Lunchtime Confessions

I had a chance to sit for a little while and have a some (almost) uninterrupted time with a few other moms. These were moms I trust, people I respect and share many values with. They happen to be moms that are also homeschooling their kids. That mattered in the fact that we share some unique challenges, as pointed out by one of my friends. Not more challenges than moms that send their kids to school, not harder challenges, just different. It is good to have someone in your boat.

Then it happened – I made a confession, well several of them. I shared with these moms some incidents that occured recently in my house that lead to a real mommy meltdown. I told them, embarrassed, about some of terrible behavior that my kids exhibited. I told them my equally terrible responses. I shared some things I was really ashamed of. I told them about some things going on in my house that I was certain were really defective. I waited for their reaction.

If you are a mom, you have probably been in a conversation with other moms when the ‘Mompetition’ was high. Some understated bragging about what a ‘good mom’ they were, how advanced/fantastic/athletic/well-behaved/smart their kids are. Sugar-coated, glossy glimpses of family life. All’s well. We’re good. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s not. This was not that kind of conversation.

My confessions were met with empathy and understanding. My frustration and disappointment were validated. My friends shared their own short comings and struggles of their own. We shared many of the same concerns and fears. We are moms who are striving to do what is good and right for our kids and find that many times we are falling horribly short of our own expectations. But sharing these perceived failures was like unpacking a backpack full of lies. The lie that everyone else is doing this better than me. The lie that there is a ‘perfect mother’ who I am trying to live up to. The lie that my bad days and mistakes will overtake the love & care & good times that are the norm around here. The lie that I am not good enough. The lie that people will find out I am less than perfect and hold it against me.

That backpack gets heavy once and while. It drags me down, it pulls on me until I find myself flattened by it’s weight. But my friends, today, lightened my load. They freed me to return to my mission of mothering a little lighter. Thank you, friends. Let’s do that again.

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