I need to preface this blog by saying that I am not writing this today to glorify motherhood. There are plenty of ways to find the beauty in being a mother. I see it in my social media feed every day. It is easy to find beauty in a perfectly staged and filtered glimpse into other moms lives. This leads me to something Dr. Phil said that I had to rewind back 10x to copy down…
“Are you doing what you’re doing today because it’s what you want to do or are you doing what you’re doing today because it’s what you were doing yesterday? We all have a personal truth that we believe when nobody is watching and nobody is listening. Why is that important? Because we generate the results in life we believe we deserve. You compare your personal truth to someone else’s social mask.”
We live in a world that is both powerful (in connection) but detrimental (in substance).
We have these things we tell ourselves every day. They are universal (un)truths that we all end up believing. At the root of them is the feeling of ‘I am not enough’. We live in a world that is both powerful (in connection) but detrimental (in substance). This is the world of social media. At the tips of our hands every day is the confirmation of ‘I am not enough’. Today my best friend told me that one of my best qualities is how supportive I am of others. I often think my purpose in life is connecting and supporting others. This is important because I am not one to outwardly compare myself to others whether in real life or online. I love seeing the lives of others in my news feed — their successes, their joys, their overcoming challenges. However, I know that part of what sucks me in is that it satisfies my ego and validates my narrative. I am aware of it by the things I tell myself everyday. All of those things I tell myself create a ‘story’ that is my life. If these things are always that of ‘I am not enough’, our story is damaged. There is something wrong with us. We begin to chase the better version of ourselves because who we are now, is never quite good enough.
Being a mother has exposed my deepest fears and weaknesses...
In my darkest days, words have been my refuge. If I could tell you the one thing that has given me the most hope in life is knowing that I am not alone in how I feel. The thing I hope to accomplish in my writing is being real with myself and others so that they may also recognize they are not alone. Being a mother has exposed my deepest fears and weaknesses. I was prepared to love and nurture a child but I never realized how I’d have to face the parts of myself I’d much rather avoid. Children do not let you off the hook. It will not always be in what they say but in who they are becoming. When looking at my children, who do I see in them? When I’m willing to be vulnerable and recognize it, it is clear that they’re reflecting back to me who I am. Their insecurities, lack of discipline, lack of boundaries, reactiveness — it is all part of a pattern that begins and ends with the parent. That is a lot of responsibility. The weight of that can often be intimidating. Being a parent is almost as if we’re setting ourselves up for failure because NO ONE HAS THIS FIGURED OUT.
Our healing starts with forgiveness
My core belief is that if we are willing to heal ourselves, we will take away the burden from our children. They will have enough to carry in this life and our baggage should not be one of them. Our healing starts with forgiveness. We have to forgive our parents for the ways in which we felt we needed more from them. We have to forgive ourselves (DAILY) for trying to live up to an unrealistic expectation of who we believe we should be for our children. Because who they need, is for you to be exactly who you are in each moment.
If you asked my kids one of my favorite things to do in the car, they will tell you without hesitation, that I sing and dance my heart out. In my car, I am in another world and it is happy there. One day I was singing a song to the top of my lungs when I looked over and saw my daughter stoically looking ahead. “Do you think I’m silly for singing? I’ll stop if you want.” Knowing damn well I have no harmony.
Daughter: “No, please keep singing. I like it.”
Me: “You like it?”
Daughter: “Yes, I love you just the way you are.”
I cannot tell you what I felt in my heart that day. My daughter isn’t embarrassed or annoyed with my singing. She doesn’t want me to change who I am. The thing that makes me different is the very thing that my daughter loves about me. And further, it is teaching her to love and be comfortable with who she is. But the lessons and breakthroughs in parenthood are not always that easy to share. The parts of being a mother that can be most relatable are also in the obstacles we face every day. The thing that makes us feel like we can overcome them is knowing that someone else has. Instead of judging a mother, lend her an ear (not your voice) or lend her a hand. Let her know that it is perfectly okay to not be okay. Be patient and flexible with her. Chances are she’s running late to meet you for a twice rescheduled coffee date that will probably be cut short because — school pickup. Cut her some slack when you see her child acting out because they don’t get their way — sometimes it’s just easier to give in. We’re all tired. We’re all doing the best we can. Even when we feel it isn’t enough.
I have held my falling tears more times than I’d like to admit...
My mom set the bar high. I thought being a mother would come naturally to me because of the relationship I have always had with her. There were things I thought I would ‘do better’ as a parent because there was a sense of lack in that growing up. The other side of that are the expectations I’ve put on myself trying to live up to her. I asked my mom one day “how did you make it look so easy?” (being a mom, of course) to which she replied, “baby, I didn’t have all the distractions that you have today. All I had was being a mom and it’s all I wanted.” I am not my mom though. Being a mom is the hardest thing in the entire world. It’s rewarding, excruciating, debilitating, soul expanding. I have been on my knees in despair, I have held my falling tears more times than I’d like to admit — often in the most inconvenient places because the thought of letting my children down can bring me to tears instantly, regardless of where I am. I try to remember that it is in those worn down and broken places that I see the most significance. It is in those moments that often feel unbearable that breakthroughs occur.
Be honest with yourself. Be willing to bring those shadows to light. It is only when you are aware of them that you can begin the process of healing.
Be honest with your children. They are smarter than you think they are. Do not deceive your children into thinking that life is always happy. Let them see you being a REAL, FEELING human. Help them understand how to navigate through emotions. Teach them that their weaknesses are only an opportunity to grow. They won’t learn from your words but your actions.
Share your story. Give people hope...
Be honest with others. For real. The people I am most drawn to and intrigued by are those who are not afraid to show the HARD SHIT. Because we all have it. Life is not all Snapchat filters and catchy Instagram captions — as much as we’d love for it to be. Let people know that it’s okay to be human. Give people space without judgement to be themselves and moreover LOVE them for who they are. Share your story. Give people hope. Someone shares your grief, your suffering, your frustrations, your insecurities. That kind of power is infinite and what is at the core of each and every one of us. Beyond being mothers, we are people trying to figure out this crazy world. We are all in this together, momma.
Happy Mother’s Day!