Monday, March 11, 2013

Practice What I Preach

Recently on Facebook I shared a blog entry that Glennon over at Momastery posted.
It really, really, REALLY resonated with me. If you don't feel like reading it, or you are offended by male and female private parts being mentioned several times, the gist of it was with all the different social media out there- we are sharing more- but we are sharing the shiniest, cleanest, most put together version of ourselves.  There are exceptions of course, like those who post on facebook or twitter simply to complain. But even those people are not being honest. Life is more than the things that irritate us, and the things that make us look funny, smart, attractive, and without problems. Let me be clear, I know I am a frequent user of Facebook, and a frequent poster at that. And I also share lovely pictures of my son laughing with joy, my husband and I on vacation having a blast, our little family enjoying a hayride or a holiday meal. I often post fundraisers or show dates, accomplishments that Evan has attained, new haircuts, etc.  I am not saying we should all stop posting fun, wonderful things about our lives, because gosh darn it, we have some great stuff going on. What I am saying though, is that truth-telling is also awesome. It is more than awesome, it is needed.  I have said this often in this blog, and I say it often to my friends, we, as mothers, are not honest enough with each other.
 I remember thinking during the first few months of Evan's life, when my eyes were glued half shut 24 hours a day, and our house was a wreck, all I wanted to do was go have a drink with my girlfriends and breath a little. But thinking that made me feel AWFUL. Because I received message after message from people saying, "Don't you just want to hold your son all day long? Isn't this the best time of your life? I bet you never ever want to come back to work....." And holding my son was lovely, when I could pick my head up long enough to enjoy it, but with nursing every 2 hours, I didn't really have just nice cuddle time with him because we were navigating him staying on my chest correctly and keeping his food in.
But did I post that on Facebook or email my family about it? Of course not. But you know what I did do? I read blogs. I read Momastery from start to finish and reveled in her truth. I soaked up her entries about needing a break from her kids, getting frustrated when being told to Carpe Diem, when she really wanted to throw her Diem right back at the nice person telling her that. Her truth made me feel better about my truth. And my truth became less burdensome, less heavy, less guilt producing. I had a few very close friends I could talk to about my guilt, anxiety, and worries, but overall I hid my feelings, stuffed them away because I felt like I would be looked at this awful, horrible mom for not loving every living second I had with Evan.I kept thinking that somehow I had missed the boat. I had missed the parent boat that allowed you to feel like you had it all together. Because I would look around me and see people who had not only caught the parent boat, but had smooth waters with no turbulence.
Now, 21 months after having given birth to our little dude- I know that parent boat doesn't really exist. Some of us just talk more about our early new parent days and some of us muddle through and don't mention the tough days. And I also think some parents are more suited for the newborn stage. Some people are big baby fans. I remember a friend saying to me, "phew, I am NOT a newborn person. I did much better once my kids hit one." And old co worker even said she thought babies should come out 6 months old, that it would be much easier that way. Hmmmm.... I wonder if I heard those two truths but chose not to allow myself to relate to them because I still felt so guilty for not being thrilled all the time.
So I am trying to make up for lost time.
-I am trying to be more truthful for my sake, and for the sake of other moms out there who are trying to hold it together.
-Trying to feel okay about all the bad, the tough, and the beautiful that happens when you become a parent.
This blog entry came to be because of a particular incident last week.  I brought Evan to CHOP for routine bloodwork to check his calcium levels.  Individuals with Williams Syndrome have notoriously high calcium levels- which can be dangerous for many reasons. It can cause kidney failure and also heart issues.  Evan's levels have been moderately high and we have had to alter his diet slightly to try to regulate his levels. We have his geneticist check in appointment coming up soon so we wanted to have his levels checked so we could discuss it at our appointment. Anyhow, the experience at CHOP was not a fun one for a few reasons, but mainly because they had to stick Evan twice to get his blood moving and he was inconsolable. On our way out, I stopped to look for our parking pass so I could pay before getting in the car. Of course, I could not locate the pass in all six places I looked. I started walking towards the car pushing our wobbly umbrella stroller and the tears started coming, and coming hard. I just kept pushing towards the car, hoping that the folks entering the hospital didn't see my face and feel bad for me. (ridiculous) I felt all the frustrations of the day hit me, and the overwhelming feeling I get every time I take Evan to one of his appointments. I allowed myself to feel frustrated, angry, sad, and just exhausted.  I arrived at our car, picked up Evan out of his stroller, asked him for a hug, which is a new skill of his, and he leaned on my shoulder and tucked his head against mine. I was still sobbing and he, of course, started giggling. I looked at him and said,"You always know just what Mommy needs, don't you?" I felt calmer already and more at peace.  I just needed to get it out. I realized in that moment that I really don't "get it out" very often. I used to be a fountain of emotions when I was younger. If I needed to cry, I did it, if I needed to be sad, I called someone and shared with them. But for some reason as I have gotten older that has changed. But I'm working on it. I joke with my friend Talia, we both always say it is easier for us to worry about the other, than to allow the other to worry about us. If that makes sense? When she worries about me and wants me to share, I feel better listening to her and supporting her than sharing my issues.

