent are so high, and there are so many things we are supposed to do, like:

• Have a successful career while being a great free-range, non-helicopter parent

• Throw Pinterest-worthy parties with homemade piñatas that look like Minions or Moana

• Attend other Pinterest-worthy parties

• Actually remember to bring gifts to those parties

• Keep a clean house

• Pay the bills and keep the family on a balanced budget

• Have a hobby that involves something more than wine or napping

• Do the laundry and iron things so your family actually has clean clothes

• Attend church in those ironed clothes

• Drink protein shakes and work out 3-5 times a week

• Volunteer

• Garden, and join a garden club, and attend the monthly meetings during your lunch break

• Sign up your kids for at least three extra-curricular activities a year, and coach at least one of them or be team mom

• Hand out juice boxes and orange slices after these activities

• Have informed political opinions

• Replace all cleaning products with non-GMO -HPA -BTC -RGU -TMP products that could be safely consumed by your baby, if your house was not already completely baby proofed

• Wear the latest fashion trends and full makeup at all times

• Attend hot yoga without sweating

• Enjoy every moment with your kids and take them to the zoo or some sort of festival every weekend to make memories

• Learn to be a minimalist

• Never get sick

• Always be on time

• Be more like Joanna Gaines in every way possible

• Not complain about any of the above

What I am trying to say is, don’t let what people post on social media get you down. Remember it isn’t real life. It is the highlight reel of everyone else’s lives. Never let it make you feel inadequate. Because you are an amazing mom for so many more reasons—

Even if your favorite TV show is Bachelor in Paradise and you were really upset when you thought it might actually be canceled this summer.

Even if your house is not open-concept with a farmhouse sink and shiplap and a handmade kitchen table made by a man named Clint.

Even if you have never tried one craft you pinned on Pinterest.

Even if the last time you attended Pilates class was six years ago, and you fell off one of those really big stability balls you are supposed to sit on.

Even if you still clean your house with Windex and Lysol.

And to all the moms who are accomplishing any of the items listed above, you are rocking it. For real. I wish I could manage it all, but I can’t. And that’s okay. Because I’m doing the best I can, and I’m pretty proud of myself for it.

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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