There’s this form of mom bullying that’s impossible to be angry at. It’s the hug-your-kids-a-little-tighter-because-I-can’t one.
I’ve done an experiment over this past summer and fall. It’s less experiment and more postpartum hormones ripping my emotional armor off and then adding in sleep deprivation. I’ve been signing my way through hundreds of compassionate petitions and I’m on too many action-for-justice mailing lists. I’ve been reading the news, which is a terrible idea.
It’s bad out there.
School shootings, kids with cancer without access to experimental drugs, refugee families watching children die, boys being sexually abused.
I have boys. I look at them and think I would kill anyone who ripped their innocence away. I hug them a lot, praying that we can continue to give them the gift of a carefree childhood, that they will stay healthy, that they know how much we love them.
I’m constantly looking at my children and thinking about how grateful I am that they are simply here. I’m always asking them, “Do you know that I love you so, so much?” They say yes. Or more likely, K-Pants growls.
Living like this is breaking my heart.
There’s this pall of sadness that I’ve taken on from the world. And I need to untether myself from it for a bit. The sadness is always there, and I will always have access to it. Sometimes it will find us without us looking.
But I need permission to go on about living my daily life for a while. I need permission to get frustrated when my four-year-old whines all day. I need permission to feel overwhelmed and isolated spending my days with a baby. I need permission to acknowledge my blessings and then have a few bad days of parenting. The kind of days where other parents look at me and think that it all goes by too fast and is too precious and if only they could let that angry mom over there know what they know.
And if you need this permission, I want to give it to you, too.
Be mad. Get frustrated. Just do this day, in whatever way gets you through it. On balance, hopefully you’ll look back and feel like you were a good parent through the crap life threw at you. Hopefully your kids are here, and they are independent and kind. Hopefully you don’t stop moms in the grocery store and say, “That age was my favorite. I hope you’re savoring every moment, because it goes by so fast.”
But let’s be real, I’m totally going to stop parents in the grocery store. And I’m going to exhort them to enjoy every moment, and not let the little things bug them, because they just don’t matter. But for now, just do this day, be it terrible or wonderful. Don’t beat yourself up. I’d like to give you permission.