Operation FreeMom: Sharing the Hard Stuff
This is the third in the Operation:FreeMom series. Start here to catch up!
As a parent of three kids, I’ve experienced quite a few things that surprised me: being bit while nursing, fizzy poo (it’s a thing, I promise), and poltergeist-like puke, to name a few. Each time, I am shocked and often, a little scared. I would often google it or ask another mom if they’ve experienced it. And over time, it goes away or becomes normal.
But, some things our kids do are different. Certain things might have a stigma attached. I might feel like a bad parent if another mom finds out. I’m worried that they might look at me or my child differently.
So, what do we do in these situations? We keep it inside. We don’t talk about it. We stew in our worries about our child without asking for help.
I’ve wrestled with something about my child for awhile. I have talked to doctors about it. I’ve googled it. I’ve prayed. I’ve worried. But I didn’t want to talk to other moms. I was scared.
Then one day, I decided to bring it up. I was with three other moms, only one of which I see regularly. For some reason, it felt safe. So, I casually mentioned, “My child is a head banger.” I said it. It came out of my mouth. Seconds passed and I was okay. One mom asked what that was. I guess it did sound weird. “Well, when she is falling asleep or waking up, she bangs her head on her pillow and sometimes cries at the same time.” I didn’t want to share too many details but I wanted to make it clear that she wasn’t banging her head on the wall or her crib and only did it while sleeping or falling asleep. I didn’t want them thinking worse of her than they must be already.
But then the best thing happened. One mom said in the most casual way, “Oh, I was a head banger!” Relief. Seriously? She shared more about it and I realized something: if I don’t share, I might miss out on some real insight. I am so thankful for that other mom! I left with such a peace about it that the random search results on the internet and the advice from the doctor couldn’t give me. And she taught me something:
Moms, we all face crazy stuff as parents. We might have something totally awkward happen in public. We might have an incident occur that catches us off guard. We might see signs of a disability and wonder what to do. Or we might have a child with a continuous habit and we wonder if it will ever end. But, if we don’t share, we miss out.
We need other moms. We need to share our issues. We share our joys and our milestones, but the stuff that’s hard? Well, it’s harder to share. But sharing shines a light on it. It brings hope. We find relatability. And, it makes us more real.
Not everything is Sunshine and Rainbows. Motherhood can be hard. But, that’s why we have other moms. That’s why we can be real with each other. And, you know what? When you share, you probably grow closer as friends. And make it possible for other moms to share their hard stuff.
Have you shared anything that was hard? Is there something you need to talk about to another mom and have yet to do it? I challenge you to be real about it. I bet it would benefit you both.
Read the previous Operation: FreeMom post here.