Listening to Glennon’s podcast today, I heard her quote another author, Ashley Ford.
We are never going to be OK if we don’t talk about what hurts.
It was something that has my soul yelling – YES! because I have always hoped to be authentic in my writing. I try to live by authenticity. It has always been my goal to share the ugly parts of my life as well as the triumphs.
Maybe this quote struck me because of something personal I’ve been going through this past year. I’m not ready to talk about that hurt just yet, but I AM writing about it and tucking it away for a day when I’m ready to be fully healed and OK.
But, today I thought about all the mothers suffering silently through what hurts about modern motherhood.
I know there are women out there fighting lots of invisible battles that we don’t see. I know there is pain in motherhood. I know the expectations are astronomical. The ones we put on ourselves and the ones that society puts on us.
The worst part is that I know full well, that society also has created a culture in many ways where we aren’t allowed to talk about what hurts. Especially when it involves raising our favorite humans on the planet.
I hope that mothers all over the planet can live as their authentic selves though despite that and will own the beauty in motherhood and the pain it can cause, too.
I believe that you can set yourself free by talking about the hard and talking about what hurts.
This week, my daughter got her learner’s permit to drive. She had downloaded an app on her phone, studied for the exam herself, and I was skeptical that she was going to pass. As I sat at the DMV, I watched as another teen came out from the exam area with tears in her eyes and cried to her own mama that she didn’t pass.
I gulped. What if my daughter didn’t pass? What would I say? How would I console her?
But, she came out with a smile, and learner’s permit in hand and drove herself to a friend’s house (with me in the passenger seat) like she was born to be a driver.
I wasn’t ready for that. I looked over at her in the driver’s seat and snapped a picture. She had the biggest smile on her face. She was proud. She had earned it, and honestly – I was terrified.
I was terrified because I love her so much and the thought of this next step in her life (and mine) is full of big emotions. Thoughts of did I do enough? Is she ready for this? Why do they have to grow up!?
The milestones are a wonderful blessing, but sometimes they are the part of motherhood that hurts the most.
Watching your kids break free is hard. It hurts your heart even though you know that they need it, and so do you.
But, there are so many other aspects of motherhood that hurt, too. So much that we don’t talk about for fear of being shamed, judged, or told they aren’t doing it quite right.
I think motherhood brings a lot of hurt that we tuck away into the deep recesses of our souls because sometimes acknowledging them seems like defeat. Like we are admitting that we weren’t meant to be mothers, when in fact, we totally were.
I know that sometimes my anxiety can take me to a dark place quickly when I think about the hurts.
I hurt when I think about my own inadequacies. I hurt when I think that I made a mistake that my put my child in therapy one day. I hurt to think about the pain my children go through because of me.
I hurt when they hurt.
I struggle to find myself in motherhood and feel guilty that I’m not one of those moms that is totally fulfilled by being a mom.
I hurt when I think about my kids being left out. I hurt when they struggle with their own anxiety and depression.
I hurt watching them struggle through something. I hurt when I leave them on their own to figure it out.
I’m a firm believer though that we need to talk about our motherhood hurts so that we’re OK.
No, this doesn’t mean that every mother should make all of her trials and struggles public. But, it does mean that maybe we need to say out loud more that this motherhood thing can hurt us.
It can hurt our egos.
It can hurt our ambition.
It can hurt our children when we make mistakes and don’t own them.
It can hurt our mental health.
It can hurt our bodies.
And, the way to heal and be the best mothers that we can be is by saying out loud that motherhood is sometimes not the greatest. It’s certainly not for everyone either.
Maybe you tell a friend, your own mama, a therapist, or your partner. Maybe you tell your journal, or maybe you just tell your OWN SOUL that yes, the hurt is there, but yes, you’re doing it and it’s going to be OK.
Encourage the part of yourself that is imperfect and hurting to love and accept the whole of who you are anyway. That’s where we start to accept the impossibility of motherhood.
Because it’s an impossible job that we fumble through as we are still growing and some of us (ahem, me) are still trying to mother ourselves.
Motherhood is going to hurt. There is no changing that.
But, the hurt can be healed as we accept the parts of us that can’t do it perfectly. And admit out loud that it’s OK if we don’t.