I met with a wonderful mom today.
I’d like to give you some back story because it’s important you know how I met her. My son started preschool in the spring of last year. Putting my son in programs always made me feel a little self-conscious. I was always nervous to meet new moms because of past experiences. You can read my blog post about that here. There were a lot of moms at this preschool and because I read energy very well I kind of had a sense of who I might want to get to know and who I should steer clear of. This particular mom seemed so kind and sweet. She came with the energy of togetherness. There was always a smile on her face, a kind hello, and her child was absolutely wonderful. I had a good feeling, but I just plugged along – casual hellos and talk about the weather was as far as we got.
Let’s talk about my son’s third year of life for a minute. Let’s just say I wasn’t ready, not even by a long shot. My son was a sweet angel. We cruised through the terrible twos because they NEVER happened! But once he turned three it was a TOTAL shitshow. This kid had a lot of spunk; defying me at every turn, having tantrums in the middle of the street, climbing up on things even though I took him down a million times!! Not to mention banging his head on the wall when he was upset and running away every moment he could. My kid wasn’t your typical stand-by-my-side, hold-my-hand-and-listen-to-mommy…nope, not mine.
At this time, I was running a daycare and I had to start eliminating clients because my son was becoming really difficult to handle. The days I spent taking moments to cry in the bathroom seemed endless. I felt alone and afraid because I didn’t know how to handle my own child. I just knew I was tired and I wanted this shit to stop – pronto! Every day I woke up with good intentions and every day I ended up crying because I couldn’t take the pressure. Everyone I spoke to just chalked it up to being a ‘boy’ thing, but this had nothing to do with that. In my gut I knew something wasn’t right. My background as a teacher kicked in on overdrive. So, I put my big girl panties on and we went to the doctor. There was no denial stage here – I needed a referral and I needed it fast.
Fast forward – we got the referral. My son did some tests and we started to get some answers. Preschool had been filled in, strategies were being set into place, and I was happy about the progress. One morning after I dropped off my son, the wonderful mom I mentioned earlier came to my car. She smiled and casually said, “How are you?” I’m not going to lie, I was startled. I expressed I was fine. She proceeded to tell me she saw me with the therapy ball the other day and she wanted to see how I was doing. My guard instantly went down, so I opened up and told her that it had been challenging but I think we were making headway. She expressed that she knew exactly how I felt and thought she could help. I swear the angels sang that day because this woman was my lifeline. I went from feeling like I was the only one struggling, to making a connection with a mom I barely knew. It was that easy and I was happy because I felt like the weight on my shoulders had lifted.
We agreed to meet during summer but it just didn’t happen. Last week I messaged her and we set a date and met today.
Here are three things I learned today just by speaking with this mom:
- We get to choose what we feel burdened by and if we feel like we can’t choose we need to seek out help. She gave me this perfect analogy – as moms we always have this imaginary backpack on. Sometimes the bag is full of rocks. It’s so full you feel like you can’t even take a step forward. That would be when you feel completely overwhelmed. That would be the time you call your partner, a friend, family member, energy practitioner, psychiatrist, or anyone that can help you lighten the load. These people are there to help you unload that backpack so you get to a place where you feel like you can take the steps you need to take. I think the thing that hit home for me with this example is we need to feel safe enough to reach out for help. How many times have you held back from asking for help because you are too embarrassed or afraid? I hold my hand up to that because I’ve done this a lot!
- Be choosy about who you share your personal stuff with. When it comes to our kids there’s always someone out there to tell us we aren’t doing it “right” or our kids are a certain way because of something we have done. When in fact those people do not live with you, they do not understand your circumstances, and they definitely do not know your child like you do. And on top of that, people will always give you suggestions based on their perspective. Find moms that have gone through the struggles you are going through, and these moms will be able to share things they’ve done or tried. There is so much to be said about connecting with moms who are there to help (not judge) you.
- Deconstruct family ideals. This one really opened my eyes. I have been deconstructing and questioning a lot of what I learned from my family while growing up. It’s been very tough but I’m starting to see that my past family ideals (my parents’ ideals) simply will not work for my family. We tend to get into these cycles where even though something may not be working, we just go along with it because that’s all we know. But what if I challenged you to pretend those ideals never existed. That’s exactly what my friend was saying and it made perfect sense to me. Our children don’t always turn out to be like us so why would we try to implement a system that simply doesn’t work for them? My parents will be the first to tell me that I was nothing like my son, so they are out of their element. It’s a fair statement – new children, new ideals, new ways. Our children are all different and that’s an awesome thing!
I have to say, two hours passed with this mom and I felt like I was completely understood. I didn’t worry that she would judge me or override me, most importantly, I felt heard. I gave her the same respect, because as moms we need to band together and help each other out. Just being there to say, “I hear you”, “I support you”, “I’ve been there”, or “I am there” makes a world of a difference. So don’t be afraid to reach out. If you see a mom struggling just ask how their day is. It costs nothing to be kind, just a quick minute of your time.
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