Who hasn’t heard those famous words, “What we have here…is a failure to communicate.” Those words echoed my struggle to understand my babbling two year old. Like her mommy, she is very strong-willed, and prone to temper tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants (OK, maybe I don’t do that last one!) When I misunderstood her grunts and gesturing, the fallout could be astronomical. She would scream and cry, tears running down her face as those blue eyes glared at me and silently accused me of breaking her tiny heart. Sometimes, I’d almost be in tears myself.
“What do you want?” I’d beg. “Just tell me what you want.”
In my social life I have run into a similar issue with women. We use words, but aren’t always honest with one another. When I first had my second daughter, I had two children twenty months apart. Both girls were in diapers, I was waking several times at night, only to have to wake up early in the morning with my oldest daughter. Dark circles under the eyes became a familiar sight staring back at me in the mirror.
On a rare occasion that we finally got out, an acquaintance asked me, “So, how are things?” She has two daughters of her own, and her smile was perky, her makeup flawless.
“Chaotic,” I replied, suppressing a yawn.
Her wide grin froze. “Good chaotic or…” She didn’t even finish the sentence, and I got the feeling that I was making her uncomfortable.
“Chaotic,” I repeated, unable to vocalize the intensity of my feelings.
With a helpless shrug of her shoulders, her perfect smile back in place, she left. I felt like I was hemorrhaging my feelings onto the floor that night. Couldn’t she see how much I was hurting? A little voice in my head kept saying, Other women are doing this, why can’t you? Maybe you weren’t meant to be a mother.
Any of you with children know how much those thoughts hurt me. I love my children more than anything, so why was I having such a hard time taking care of them?
How do they do it? You know who I am talking about: those moms who seem to juggle multiple kids, school schedules, extracurriculars and still have spotless homes and serve healthy, inexpensive meals, all the while wearing the latest fashions and beautiful makeup. Everyone knows one. Am I the only one who asks herself why can’t I be like that?
Ironically, the same girl a week later acknowledged that she has problems with letting people know the “real” her. Why do we do that? An article of mine on this site discussed the hectic duties of parenthood, and so many people responded with, “Thank you, I needed to hear this” or “Thanks for putting this out there”. Why are we so afraid to be honest about our struggles? Do we feel that it makes us less of a parent? That we’re admitting to failure? This has got to stop. We need to be able to share with each other, and to uplift others.
This is my challenge to you, ladies. In the name of sisterhood, let’s help each out. Let’s embrace the craziness, acknowledge the difficulties of motherhood, and be there for fellow moms who need a few kind words. It might just make a world of difference.