It was 4am and I was in my 6 month old daughters bedroom for what seemed to be about the 18th time that night. She just wouldn’t stay asleep no matter what I did. She would settle for a second, and then she would start crying all over again. It was a cycle that seemed to just keep repeating itself, over and over and over.
I was so tired. This was at least the third night in a row that this was happening. My body didn’t seem to even be working properly anymore. I was so tired. I remember actually considering throwing her at the wall. For real. Instead, I laid her on the floor, leaned back in the chair and the two of us cried for the next 30 minutes. Once I was able to catch my breath, I picked her up and rocked her some more. But at that moment, I truly understood how people just “lose it” and do something they so don’t mean to do. Thankfully, I NEVER got to that place, but I could totally see how it happens.
I loved my little girl more than anything in this world, but my mind and my body were failing me. Why wasn’t I able to soothe her? Why in the world would these horrible thoughts even enter my brain? Why was I such a bad Mother?
For the longest time, I was convinced that I was the only one living that. The only one that came that close to losing their mind. I felt completely alone in my Mommy battles and it seemed like all the other young Mom’s around me were perfect. They were all telling stories about how wonderful things were at home. How their angel babies were the joys of their days. How they were sleeping through the night. How they were such good babies all the time. NO ONE talked about how tough things were. It was only me. I was the only one that wasn’t living a blissful life with my baby.
Looking back now, I know that wasn’t true. I know that they were probably struggling with the same things that I was, but were too scared or ashamed to talk about it. They were more interested in “appearing” to have it all together than to just be honest. Instead of being truthful, we all suffered in silence and worked through things on our own. We had become islands unto ourselves, and even though we were attending Mommy support groups, we were living a lie.
I wish that even one person would’ve been brave enough to say, “this is hard, I am so tired, and I just need to vent”. I wish I would’ve said it and started the conversation that would’ve not only helped me, but helped someone else. I wish that I would’ve had the confidence to trust that someone would understand that I desperately loved my little girl, but that I just needed a friend.
So many times in our lives we get caught up in “being” something else, something that we really aren’t. Our lives aren’t perfect, and yet we quite often pretend like they are. We get so caught up in the Norman Rockwell perfect life image that we forget to really live. We become oppressed by something that doesn’t even exist. We become slaves to a lifestyle that isn’t even attainable, and it can be years before we realize how lost we really are.
I think it’s time for us to all get really honest. Be truthful about what’s going on in your life and quit pretending that everything is perfect. When that pressure goes away, we will find so much freedom. We will be able to just breathe and be. Give yourself permission to not be perfect, and let the people around you know that you’re not expecting that of them either. It’s time to be real with each other.
If you’re having a really bad Mommy moment … talk about it. You will be surprised by how many other Mom’s have been in the exact same place and probably have some advice to share. Or maybe they’ll just give you a hug and share a laugh. Either way, isn’t that better than just suffering alone?
If you can’t afford to go out for coffee or lunch everyday, don’t. If you don’t have a Coach purse, does that really make you less of a person? At some point, you just won’t be able to maintain the image that you’re fighting desperately to keep. The people who you’re trying to impress aren’t going to be there to help you pay your bills. All you’re going to end up as is broke and bitter as you look back on all the “fun” you used to have. It is so not worth it.
If you and your spouse are in a not so great place, tell someone. Odds are good, a minimum of one person in your circle of friends is in the exact same boat. Sometimes, just speaking your concerns out loud are enough to help you get through it. Every relationship has tough times, you don’t need to fight through them alone.
Quit worrying about the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the school that your children attend. Stop joining every club under the sun or attending every meeting because you hope that it will make you more “popular”. A bigger house, a vacation home or an exclusive social club will not make your life complete.
Instead, find what makes you happy and focus on that. No matter where your joy is found, there’s always going to be ups and downs. It’s never going to be perfect, and that’s okay. Be truthful about where you’re at, happy, sad, good and bad. It all makes up your life story, own it.
My story has been very interesting, and I’ve battled through too many things in my life to not allow them to become lessons for others. Each and every day is an opportunity to make a difference in someone elses’ life, and that’s what I plan on doing. Let my imperfections give you permission to just be yourself. And please KNOW that you are never alone in your battles and that there is ALWAYS someone else fighting the same fight.
Say good-bye to your journey to perfect, and hello to Reality. It really is a fabulous place to live.