A woman told me a story. It was about a mother who was having a tough day, like we all do. She yelled a bit more than she wanted to. There were more time-outs and fewer snuggles, more frustration and fewer smiles. You know those days. They're the ones filled with stress and tension and exasperation. At the end of those days, we collapse onto our beds and wonder what we could have done differently. We feel sad, perhaps confused, maybe a little guilty. And on that day, that mother's son turned to her and asked, "Do you even like being a mom?" He asked it matter-of-factly. He was serious. He wanted to know.
Oh man. Of course she does. Of course. Right? It's just that in that moment, on that day, it wasn't easy. It was so very hard and sometimes it feels like too much to handle. If we stop and think about it, we know it will pass and the good moments are around the corner. But our little ones can't always see that. They can't always understand that life comes with ups and life comes with downs, and motherhood is no different. The dark moments make the bright ones shine even brighter. But we have to realize that sometimes our darkness feels too dark for them. There are so many lessons we can teach our children on these tough days. There's so much they can learn about life, about love and emotions.
But it means we have to take a breath, then another. We have to pull ourselves out of the fury and let the anger dissolve a bit. It's through example that we help our children learn to navigate the ups and downs of life. When we are honest about our emotions and our struggles, we help them to understand that there are ways to move through the darkness toward the light. It's hard. We get wrapped up in the darkness and sometimes it feels like that's all that there is.
That's not all there is.
So soften just a bit and talk about the challenging moments. Tell them when things aren't easy. Let them know. They're perceptive. They probably already know, but let them hear it from you. And then find a way to move through that darkness together. They will surprise you.
Here's a picture from a darker day when I thought my children were literally going to break my back..