It’s always been said that women are the fairer sex. And, sure we are — to some degree. Not many of us get into manual labor, heavy lifting and contact sports. But, the internal strength that so many of my women friends have shown in the past week amazes me.
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The role of a mother is one of the most glorious and one of the most difficult. Having a child is like taking the risk of having your heart live outside your body for the rest of your life. A risk because loving something that much can often be painful. Each time your child is hurt, crying, upset, frustrated, angry, sad you want so badly to make it all go away, but that’s not always possible and each time you have to face these emotions with your child it rips at you on the inside a little more each time. How each mother handles it is different: sometimes there is guilt, sometimes a sense of failure, sometimes there is just the knowledge that some pain has to enter into everyone’s life. But we all have to handle it.
And you say, but you GET to be a mother. You’re right. It’s a gift. Every day there are glorious wonders that come from being around my child.
The tasks of a mother aren’t usually that difficult. Changing a diaper. Not that hard. Giving a bottle. Not that hard. Bathing and dressing. Not that hard. Reading a story. Singing a song. Cooking a meal. Cleaning the house. Not that hard. But, think about it. To do all those things and more all day, every day, with a positive attitude and a smile can sometimes…get to you. You begin to think: “What about me?” “What about my interests?” “When do I get time to relax?” And that is the tough part about being a mother because the answer is that ultimately, those things are put on hold. You have to sit back and watch a part of yourself slip away. Congrats to those of you that have been able to hold on to the old you and to those of you who aren’t bothered by this at all. So many women I know have sacrificed who they are and where they were going to raise a child. We do it willingly and knowingly. I’m not saying that any of us were forced or are angry about it. Some days it can just…get to you. It’s tough to see the importance of the love and attention and influences that are given to our children each day through our sacrifice–through our being here. I know that someday it will matter that I gave up my career to stay at home and be a full-time mother to my son. I know that he is becoming someone better for it. I don’t regret my decision.
On those days when being on duty for 24 hours a day starts to chip away at the smile and positive attitude, we start to yearn and crave a piece of time that we could escape. Time when no one is expecting anything and no one is demanding anything of our time. We talk about these cravings and feel guilty. Actually guilty for wanting to help ourselves. So, we’re strong and we push it away and we keep going. We want to feel important, but we push those needs aside. We want to feel appreciated, but we push it aside. We want to remember what made us fun and interesting, but we push it aside. We want to use our talents, but we push it aside. How long can it be pushed aside before there’s some explosion–a point where you scream and throw your hands into the air and give up. I have a dear friend who is so close to that point. To look at her you’d never know it. She’s a pro at putting on a smile and playing happy, but it’s getting old for her. I really don’t know what to do for her. She’s so guilt-ridden for even feeling the way. But, she’s facing this and she’s finding her way out of it. She is so strong. Somehow we’ve all got to realize that taking care of ourselves helps us to better care for our children.
I have another friend who is faced with possibly losing one of her children in a custody battle. It’s killing her inside. The thoughts of not seeing him grow and not being the one to help him grow are almost crippling her. But, every day she gets out of bed and she loves on both her children. She doesn’t expose them to the pain she’s feeling inside. She is so strong.
Yet another friend lost a great job very suddenly. She took the high road and saw it as an opportunity to explore other outlets for her talent. Sure, she was worried and scared for a while, but she stays positive each day. She is so strong.
I am very lucky to be surrounded by such strong women.