Wednesday 16 January 2019. Day 4: As an apparently capable woman, I am guilty of putting on a brave face to my family and friends, and in particular to my children, when the world appears to be falling down around me. I’m sure we can all think of an occasion when we were really scared, but to protect our little ones and make them feel safe, we forced a bright smile and reassured them by saying ‘it will all be fine’.
When my youngest daughter (who is 19) discovered I was attempting to write this blog, she was very encouraging. Upon reading my profile tagline however, she was genuinely mystified. In her words – ‘you don’t have children to juggle! You have one teenage daughter who lives at home and your other daughter is 30 and has her own house, a husband and baby!’.
In response to her bluntly honest judgement (she’s an expert in that), I asked if she didn’t see me dropping everything on a precious weekend day (a longed to be cleaned bathroom, a week’s worth of dirty laundry still heaped on the utility room floor, last night’s and this morning’s unwashed plates piled up in the kitchen sink – you get the picture) in order to go help her sister out if she’s had a sleepless night with the baby (whilst I’m coping with the effects of yet another heat fuelled sleepless night coupled with the onset of a migraine) as juggling children?!
I am therefore left wondering if the poker face I have beautifully mastered over the years has created the illusion that I appear to be managing life, and subsequently parenthood, so well? Surprisingly so even to my own children; the people who live and breathe with me; the ones who claim to know me better than myself. Has this ‘it’s all going to be fine’ facade actually helped them and me by inadvertently giving them a false impression of motherhood and myself? At what point do we tell our kids that actually no, I am not okay, I am drowning? More importantly, why do we not speak the truth when we teach our children not to lie?
I don’t have the answers. I’m a regular mum who has been winging it without the aid of a parenthood bible for 30 years. My children are beautiful people and if I wasn’t their mum, I would choose them as friends. They’ve grown up far too quickly and I can’t go back and change the way I behaved. As adults, I think they’re starting to know the real me, and hopefully they like me, imperfections and all.
So, as I prepare for another day at work (with a slight detour to see my GP to talk about HRT patches before I head to the office), do I face my colleagues with my poker face or do I actually tell them how I really am? The average age of my coworkers is around 27 so maybe I’ll bend the truth a little.
It will all be fine.
Until next time, keep smiling and wait until you have that long overdue coffee and catch-up with your girlfriends where you can let rip and say it as it is!