Yesterday I was sitting with a group of mama’s.
They are further along this journey called motherhood. I love hearing the things they are going through, the issues they deal with at different ages and stages of raising children. Their wisdom comes from experience, trial and error, perseverance and patience – not from a book. They have learned that sailing through one stage can mean choppier waters in the next one. They have learned to exhale and relax as they ride out a certain wave and how to savor the tiny twinkle in time that is complete bliss.
That moment is the commercial, the print ad – it’s the reason we signed up for parenthood in the first place. These are the moments when our hearts seem to grow a couple of sizes. These are the moments we can beam with pride and love because, “yes!,” we have done something right! These moments are to be cherished, wrapped up and tucked in our pockets to carry us through a more difficult stage or season of life that is peeking around the horizon.
One thing came to light during a brief lull in the conversation is that mommy’s worry.
We worry about our kids. A lot.
We worry just about everything. Our decisions that affect them, that virus that IS COMING, the internet, bullies, GMO’s, HMO’s, the zombie apocalypse, health issues, academic issues, food, shelter, clothing issues – I cannot write an exhaustive list, there are just too many to name and I know my worries don’t hold a candle to the stressors and worries of mommies all over this world and in this nation. Mine are minimal, I’m sure of it.
Thing is that I never really thought about any of this before I had children. I just went on my merry way making decisions that I thought only affected me. I did whatever I wanted.
I did whatever I wanted.
Then I became a mother and all of a sudden everything went laser focus. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. How am I going to protect this tiny little human? I AM NOT EQUIPPED! No, seriously I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.
I’ve done a few things to keep my anxiety at bay. I don’t watch the news almost ever. I don’t read the news almost ever. I don’t read the many news links my mom sends me (I’m gonna hear it on this one) almost ever.
I am aware that not knowing what stories ran on the local news station last night (or ever) doesn’t make this stuff go away. I don’t live in denial, that’s not good or realistic place to live. I just try to protect my mind from the onslaught of evil and despair that can be 24-hour television watching (but does Walking Dead count – touche). I work hard to establish real, meaningful interactions with my kids. We don’t shirk our emotions. We talk openly about being angry, fearful, embarrassed, ashamed, tired, cranky, boastful, jealous, mean (people, those are just MY freakin’ emotions on a regular day).
We also talk about joy, happiness, peace, love, respect, dignity, kindness, serving others, compassion – believe me we are all still working on these virtues as a family.
It’s not just the news though. News has always happened. News will always happen. From the beginning of time people have been killing other people. People have been taking political and religious agendas out of context and using it as a reason to hate or harm another person. I get anxious because I know this truth: human beings are seriously flawed. We have the ability to extend kindness or deliver hatred all in one moment.
Did we learn nothing from Depeche Mode when Martin Gore wrote and Dave Gahan sang “And now your punching and your kicking and your shouting at me. I’m relying on your common decency. So far it hasn’t surfaced, but I’m sure it exists. It just takes a while to travel from your head to your fist.” ~ People are People
I know every single word to this song (thank you 1980’s and British pop) and I still struggle to be kind as frequently as I hope to be. I am passionate about treating people, all people, with respect and dignity and yet I still speak unkindly when I feel threatened. I still spew sarcasm on the daily and can eye roll myself out of a chair. The struggle is real. I have a God-given ability to write words and most days don’t do a thing about it because I can’t think of one nice thing to say. You see, I am anxious because I know at the gut level of every person (even the kindest people I know) we cannot always be nice. I touched on this in the first Mommy Happens post a couple of years ago.
No one really tells you about the deeper themes that begin to override all of our decisions until you are in the trenches of motherhood and begin to discover that all of us are having this conversation. Some of the circumstances may change, but the themes remain the same. I mean we can all learn to change a diaper, soothe a cranky baby or distract a naughty toddler. We can make our own baby food or buy it, we can nurse or bottle feed, we can do all the things that need done in a day but it’s those quiet thoughts that tap on our subconscious when we are lying down to bed at night or when the house is quiet for a moment. The moment we see the disaster half way ’round the world or the tragedy in our own community.
But, we cannot stay in that place for long. Let us not squander our time worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow will bring enough worry of it’s own. Today, I salute all the mommy’s who are in the battle with me. The mommy’s who have much to worry about, but choose to just live one day at a time. I wish I could name all of the mother’s I know one by one and say something amazing about each one, but instead I will just list as many as I can right here:
Mary. Vanessa. Heather. Coliene. Kristin. Lenore. Amber. Kelly. Danielle. Dawn. Jennifer. Jen. Jenn. Carmen. Kristin. Rebecca. Kim. Lauren. Shayla. Tracy. Tracey. Adrienne. Susie. Jill. Beverly. Bev. Heidi. Marie. Nancy. Ann Marie. Ann. Lisa. Brittney. Julie. Melinda. Hannah. Karen. Caren. Karyn. Colleen. Tanya. Elizabeth. Liz. Valerie. Hilary. Ashley. Stephanie. Erin. Angie. Michelle. Tami. Megan. Kate. Katherine. Cathy. Deena. Pam. Cerita. Samara. Amy. Aimee. Beki. Tara. Barbara. Jezel. Erica. Erika. Jessica. Darcy. Marcela. Alice. Janet. Violet. Christine. Sharon. Melanie. Trisha. Patricia. Joy. Jamie. Sarah. Eva. Christie. Kristy. Helene. Natalie. Betsy. Teri. Theresa. Rachel. Leslie. Jacque. Jacqueline. Chantelle. Jackie. Lori. Laura. Laurie. Tammy. Jodi. Brooke. Susan. Kandi. Kimberly. Melissa. Jama. Danee. Whitney. Nicole. Lyn. Lynn. Linda. Shelly.*
*I know I did not get everyone. That only means that my caffeine has worn off. Also, if you see your name, it is you. I didn’t write a particular name more than once because – do we need to address the caffeine issue again? Plus, I seem know a large number of Mary’s and Kristin’s.