Do you tell the truth? The real truth, when it comes to motherhood? I don’t always, and I am working on that. When I had my first son 6.5 years ago, I was proud, overwhelmed, terrified, excited, exhausted, drained, confused…so many things. However, when people asked “So! How’s life as a new mom?” I didn’t think I could really say those things, so I started saying what I figured people wanted to hear. “Oh, great! Things are wonderful. I just love it.” Which was true. Mostly. In reality, yes, I loved my baby, but also, I worried about his incessant colicky crying, I wondered if I’d made the right choice leaving my career behind, I didn’t know how I’d function on so little sleep, and I wished I had more friends going through the same thing as me. As time passed and my parenting experiences grew, I became accustomed to giving polite, standard replies to all questions regarding being a mother. Things were “going really well” and I was “enjoying every minute”, just like people always tell moms to do.
Then, things started changing.
First, I saw a few close mom friends go through some hard things…things they couldn’t simple pretend weren’t there. Moms I knew well were suddenly telling the real truth about how things were going, and it wasn’t always rosy. Health crises, learning disabilities, marriage troubles, family problems. Around the time this started happening, I came across Reckless Truth Telling by one of my favorites, Glennon Melton, about the benefits of being a “reckless truth teller” (I love that term!). If you haven’t already, you should really read it. In it, she talks about the benefits of putting it all out there: what if we all made a pact to tell the truth? Maybe we’d feel better if we didn’t pretend things were perfect. Maybe others would feel better if they didn’t think everyone around them was perfect. Maybe we would then have the chance to help each other with hard stuff.
I’ve been trying to do this more, to stop myself from giving fellow mom friends the usual “Oh, things are just great with us!” reply and give a slightly more authentic account of how things are going. It has been eye-opening and reassuring. Everyone has things that worry them. Everyone is struggling with something. You are not alone. No one has the perfect children and happy family and spotless house, so the pressure is off. I’d love to see more “reckless truth-telling” out there among moms…are you in?