In the movie Sex and the City 2, there is a wonderfully honest scene between two mothers. If you are familar with the movie you may know what I am talking about, if you haven’t seen it here is a link to a clip.
I bring this up because today I called my grandma to have a real talk about mommyhood. Some days are hard, they really are, and the last thing a mom needs is her “support” being unsupportive. For instance you have the “When you did something like that I just beat the crud out of you”, thanks dad your advice will forever be NOT helpful. Or the super mom in law that doesn’t understand because if she was raising your kids they would ALWAYS be angels, it’s totally great that while you were a mom sunshine and rainbows oozed out of every pore and your children never misbehaved or drove you crazy. Or the people who remind you how lucky you are, count your blessings, etc. None of those types is helpful to me, I refuse to hit my kids, I don’t have rainbows falling out of my mouth, and while I adore my children and know I am lucky to be there mom I don’t think it’s healthy to “pretend” everything is okay when it’s not.
Anyway, when I need an ear I go to grandma, she had three kids spaced out the same as mine, she understands better then most people. I vented a little, said “When I had my oldest a friend said “Once you are a mom, you realize why animals sometimes eat their young” and I do grandma if they don’t stop screaming I will eat my own ears”. Obviously I’m not going to go all Van Gogh on myself, and my grandma knows that, and laughed as she understood completely. She told me, “There are days when you just need to be honest and say “THIS IS HARD”, but unfortunately if you say that, or ask for help people start to sneak. They look for ways to point out how you are failing as a parent and how they are just swooping in to save the day, that isn’t supportive, that’s the worst thing someone could do. There is no village raising a child, there never was, there is you, alone, and the only way that will ever change is if we take down the judgments and just be honest.” Go grandma, you rock, and she is right.
The above clip really shows, at least in my mind, how mothers can sometimes feel. We so want to be mothers, and then once we are when life isn’t constant sunshine we feel guilty. What’s worse is other people, just scrolling through the comments on the page a few jumped out at me, as they always do, the one saying that other people have it harder, the super mom who pukes sunshine and doesn’t know why anyone would admit to having a hard time, the mom who works and thinks stay at home moms are useless. GO HUMANITY! We can’t even support each other in parenthood?
I have a challenge for you, next time a mom comes to you broken, don’t break her more. When my friend Stacy had an unwanted pregnancy I was a few weeks along, I had been told I was having a miscarriage, then I didn’t, and I was told there was a baby but there was little movement and I had yet to hear the heartbeat myself. I was a bit of a wreck, but so was Stacy, she didn’t want to be a mom, and she vented her frustrations to me. I listened to her, I remembered feeling those feelings at times, maybe not as extreme as she felt, but I understood. While my gut sometimes said “How lucky she is and she doesn’t know it”, my head said “You’ve been there, be her support now even if your situation is different”. That’s what I was, and later Stacy thanked me, I was her only friend that she felt safe talking to, I didn’t treat her like a monster for not wanting her baby. I shared my feelings, my trials, my triumphs, and she appreciated it and now not a day goes by that my facebook feed doesn’t have a picture of her baby. Stacy is in love with her child now, but she knows I will always be here for her to be honest with if she needs it.
So let’s all take a sip and be honest.