Have you ever walked around your house for hours but don’t know what you’ve done?
Have ever you felt completely overwhelmed, trapped inside a house with sick children, hoping the sun would shine, just for you today? Feeling alone?
Are there lurking fears in your head that all you will do this week, and the next, and the next, is clean up spit up, vomit, and messy diapers?
You’re Feeling alone, but you’re not.
I experienced post-partum depression with three out my four children.
After Child #1, I thought life would never be the same again.
After Child #2, I learned a new normal, and it was springtime, so all was well.
After Child #3, the simple life with two children was no more, and after Child #4, I thought I was going to go over the edge.
One school age, one in preschool, a sick toddler and a baby? In the middle of a winter that went on forever. For real?
Some people called it “The Baby Blues.” I heard whispers in the corners as tears fell from my eyes when the choir sang.
“Overwhelmed, weak, fragile, not-doing-so-well” seemed to be plastered on my forehead. Or so I thought.
I felt alone.
As I looked around at other moms of various ages and stages, they seemed put-together and strong, able to manage children, home, lunch money and diapers fairly easily. They looked like they had showered recently, and probably had a casserole in the oven. I wasn’t sure if we had anything in our pantry other than macaroni and cheese.
I felt afraid.
Afraid I was failing the test. The parenting test. “F” was printed on my chest, feeling like a woman marked with failure. I wondered if anyone else felt this way.
As I’ve spoken with other moms over the years raising toddlers to teenagers, common themes I’ve found among them are insecurity, fear, vulnerability, and feeling alone. A group of moms I recently spoke with identified the image of the “ideal mom” as being perfect, patient, soft spoken, having well-behaved children, and being busy.
A tall order, but real expectations. So what if that’s not you?
You’re feeling alone…
In my journey from parenting toddlers to teenagers, there have been moments I’ve been far from the ideal.
I’ve been impatient, not-so- soft-spoken, and my children have often failed the well-behaved test.
I have ranked high in the “busy” category. Being busy provides some sort of redeeming value to an otherwise botched life as a mom. I excel at being busy. How about you?
Feeling alone, I’ve walked in hard places. I’ve seen the same fear, loneliness, and insecurity I‘ve felt in the eyes of other moms. As I’ve risked being real with other women, I’ve received the gift of tears from moms who have realized they are not alone in their secret room of guilt, insecurity, or feelings of failure.
Kids don’t come with instruction books, but neither do mothers. The glow of motherhood is marred with dents, scratches, and tire marks. But each step we take in forgiving ourselves and giving grace to each other helps us in parenting the best we can. Where do you need to give yourself grace? Feeling alone, where do you receive encouragement from others?