Dear moms of older children,
I know your stage is hard too. I remember yelling “efff you” (censored for your reading pleasure) to my mom when I was sixteen and slamming the door in her face. I’m sure she felt so loved.
I know it is easier in other ways. I’m personally looking forward to the pay raise that will come when I no longer need babysitters.
I also know things will work out and my kid won’t go to college with a pacifier in her mouth.
But can I not just be allowed to feel what I feel in my own stage without the constant “it will be okay,” “this should be the least of your concerns,” “just you wait….” or all the other responses that are more about you than about the topic at hand. Just me?
I super appreciate that moms of older kids are just trying to encourage. I see that. I hear you. I thank you. But from my hash sessions I find that moms of littles just want to be met where they are, though. To be affirmed that “yes, that is a valid thought.” It’s really fairly simple.
My oldest is only 3.5 and I’m sure I do it to new moms all the time. So I’m preaching to the choir here. Either way, it’s been on my mind and I thought I would put it into the universe that maybe we should just give each other permission to feel our feelings.
Part of why I personally hate being told the essential “it will be okay” is because it insinuates that I’m not intelligent enough to know that. Of course I know it will be okay. I’m 34 years old and have seen a few patterns in my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not aware and mindful of something and maybe I just want to talk it out … without people thinking I’m journaling about it every night and losing sleep over it. I don’t like people telling me it will be okay because I feel like it challenges a very “chill” side of me as if to say you see me as frantic and weak.
I get that the above is self-imposed. It’s the overthinking not-so-chill side of me kicking in but even still, I’m over it faster than I can finish this sentence. I also understand that it’s a nitpicky thing to ask and I of course don’t think its ill will to tell someone that things will be okay when trying to be uplifting.
But we’ve all seen Finding Nemo. Everything is not always okay. Sometimes life gives you a Barracuda and that is that. Can we not just sit down over coffee and be broken with the broken? Why do we feel like we have to come up with the solution for everything? Can’t we just say “man, that sucks, I’m really sorry” and hug our friend? And maybe the topic isn’t even a big deal and sharing a laugh is the best medicine. Answer questions when asked, but otherwise, just BE. Your existence and presence can be enough.
Who are we as moms to determine what should matter to another mom or not? I mean, at least not out loud. Go on with your thoughts, do your thing. But the universe doesn’t need your verbal opinion on if one moms concern is valid, not valid, or should be a 4 instead of a 9 on the list of concerns.
Again, preaching to the choir. So if I’ve ever acted in hypocrisy over this just know I’m also sorry and am recognizing something over here while trying to grow and be a better human myself.
But then … how do we encourage others?
For me, I feel most encouraged when my people are just available. When they listen. When they laugh or cry with me. When they surprise me with “pick me up” treats related to the dilemma. I feel encouraged with hand written cards or texts that just say “Hey, I’m thinking about you! Hope it’s going well.” Or even just the “You are doing awesome and it’s evident by your concern that you’re a really great mom.” And my favorite “the fact that you even care means you’re on the right track.” None of those responses belittle my thought process and all of them show me that my people have my back.
So mommas of older kids…. I love you and your wisdom. I love that I can seek you as a mentor. I need you. I want you in my life. I just don’t want to be compared to your outcomes.