Tuesday, January 19, 2010

100th Post!/ Mompetition

Wow, I never really thought I would make it to 100 posts!

I don't think I realised how cathartic blogging would be for me. I have enjoyed sharing my life with all of you, and truly appreciate the replies I receive and the thoughts you share with me.

I've been thinking a lot, lately, about something that I've found really difficult about being a Mom - being real about what parenthood is really like and letting my guard down.

I think too many of us, especially me, are afraid that we'll be judged if we admit to other people that we aren't always perfect. I know I saw this a lot when Parker was first born... Alan called it a "Mompetition"... let's compete to see who has the most perfect house, hair, child, car, life...

It isn't a competition based on reality... it is a competition based on the image we project. For me, it is that I am always smiling... I even smile when I feel horrible, frustrated or sad.

I realise that keeping my reality hidden actually pushes me away from others because they can only relate to me when they are happy... and nobody is always happy.

Yesterday someone told me that another Mom (neither of which follow my blog) commented I was always happy and didn't think I'd be able to handle the honest reality of another group of Moms who routinely share their parenting frustrations.

I was surprised, at first, because I always think of myself as a pretty open person and I know that I can empathise with these other moms because I have plenty of parenting frustrations. What I didn't realise was that my constant forced happy demeanor was alienating me from a group of people with which I likely have a lot in common.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it isn't open, honest or helpful to only share your happiness with the people around you. Sometimes you need to let people see your sadness, your dissappointment or your anger/frustration.

I think when we share both our 'light' and 'dark' sides with people, allow ourselves a little vulnerability, we make it possible to take our relationships to a whole new level.

When we open ourselves up, others will do the same and we can relate to so much more of what they are experiencing, because we actually know what it is. Our 'sameness' brings us closer and our vulnerability too. Who doesn't want closer, more satisfying relationships with others? Who doesn't want to feel more understood?

I know I do.

So, I will start... I struggle with anxiety. I have only recently been able to put a label on the feeling... I always just thought I was just a worrier, but now I accept it is something more serious.

It has been a life-long problem and I struggle everyday not to worry about things that are totally out of my control. I lay awake in bed at night thinking about my kids and worrying about the future. I am not comfortable taking anxiety medication, so I am doing other things to try and cope.

There, I said it....

So, what do YOU think?? Have you ever felt like you couldn't be real with someone about what you're experiencing or feeling because they will judge you? Have you experienced 'Mompetition'? Do you have friends that you tell EVERYTHING to? Do you only project the positive?


Jenn M said...

Yup. Its a daily battle that I have to face.. Real me can be a different shade then what I am. So I usually keep that me hidden. This year has made the real me bubble up at times and I try to push the emotional jenn back down.. So yup I get it.. :)

Jo-Ann said...

Yes, I too try to be positive. When I am not, I disappear. I have been on my own without a support system for so long that it is my only way to cope. I think I have forgotten how to ask for help.

Sad. Very very sad.

I applaud you on embracing your 'dark' side. Anxiety is not an easy thing to deal with. I hope by releasing it, you can get closer to being at peace with it. Everything is a balance, the trick is finding that balance.

Vals Quilting said...

Hey Li, hmm sounds like what we were talking about the other day, I totally agree especially with my Inlaws (whom I love) sometimes it's hard to show the "hard" times with them because they don't seem to share theirs with me or so I think.
Agree with you - the balance things is the most important as long as we show a little light and dark to us we stay real in the majority's eyes.
PS congrats on 100 posts!!