The Masks We Wear blogRecently, I walked past a mom that I know in passing and casually asked her how she was doing. She surprised me. Usually she gives a chipper answer, life is good, great, couldn’t be better, basically has the face on. Today was different. Today she told me she was tired and she wasn’t doing very well. And what continued was a fairly in-depth conversation. She told me she needed a vacation. She said, “I need a vacation from my 3 kids, from all the sports, parties, etc. I’m just tired. My husband is traveling, and dealing with all the kids activities has gotten to me. I’m ready for it to be done”. She then continued to say, she hadn’t left her kids overnight in years, maybe twice ever. She told me that she wanted five minutes to herself where she didn’t have to be a mom, where she could just be herself. She was tired, she was bored and she didn’t like her life very much.

It was a lot to dump on a casual acquaintance, but I was up for the challenge. I asked her what did she like to do? What gave her joy and made her laugh. She stared at me for a couple seconds and answered, ‘that’s the problem, I just don’t know anymore”. And I wanted to cry for her. This wonderful, amazing person had become a mom – a mom that gave so sacrificially that she didn’t have ANYTHING left for herself.

On the surface this mom and I are very different. She is on the roller coaster of life- she has three children that appear to be perfect. They excel in sports, academics and have a lot of friends. Whereas my three children have various levels of academic and social issues. Instead of spending time learning how to play the piano or another musical instrument, my kids spend their extra time being tutored and going to doctor’s appointments.  Many of the dreams I had pre-kids – the dreams to be a family that sailed, skied, and traveled have not been realized. Each year I think, maybe this year some of the expensive therapies will take and we won’t have to spend all of our money on therapy and home repairs. Maybe this year….

What this conversation did, was help me to realize that even though this women has three seemingly perfect kids, we are not that different. Her kids drive (and possibly hers as well) have compelled them to fill their nights and weekends with soccer games, practice,  parties, sleep-overs, all in the quest to have the perfect child that will succeed in life. While our days are spent with homework. Homework that takes her kids 30 minutes will take my kids up to 2 hours. We’ve consciously made the decision that our kids will be in one sport at a time. We feel that our kids and our family needs some down time, some margin.

Stay tuned for The Faces We Wear -Part Two for some takeaways for ALL families.

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4 Comments

  1. Reply Laura

    I so get it! I wouldn’t trade my children for anything. However, I remember those days that I was funny and interesting. Some days I feel like I’m just a taxi driver for people that are angry at me!

  2. Reply Rhonda

    Oh man I get it! And I will be honest – sometimes I am very jealous of and angry at those moms BECAUSE that is a GOOD problem to have and it’s something that can be changed, by saying no and just slowing down. Heck, I would even get jealous when someone was fretting about where they should go out to eat on a Friday night and I am thinking we can’t even go out to eat because of food allergies! Yikes! That’s when I realized this mama needed to work on her attitude and to find a way to accept her new normal and way of life with a child who now has some special needs. I have realized we aren’t a lot different but sometimes I can sit back and realize what I have learned, not to take anything for granted, to enjoy and appreciate the little thing and celebrate them, I have learned how much we can live without and someday we will get to go out to dinner. I have learned that it is an amazingly huge success when the 504 meeting at school goes great! ALL MOMS are amazing and ALL MOMS need a break and coming together, we can all learn from one another! Can’t wait to read more!

  3. Reply Julie

    Rhonda- Thanks for sharing how you’ve realized you need to accept your new normal. One of the hardest things to let go of has been the striving and desire to get back to the way things used to be. And then the surprise and joy at finding out there are silver linings – like AMAZING friends that you can go deep with – friends that totally understand your crazy life and will talk to you at midnight, because they can’t sleep either!

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