Before haircut
Soooooooo......this has been a super long post. The point being, I did call someone that day to share, and I did tell my truth. And I am doing it again now, for a much larger audience. Was my rough day at CHOP all my truth? No, of course not. The next day, I took Evan to get his hair cut, he signed "more" without any type of prompting whatsoever, and Todd and I shared a great meal together that I actually made. It's all part of my truth, the good, the tough, the amazing, the painful, the adorable....the list goes on.

 What is your truth?
Try preaching it one day.
You might be surprised at how good it feels.


thegypsymama said...

Beautiful powerful truth. And this? this is like a benediction: "I am trying to be more truthful for my sake, and for the sake of other moms out there who are trying to hold it together. Trying to feel okay about all the bad, the tough, and the beautiful that happens when you become a parent."

Thank you for sharing this. For you, for us. Grace on your friend in this rollercoaster we call motherhood :)

warmest of wishes

Big Dreamer said...

I am just now reading this, and I recognize myself in the statement about enjoying my daughter more after she turned one. You are normal and you are doing great!

I make the choice to put only the good stuff out there for three reasons:

1. I have stress and frustration and problems, and they are real to me, but in the grand scheme of things, I am very lucky. I don't want to compare problems. I also don't want to compare good fortune either. It's a tricky balance. I just want to love and support people and have them love and support me back, but social media can lead to weird interactions that are sometimes negative. I try to avoid those.

2. At every stage of my life, I've thought things were hard. I went through tough situations, dealt with anxiety and depression, and either fought or folded. At this particular point, I feel things are rough but I am doing it, and I am doing okay. Having young children is a challenging phase of life. It's nice to know we're all feeling the strain in one way or another but I have reached a point of acceptance that I can't get too worked up, and I have to feel grateful that I get to have these experiences at all. I don't put too many "this is hard" messages out there because I'm okay with it being hard. Having a cry or dealing with a tantrum are part of my life now. I could have a heart attack by age 40 if I don't figure out how to let some things go, for real.

3. The main reason I don't put negative stuff on Facebook is that I have too many "friends" who are professional contacts, long-distance relatives I have nothing in common with, judgy high school know -it -alls, or people who don't know me well enough not to misinterpret. I would love to be able to have more open communication with a smaller cicle of real friends, but haven't figured out how to make that work. I applaud your openness and send so many hugs your way. Thank you so much for sharing and letting people in. It is inspiring and beautiful.

Erin Putman said...

Thank you Big Dreamer, for your comment. I love hearing feedback almost as much as I do blogging. I understand your thoughts and totally get it. I also feel very lucky to have the life I do, and I am reminded of it so often. I do not hope to "one-up" any one's problems or receive pity. I share because it helps me, and I hope it helps others. You are right, that when you are going through something, it feels rough but you get through it. I am actually planning a blog entry about just that topic, so stay tuned. And I also completely understand not wanting to share on social media sites, like Facebook. My encouragement to share your truth, is to share it with anyone you feel comfortable telling. That could be 00 "friends" on Facebook, your brother, your best friend, or your therapist. Whatever works. :) Take Care, and thanks again for reading, Erin