Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What reality do you portray?

Yesterday I had a headache. Which really is nothing new for me, I get them a lot.
But yesterdays headache came after several weeks of pretty crummy health problems that left me bedridden for a significant amount of days.

Normally I would just lay on the couch all day watching movies with whatever kids were home, do some cereal for dinner (which my kids think is like the coolest thing ever, go figure) and then hope and pray they all just went to bed nicely and didn't fight with each other. 

But frankly I was tired of being sick. 
I was tired of spending my life as a mom laying on the couch and watching my children fend for themselves. 
I was tired of cringing every time my beautiful children laughed with each other.
I was tired of avoiding playing with them because it just made my body hurt more.
I was tired of feelings like a mediocre, always sick, mom.

So this time I decided to try and push through.
I get a lot of headaches, like I said before, so pushing through and just living with a headache and trying to force a smile in spite of the battle raging in my head is nothing new. 
I fixed fried chicken for dinner and tried to laugh at the kids jokes at dinner but by the time dinner was over and I had been head butted and hit in the head with a toy car, I gave in to the war in my head and laid down on the couch.

Tayton, my 3 year old, kept laying next to me and rubbing my head and telling me he was protecting me from the loud noises. 
Aowyn, my 2 year old, kept kissing my face and laying on top of me.
Landon, my 7 year old, got everyone ready for bed.
Braddoc, my 5 year old, would talk loud and immediately follow it up by, "Sorry mom, Ill try to be more quiet."
They all were being so sweet and trying so hard to help me, and really all it did was cause another battle to begin in my head..... the guilt trip kind.

I'm sure we have all been there as moms. 
We have had those days where we look back at the end of the day and feel like we failed miserably at our one job.
We have those days where we go to peek in on our sweet sleeping angels and our eyes well up with tears because we so vividly remember how many times we yelled at them and why we yelled and we kick ourselves because we realize that there was no good reason for it at all.
We have those days that we replay in our head over and over again and wish that we could have changed so many things. We wish that we would have done things differently.
We have those days where we just feel absolutely defeated.
I hate those days. I really, really, really loathe them.
Because I'm not a bad mom, I think I'm a pretty great mom. 

But in the quiet of the night, when the noise has calmed down and the chaos has ceased, we can find ourselves lost in thought. We can re-asses all the events of the day and often times we can feel like we just didn't measure up to the person we want to be.

Last night was one of those nights for me.
When I finally made my way to bed I began to sob.
I tried to hold back the tears. I tried not to let the flood gates open, because I knew that once they did there would be no closing them until all the tears had found their way out.
Needless to say, I was not successful.
I sobbed until my snot and tears ran together.
I sobbed until my chest hurt from heaving in and out.
I sobbed until I could barely breath.

I cried because I was tired of being sick. I cried because of all the moments in my life that were robbed from me because of my kidney disease and because of Graves disease. I cried because of bowls of cereal being eaten for dinner. I cried because my sweet 7 year old boy had to get his siblings ready for bed. I cried because my 3 year old has gotten so good at taking care of me. I cried because my 5 year old had to say sorry every time he laughed or yelled out of excitement. I cried because I just wanted to be healthy and feel good for a real, solid, significant amount of time.

 I cried because I was angry. I was angry about everything. 
 I was angry that my body would not let me be the mom I wanted to be. I was angry because I felt like my mind was alive and wanting to break free but my body was weak and failing me. 
I was angry because I want so much more for my kids then them having a life where they are so used to their mom being sick that they know so well how to take care of me.
I was angry because of all the guilt I felt.

Mostly I was angry because in my moment of weakness I felt very alone. 
I feel like we as mom's (as people) try to hide all the bad stuff.
We only talk about the good. 
We talk about how perfect our lives are, and how amazing everything is everyday.
We do this because its easier to talk about these things, its a lot easier to talk about our strengths then it is to admit our weaknesses.
People treat us like we are terribly horrible people when we talk about how hard things are. They tell us we are being "negative" and that when we have a negative opinion its hard to be happy.
Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs that, "LIFE'S NOT PERFECT!! SOMETIMES LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY HARD!" 
Talking about how hard it is and sharing with each other when we have a rough day, or sharing with each other our inner most feelings of guilt or failure is not a negative thing. In fact I think it can be a positive thing. 
I think that when we start to share these things with each other, when we stop hiding our pain and our hardships behind a fake wall of "perfectness" we start to realize that we are not alone. 
We start to realize that we are all to one degree or another, the same. 

When I'm crying at night and feeling down on myself and wishing that things were so different, I can't help but be a little jealous of all the moms I know out there who have it so much easier then me. Mom's who aren't raising 4 kids. Moms who aren't raising a child with Autism. Mom's who don't have headaches every day. Mom's who don't have health problems plaguing their lives. Mom's who don't struggle with any big problems in their lives. I think about all these moms and I wonder why my life is so much harder then theirs. 

Once the tears dry, and the anger fades though, I realize what a lie it was to be jealous of all those moms. What a false reality it was that I was wishing for. A false reality created by other women, other people, who act like they have no struggles, and if they do have struggles who act like they handled it so gracefully. When we hide behind false images of reality and sell these images to other people we are creating a whole huge world filled with people being burdened down by guilt. 

Its not real, the idea that there is a perfect, trial free, struggle free person out there.
 None of us is with out trials. None of us is without the dreaded mom guilt, or the scars on our hearts caused by regretful decisions we have made. 
I am surrounded by people who I really know nothing about. 
People who consume my mind on nights like last night.
People whose false lives float through my mind and cause me to shed painful and jealous tears.
I think of these people who have never shared their struggles with others, and who never share their weaknesses and I realize that they do this because of their own fears.... their fears of being seen as weak, or imperfect.

Oh how silly this all is.
How silly this false reality is.
Who does it help? Who does it strengthen and uplift?
Certainly not me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

This morning when I woke up and my mind was clearer and free from false realities, I was able to ponder on my female heroes. The women whose paths I have had the pleasure to cross and who have shared with me their own trials and feelings of weakness. I think about the other women I know who battle nasty health problems and the women who have gone through bitter, pain filled divorces. I think about the women who have shared with me their inner most fears and feelings of inadequacies and I think about how much I admire these women and how much I hope I am like them. When I think about these great women in my life I see them as everything good in this world. I see them as the champions of motherhood. I never see them as weak or negative or shameful. These women are the reality that we should hold on too. They are the reality we should think about when we are feeling down and less then perfect. 

When we feel alone and when the tears won't stop coming, we need not see the false realities of women blasted on Facebook or parading around in front of us. What we should really see is these women of strength and of courage, the real women. The women who know what we are going through because they are going through it too. That is reality. That is what we should share.
And that is what will help dry our tears and give us the courage to continue on, and get back up every time we fall and feel that all consuming guilt.

I know that I have many more days like yesterday ahead.
I know that there are many more tear filled nights in my future.
And I hope and pray that in those moments that I won't ever again feel alone but that I will realize I am in great company and that that knowledge will give me strength.


Georgette said...

What a beautiful post. It takes courage to write about real life. And yes all moms go through this, you are not alone. You are a wonderful mother and your children know it. ((hugs))

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oh I love you Aurie! Thank you for sharing this and thank you for being real!!! (Love, Mary Jane)

Becca said...

Yes! You said it so well!