For most of my life I’ve hid.
I’ve hidden behind layers of externals – behind I’m fine and no big deal and flowers planted out front and throw pillows placed just right. It’s this absolutely exhausting journey to go through life carrying a whole bunch of filters to protect anyone from seeing the real me. It became a daily struggle to keep everything together, unexposed from a world of moms that seemed perfect.
And then, one day, I got tired.
Tired of thinking I had to spend extra money to fill end of the school year buckets when my money was tight. Tired of feeling like I was the only one dealing with kids who are angry. Tired of feeling shame over a marriage that didn’t work out. Tired of thinking that I wasn’t a good enough mom.
I kind of got tired of apologizing for not being able to hold the masks of illusion so high anymore.
And so here’s some truth exposed:
Illusion: My walls are painted a great cream color. Not trendy, but airy. I have cute throw pillows from Target.
Truth: There’s a hole in my wall by my entry from my son who was angry at his brother and then in a fit he kicked it in. I cried after it happened because I felt like I was the worst mom ever. My throw pillows have permanent marker on it that I hide.
Illusion: My bank account is with a national bank. I’ve been with them forever. The card looks like I’m important.
Truth: Just this week I found out that my ex allowed an old account to go into collections without telling me. My bank closed my good account. I had to pay a great deal of money to fix the problem. Being a single mom isn’t easy. Especially when my kids are told lies about me.
Illusion: The van I drive the kids to school is shiny and well kept up. I smile every morning and wave at the crossing guard. We’re rarely late.
Truth: My real van was destroyed almost three weeks ago in a fire. We are almost all late and the process of getting them out of the door makes me look like crazy mom. I spill often so I don’t bring anything in the van that I’m borrowing.
Illusion: My Instagram feed has all these kind of great idyllic pictures in it. Little dinosaurs and coffee cups and flowers in my garden.
Truth: You’re only seeing part. You miss the mess on the outside. Or all the pictures I decided to not share because I didn’t want anyone to see that part of me. Sometimes I struggle with not having it all together.
I’m running out of time.
Running out of time to sit here carrying all of these illusions along with me.
So the naked exposed truth that we all need to hear?
I mess up. I yell sometimes. I say no when I should say yes. I lose my patience. I wish I was a better mom. I have to gather my cool. I compare. I struggle. I love my kids.
And I am so totally real.
Sometimes I just want to stand in the middle of the school and tell everyone to put down the masks and to look around and to actually cheer each other on. Yes, cheer each other on. Because you know what, my warrior mother friend?
NOT ONE OF US GETS THROUGH MOTHERHOOD UNSCATHED.
And that’s not bad. The places where we stumble and fall are the places where we learn. They’re the places we brush off, stand up, and move forward.
Scars don’t mean we’re weak.
They mean we’re real.
We’re moms on a journey.
It’s not a journey of trying to be perfect. It’s not a journey of slacking off. It’s a journey of trying and trying and trying and finding something that works and trying again. It’s a journey of loving those kids that kick a hole more than the cost of fixing it. It’s a journey of not quitting on them when they struggle. It’s a journey of saying go to bed and stay in bed over and over. It’s a journey of letting them go. It’s a journey of self.
It’s not a test.
It’s just real.
So instead of hiding, here I am.