Why can’t we all just get real with each other? This is what I have been asking myself lately. Maybe it is because I recently spent a significant amount of time standing outside of church while my friend let me know that she was a terrible mom (so, so not true). Or maybe it is because I recently found the facebook message my sister Emily sent me when I had told her I was fine and three hours later posted on here one seriously hot mess. She basically let me know (in a supportive way, Em never comes off as harsh….even when she is trying to be) that it wasn’t okay to fine her to death when I wasn’t feeling so fine.
And perhaps that is why transparency seems like a more natural choice for me. Especially in my personal life. Maybe it was because I was raised in a relatively small house with no TVs in the kids rooms and no basement to retreat to. We had to beg my parents to let us put a free phone in the girls room. Free, they didn’t even have to pay for it. And there was already a phone jack in the room. But this meant that there wasn’t a whole lot that could be hidden. If you were going to break up with your boyfriend, or have a fight with your friends, or feel bad about the zit that was so big is was closing one of your nostrils (seriously, how the heck was I going to hide that one?) everyone in the house knew about it.
So, though I think do have a natural bent to just let it all hang out it was also the way I was raised. And I think that the church suffers miserably when there are people in the pews looking around and fine-ing each other. I think everyone suffers miserably when we aren’t up front about what is going on.
Last night I exchanged a series of facebook messages with a student I had my first year of teaching. This sweet girl had just finished her first year of college and was coming home and transferring to a local school because she is about to have a baby. She expressed some concerns to me, how she was feeling overwhelmed and unsure. How was she going to make good choices for this child when she hadn’t made good ones for herself? How could she separate her feelings of how this baby came about with her feelings for this baby? It was just all so overwhelming for her. And I let her in on the secret, the one people don’t tell you until you are crying in a public place. That is how a lot of us feel.
Being a mom comes with a LOT of weight to it. For me, more weight than wife, more weight than teacher (and I seriously almost cracked under that business). It just feels like as a mom you are supposed to know everything, take care of everything, and be happy about everything all the time. It feels like that but it isn’t like that. It is okay to have complicated feelings…it is a complicated relationship, mother to child. Throw in everyone on the internet’s opinion on breast versus bottle, working versus stay at home, co-sleeping versus crib and you are a basket case. And then you have to wake up every few hours. At 19….I could barely take care of myself…. I just think she needs to know that everyone is struggling. I think it does her a complete disservice for us to run around with a smile on our faces with “fine” coming out of our mouths when we don’t feel like it. I think it does everyone a disservice.