“Regardless of who we are, how we were raised or what we believe, all of us fight hidden, silent battles against not being good enough, not having enough and not belonging enough. When we find the courage to share our experiences and the compassion to hear others tell their stories, we force shame out of hiding, and end the silence.” – Brené Brown
Alright, mamas – here I am, being vulnerable, sharing my experience in the hopes of forcing shame out of hiding. I know we all have an inner dialogue telling us good things and bad things. The other weekend I felt overwhelmed and I am hoping to end the silence by sharing.
The other weekend I felt like I did a crappy job as a mom. On paper, it looked good. I took the kids to make a craft at Home Depot. I felt overwhelmed at moments frustrated at others – I kept it together…until we got to the car. I always fall apart in the car! It is amazing to see what my kiddos created in a few minutes, how hard they worked, and how proud they were of their accomplishment. And yet this driving force within me for them to “behave in public” is always just under the surface.
We headed home for lunch and then to the county sportsplex for a friend’s birthday party. Here’s where I start to feel more overwhelmed by my expectations of my children. Play nice. Please don’t hurt anyone. Calm down. Drink water. Use your manners. Be kind. Please don’t throw a tantrum. My inner voice rambles on and on and on. I look around and all the other mothers seem so relaxed, and I wonder why I am the only one on the sidelines freaking out?
After multiple tantrums, no one wanting to eat “this pizza”, asking for treats and treat bags repeatedly, reminding kids not to hit in the face with the blow-up lightsabers – it’s time to go. I’m packing up all the gear and turn around to no kids – they’ve left without me. Awesome – feeling like a crappy mom who lost her kids at the sportsplex. Rushing. Worrying. Can’t see them. Where are they? Finally, catch sight of them on the main stairs trying to use their new slinkies. Relieved, but only for a moment until the slinkies start being whipped through the air. Holy man, please don’t hurt someone or take out your own eye!
Put on kids coats, hats, boots. Please focus and do up your coat! Where are my shoes? Trying to put them on. Please stop fighting! What did I step in? Why is my sock wet? Do I have my phone? No, you can’t have any more candy. Remembering to auto-start the car – crap, it doesn’t work from so far away. Round up kids. Stop fighting, honestly! Walk outside into the cold, -26 degrees Celsius (-14.8 degrees Fahrenheit) plus windchill. Everyone is freezing and complaining. Heads down, hang on, walk quickly, don’t doddle. Caleb asks me what doddling means?
Finally, get to the car. No, don’t kick other cars – even if it’s nice to take the icicles off! Why does it take so long to crawl into the car and sit in your car seat? Trying to manage the buckles while the freezing wind whips through me. Finally, we are all strapped in, but I can’t feel the tips of my fingers. Why don’t I wear mittens? I want to debrief – good moments, bad moments, we need to use more manners, etc. Kids just want to watch a movie and play with everything in the goodie bag. I don’t think they’ve heard anything I said.
The roads are horrible. Anxiety rising a little. The thought enters my mind – Jay could lose his whole family today if I make one wrong move on these roads during the drive home. Such a big responsibility it is to be a mom, to be a wife.
Slinky starts being whipped around in the car. I should have thought of that before I got on the highway – crap! Asking multiple times for it to be put away as not safe and very distracting on such bad roads. No action – slinky keeps whipping around. Hit my breaking point and scream. Awesome, now I’m a really shitty mom. Caleb says I hate them. Great. Try to explain, but I don’t think anyone can hear what I’m trying to say. Emotions high all around. Focus on staying safe and on the road. Smiling on the outside – faking it as I tell myself I’m not a bad mom over and over, holding back tears.
Get home and ask for kids to get along – please no more fighting. Five minutes and someone is crying. No patience left, more yelling, kids into separate rooms with toys to play quietly before supper.
I need to be alone and have a quiet moment to myself. Go to the bathroom only to find my monthly visitor has graced me with her presence – argh! Maybe that explains my lack of emotional intelligence today? Olivia comes in. I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed and vulnerable while sitting on the toilet. I just need a minute alone – please. Please go back to your room. Her eyes well up. I’m failing hard at this mom gig today. F*$^!!!
The rest of the evening goes fine. Extra books and songs and kisses at bedtime. Try to explain why I had a hard day. Caleb keeps saying I don’t like him and I think he’s stupid. How did that get into his head? Breaks my heart. He makes up a song about rockets. I tell him how much he means to me. Tomorrow is a new day where we all have a chance to be better, try harder.
Dinner with Jay. Catch up with Mama Coach clients. Feel like a hypocrite. Clean the kitchen. Text with girlfriends. Jay and I make our way downstairs to watch a movie – we choose, “Two Popes”. When we reach the point in the movie about sins and forgiveness, I finally break down and let out all of the tears I’ve been holding back all day. Why is it so hard to forgive yourself, accept that we aren’t perfect, and move forward?
I wish I had more patience, more understanding. I wish 100% of the time I was able to use all of the parenting strategies I’ve read and learned about in class, and that I teach to other parents! I wish I never raised my voice and could laugh and smile no matter what I am presented with on my journey as a mother. But let’s face it, this mom gig can be hard at times – and that’s okay.
Being a mom is also amazing and filled with limitless joy and unconditional love. Practicing gratitude for my two beautiful children and knowing how blessed I am to have them in my world, to hold me accountable and help me become a better human. Figuring out how I can manage my emotions better – change my expectations of them, and most of all myself.
We are all doing our best with what we have. Tomorrow is a new day. A new opportunity to be a better version of ourselves. To practice forgiveness and understanding that it is okay to not be perfect. Thank you for reading my story.
Please feel free to share your vulnerability and tag a mama who is doing their best ❤️
“Vulnerability is not about winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up even when you can’t control the outcome.” – Brené Brown