Wednesday, November 08, 2017

I Have Bad Days (and I'm a Mom!) or Yes, I Chose This. So?

A friend recently told of how some less-than-supportive family were upset that she had bad days. See, this friend has chosen, along with her husband, to have a large family. Compared to the rest of her family, this is strange, and so they don't quite understand it. They said that because she chose to have a large family, all of her chaos, stress, and bad days are completely her own fault. If she didn't want to have so much stress, than she shouldn't have had so many kids. In their minds, she brought it on herself. Their conclusion was that she didn't deserve their support, and she certainly didn't have permission to be upset about her life in any way, shape, or form.

Okay, so I can kind of understand what they are saying. True, being a mother means choosing a kind of busy stress that isn't easily controlled. Choosing to mother many means a lot of chaos. But does this mean mothers of many are never allowed a bad day? And even more --does this mean we are never allowed to express the difficult aspects of it?

Are we really supposed to only share the good parts?

I find this ironic because we are so quick to condemn "fake people." What are fake people, anyway, but those who paint their lives as something not whole, not complete? I like to see things in a positive way --I really like optimism --but at the same time, I like honesty. Truth is more powerful than lies, and if a mother isn't allowed to be honest about the hard, frustrating, grueling, exhausting, nitty-gritty parts of motherhood, then I'm not sure anyone would see the truth of what makes motherhood so incredibly amazing.

Another mutual friend made a wonderful point. She said that no matter what job a person chooses, there will be parts that people don't like. In fact, there will be hard parts and sometimes very unpleasant parts. She said this:
Brain surgeons have to file long, detailed medical reports and decide if cases are operable and sometimes lose patients during surgery. When they talk about such things in less than glowing terms we don't say, "Shut up. You brought this on yourself. You CHOSE to be a brain surgeon, you idiot. What were you thinking? Why didn't you choose something easier?" The same is true of every job. Including motherhood.
I mean, think about any other job out there. Dentist, lawyer, soldier, masseuse, teacher, musician, actor, writer, CEO, banker, etc. etc. etc.  Why is it that motherhood is put into the "you chose this, you idiot!" bucket, while other jobs are not? Everyone is going to have a bad day, and when it happens, that doesn't mean they shouldn't have chosen their career or family size. It just means they are human.

We all have bad days every once in a while. We should be allowed to admit it.

And, by the way, dear reader, it's those bad days that make the good ones so awesome. Without the comparison of bad, it's really hard to appreciate the good. All of the chaos and exhaustion create an environment where joy can be found. Learning to find happiness when we are teetering on that last thread is kind of amazing. It's definitely refined me and made me a better person!

So, perhaps it would behoove us to check our "you chose this" comments at our throats before they come out of our mouths. Instead, we could find ways to lift and help one another. Maybe we could take the time to learn something about the situation and make an attempt to understand a life decision we haven't experienced.  At the very least, just nod and move on! I mean, pity is okay, but charity is better. Let's not justify enmity because of our discomfort; let's look for ways we can lend help and have empathy.

P.S. This can apply to many, many things and spoiler: charity (the pure love of Christ) is pretty much always the answer. 


JennaK said...

Actually, teacher is one that gets the same response. It's the whole working with/being with kids that demonizes a person. Kids are not valued or appreciated in today's world. That's the heart of this issue, I believe.

Anne Marie said...

I absolutely love your insights on this. Thank you so much.