Motherhood is often such a lonely ride.
Do you often feel like you’re the only one who really understands what you’re going through? That’s because it’s the truth. You are the only person who can understand what it feels like each day to cope in your household. You are the only one who knows what your children are going through, what your relationship with your partner is like, what challenges you may be facing, how you are all coping with certain situations.
People can see the short moments in time and make a judgement on a whole array of things. They may see you finally snap and yell at your child and assume you’re a “yeller” when they haven’t seen the thousands of times you calmly tried to ask your child to stop doing something before that moment. They may see you scrolling on your phone and assume you don’t pay any attention to your children or your partner but they don’t see the hours upon hours before this where you felt you had NO time to yourself and you are relishing a moment to catch up on things, OR that you are using every minute of your day to catch up on bills or work emails. Someone may see you buy takeaway for dinner and think you must be doing ok with money but not have any idea that you might just be trying to treat your family to one luxury for the week but it means you have to let other things go to make that happen.
These days, people subconsciously rely on social media to keep in touch with people. Because we have seen a post on Facebook, it sort of ticks the box that we are up to date with someone's life, which means there becomes less of a need to actually check in on someone. It also means that assumptions are made whether we realise it or not. A photo someone shares of their ‘perfect looking’ family is a split second in time. You can’t see the agony it took to get everyone dressed and out the door to that event you saw them at, you can’t see the anxiety someone is feeling trying to hide certain parts of themselves behind someone else, you can’t see the teeth grinding with stress behind it all.
In the moments when you do finally get to talk to someone, how do you even begin to explain certain things? Someone may roll their eyes at you when you say you’re struggling with a child that won’t listen but they have no idea just how serious the situation is. Or if you tell someone your kids constantly make mess and they assume you just mean they leave toys out, but it could really mean that parts of your home are literally being destroyed. You can say you’re tired but that could mean you’re suffering from severe insomnia or coping with a child who is constantly waking during the night with anxiety.
The last thing you need when you do finally get to have that conversation is for someone to think they know it all and shove their advice down your throat or for someone to gloss over everything you’ve said because they assume you’re just handling it all so well, or to feel like nobody understands you.
As mothers, we need to remember that we are all juggling a million things. We are all living in our own worlds and we are all often exhausted! Sometimes when you tell someone you’re exhausted or you’re struggling, you just need to say it without feeling like you have to explain why.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it was recently when someone reached out to me and told me they actually noticed how much effort I had been putting in lately. That instead of just scrolling on by or “liking” a post on social media, they actually contacted me directly to tell me that.
We don’t have to feel so lonely because we really are doing this together and it’s so important to remember that the mother you are speaking to may also be feeling misunderstood or just as exhausted as you but just can’t muster up the energy to explain it all.
Let’s not make this feel like such a lonely ride. Let’s try to remember to reach out and let each other know that we are ‘seen’ and cared for.