Monday, March 30, 2009

Mothering Through Our Tears

The other night my son was crying endlessly. He was overtired and had an ear infection, he told me as I was soothing him, “Mommy! I just can’t stop crying. My body just wants to cry and cry.” I think every mother can identify with our own bodies, our own hearts, just wanting to cry and cry.

Today I am sad. I am grieving the loss of someone I love and my heart is broken. I cried while unloading and reloading the dishwasher, while making beds, folding the laundry, nursing my baby and even while mopping the pee off the bathroom floor (newly potty-trained boy…need I say more?). I just couldn’t make the tears stop flowing. Still trying to use my chipper and ever-so-happy mommy voice, and going about the normal daily tasks I assumed my kids were somehow not noticing. Around lunch the question was ask, “Mommy why are you crying?” Ugh. Don’t we hate this one moms? Lets see…should I be completely honest? No, that is way too much information. Do I make something up like, “I am sad Elmo is over?” No, blatant lying, can’t be the right answer. Call your dad? Yes! I could pass the buck on this one! No, no, be the adult. I have to deal with this. So I opt for the shortest, most simple, honest answer I could muster: “Mommy is sad.” Of course this statement begged a few more questions which I answered in the same manner. Short and sweet and before I knew it we were sitting at the lunch table discussing who would rather eat someone else’s chewed up pasta…the dog or the baby.

Today’s event will be a blurb on my kids radar that will more than likely not be remembered in any detail, yet I can’t help but feel some level of guilt for burdening them with my tears, for exposing them to my negative energy.

The pressure to always be “on” for your kids can be exhausting but more importantly it can be unhealthy. I have to constantly remind myself that it is okay for my children to see me be human. If our children never see us struggle how will they learn to overcome their own life challenges? More importantly, how will they ever get validation for their own feelings? We must use every experience as an opportunity to set an example for our children. Let them see you live, let them see you cry and let them see you prevail.

Today I will cry. Today I have loved my kids.



Kate said...

I am really enjoying the honesty in your blog. While I am not a mother yet, I can relate as a teacher, needing to fight through your own personal sadness/anger to get through the day for the kids.

Joey said...

I try to hide most of the crying, but not all. Kids are aware of what is going on, just like dogs can tell when the weather is getting bad, kids know you are hurting. I think honestly is the best policy, delicate honestly.

Mary Jane Hays said...

I think our childen are enlightened when we model authenticity for them. They learn to own their emotions, name them, and to engage in the type of responses and outlets we ourselves demonstrate. (May they be consistently healthy responses!) We also do something I believe is equally significant. We invite them to grow their store of an attribute that enlarges their perspective, builds their capacity to engage in positive relationships, and contributes to peace and justice: empathy. When we're sad, we cry. And that's a good thing. And if somehow, you enter into my sadness with me, even if just by relating it in some way to your own past sadness, that's a great thing. Joy, and laughter, will come another day.

Juliana @ Shakti Mama said...

I think this is such a beautiful post. I know I keep saying that, but you really do have such a real way of writing that I love and feel inspired by. For a short while, I think I was afraid to be emotional or express too much emotion in front of Luna. I read a book, Raising Children, Raising Ourselves, that had so many lovely suggestions in it, this being one of them: don't burden children with your own emotions. But you're right, I don't think this is realistic. I think there's a way in which to let our children know that we are in pain, and that it's okay to be in pain once in a while. You're so right; otherwise how will they learn to overcome their own emotions. Of course, I think it's important for us to be strong for them when they need it, but there will undoubtedly be moments when we need to feel vulnerable too.

Much love.

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