Well, I am struggling again today. This sickness sure has a strong hold on me. Thankfully I did get a little more sleep last night, only waking up every 2 hours in a coughing fit instead of the entire night of it. I guess that is improvement. I am thankful that my kids are old enough now that they can take care of themselves when I am not at 100%. I can actually take the time to rest when just a few years ago I couldn’t (or at least I wouldn’t). One of my friends shared one of the pictures above on Facebook last night, and it really struck a cord with me. While this sculpture shows the burden of housework, we all know that a mom’s burden is so much more than the housework. There were so many years that I felt like that woman depicted there. It was like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders every single day. My husband was deployed a lot, the girls were young, my youngest daughter’s medical condition was wreaking havoc on her body, and I was giving everything I had to my job and students all while trying to project an image that I had it all under control. In reality, I really didn’t. I was drowning, but I wasn’t going to dare let that show to anyone. That’s what mother’s do, right? We don’t let it show when we are struggling, and we would never admit that we need help. That would be a sign of weakness, and mothers aren’t supposed to be weak. Instead we pile on more and more to our backs, and keep pushing through. No matter how far this country has come, how society has changed, or how supportive our husbands are, women still put that pressure on themselves. By putting it on ourselves, we are projecting it on to every other mother we know. If Suzy can handle all that she has going on with a smile on her face, then I can surely handle whatever my life throws at me. That is our mentality. We see others who appear to have it all together so we feel like we have to do the same even though we know that none of us has it all under control. It is an endless cycle perpetuated by our own flawed thinking. I am so guilty of it. Back then I would NEVER admit that I needed help or that I was struggling. I wanted everyone to think that I had it all together. I wanted to look like I was strong and could handle it all.
Why? Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we think we have to project the perfect image? It is so messed up. We have to break the cycle. We have to be willing to show our weaknesses and ask for help. It is the only way to help each other. There is so much power in knowing that you aren’t alone, yet we are afraid to share our struggles with others. Sure we have mom friends that we vent to, but do we ever really share with them how we are feeling deep down? I don’t, and I would bet that you don’t either. We all just silently carry the crushing weight of the world on our shoulders day after day. I am here to tell you that you aren’t alone. We all feel the same way. We all struggle. We all secretly cry at night sometimes when no one is watching. We all get that feeling of barely keeping our heads above the water. We all feel like we are failing. We have all been there. We have all suffered through it alone, but we don’t have to do that any more. We can stop the cycle. We can share our feelings. We can ask for help. We can carry the burdens together. We don’t have to walk alone. We just have to open up, be willing to show our failures, let others see that we aren’t perfect, and support each other. Stop acting like you have it all together when you don’t. Other moms need to see that you struggle too. Can you imagine what it would feel like to know that Suzy carries the same burdens that you do? There is power in knowing you aren’t alone. That power lifts some of that weight from your back. Yes, moms are superstars. We can carry that weight, but we don’t have to do it alone.