Sometimes, the weight of motherhood can be so heavy. It’s not something they warn you about in the parenting books, but it’s important that mothers who are struggling know that they are not alone.
Meredith Masony, from the wildly popular blog “That’s Inappropriate,” recently penned a powerful post about the pressures that we put on ourselves as mothers. She put a spotlight on why it matters that you speak out when you’re struggling, rather than put your feelings aside because “I’m the mom.”
“I’m the Mom, I have to be happy,” the post begins. “I can’t let anyone know that I struggle at times.”
Moms are often tempted to portray that they are happy at all times. We want our kids to see a happy mom and feel safe in that knowledge. But the reality is, life isn’t about being happy at every moment. Everyone feels down sometimes.
As someone who struggles with depression, I often feel guilty about it because I am a mom — and I want my kids to always have the best version of me. I have noticed something, however. When I am honest with my three boys about my feelings, they are honest with me about theirs. Keeping that line of communication open helps me to know what their needs are.
Masony’s post continues by listing the many ways that mothers put pressure on themselves.
“I’m the Mom, I can’t be afraid. I need to smile and pretend that life is just fine.
I’m the Mom, I have to get it all done. There’s so much to do and never enough time.
I’m the Mom, I have to enjoy this. I’m told all the time how much I’ll miss this.”
Not only do we feel immense pressure to “do it all,” but we also feel that we must be “enjoying every moment” along the way! As Masony points out, this wears on us to our core.
“I’m the Mom, I’m so very tired. Tired when I wake, tired when I try to fall asleep.
I’m the Mom, I have to be strong. I can’t let anyone know that at times I feel like I might break.
I’m the Mom, everyone needs me. I have to be available at all times to everyone.
I’m the Mom, the weight I feel is so heavy. At times it’s so much that I feel it in my bones.”
This weight can cause us to feel so alone and question whether we are doing a “good job.” Masony’s post gets to the heart of these feelings.
“I’m the Mom, can anyone hear me? I speak but it seems that my words are silent.
I’m the Mom, I love them so much it hurts. Am I screwing them up?
I’m the Mom, why am I so lonely? These feelings I feel are exhausting at times.”
The truth is, these feelings are universal in motherhood, and we shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
Masony says that, like for many of us, the high-profile suicides that were widely reported on “hit her hard.” She said they got her thinking about mental health and the struggles of motherhood, or as she puts it, “the raw, real side that people don’t want to talk about.”
“I just think it is scary to see so many moms remain silent about the daily struggles of motherhood,” she tells Babble. “We need to vent and be honest about the trials that we endure. It doesn’t mean we love our family less to have an honest conversation about how hard it is to be a mom.”
She is absolutely right. I know that when I am suffering, my tendency is to isolate myself — but it is never helpful.
Masony ends her post with a call to “speak out” about the raw and difficult parts of motherhood.
“We need to talk about what life is really like,” she writes. “Life without filters. I am not ashamed to be a hot mess of a mom. I am not ashamed to share my daily fears and struggles. I want you to share as well. You are not alone. Talk about your fears. Talk about the hard parts of motherhood. Talk about all of it. Reach out to your friends and family and let them know how you are feeling.”
If we can be honest about how we are really doing, it can help us to get the help that we need, and help others to know they are not alone in their struggles. It is up to us to be there for each other, to ask, “How are you really doing?” — and to be honest with one another and ourselves.