One of the reasons I started this blog is because of all the random women I meet on a regular basis who confess they feel alone and overwhelmed as they face the challenges of motherhood. This has often been my own story as well. Of course, there are thousands of blogs about mothering. Still, I know there is a place for the Organic Mama Cafe in the blogosphere. It's a place for us to share honest accounts of mothering in a safe space – read: without criticism - and discover others really do feel the same. And while this post is directed primarily at moms, who have their own special kind of guilt, it applies to all of us lucky enough to be breathing at this moment.
It’s not that we don’t adore our kids and love our families. We do. This is not a rant about how terribly hard motherhood is. But, it does bring major change to a woman’s life! Where before children we spent our time earning degrees or managing jobs where we met deadlines and finished projects with definable results, we now spend our time doing the same chores every day (laundry, dishes, wiping bums, wiping snot – there’s a lot of wiping!) with only momentarily discernible progress. Those noses inevitably start running again and those bums just won't stop! No matter how much we love our families, the feeling that life will go on like this forever - exhausting, monotonous and unfinished – can be downright depressing if we let it.
So many times as women, we put on a good show. We get dressed for whatever occasion we’re attending, fix our hair, put on our makeup – and our game face. We hustle our kids out the door - stressed and sometimes angry - because we don't want to be “the mom who’s always late”. We don’t want to admit that maintaining a clean home, raising our kids, being available to our husbands and friends and volunteering at church or in the community while remaining relatively sane is anything but a walk in the park. After all, that mom across the parking lot at school, or church or wherever, seems to be so much more organized and her kids never act up!!
The isolated nature of mothering in our culture has really been on my heart lately. Because of our fast-paced, technology filled, busy schedules, many of us feel alone in our journey. We don't always have support systems like extended family or social groups like churches. And, the truth is, we all have days when we feel discouraged, when our kids throw tantrums and when we just want Calgon to take us away (or some organic, natural version of it - Haha!). For some reason, maybe it's my upbringing, those days often leave me feeling guilty, as though I am failing in my current career choice of homemaking and child-raising. Friends who work outside the home feel the same guilt for leaving every day. And, we've all made or heard others make less-than-complimentary remarks about moms who are doing the opposite of what we've chosen.
Embarrassed by our supposed ineptitude, we often try to hide it or just maintain an unhealthy isolation until our houses, our kids, our lives are "together" enough to allow someone else into the inner sanctum. But, my friends, appearances are deceiving. There is no perfect mom who has it all together. In my experience, those who seem to be "that mom" have their own set of challenges and perceived failures.
The truth is, our fear of failing and being judged as women keeps us from the relationships that might allow us to be stronger, better at our career of choice and more content with who we are as women. In order to be the best versions of ourselves, we need each other. If we wait till we have all that stuff together, we'll never, ever invite anyone in!
What would happen if instead of judging ourselves and each other, we just accepted life as it is and put on a smile anyway, called that friend anyway and gave our tantrum-crazed kid a hug instead of a growl? What kind of incredible, empowered, joyful lives would we find ourselves enjoying?
I believe that this is the kind of life we are supposed to be living.
So, I'm going to keep writing - to let you know you are not alone and, most of all, to remind you of the life you are capable of living!
Thank you for sharing your lives with me. Please keep the emails and comments coming - so other moms can see they are in good company.