Posted in Authors, Blog, Daughter, Featured, Friends, Mother, Rebecca

Does it get better from here?

I was at a friend’s house recently discussing some important issues related to Motherhood that are hot button topics for us. One of them that came up was this, when someone friend or stranger says, “It gets better from here”. Sometimes it’s even prefaced with a “Trust me.” Or “I promise”.

First of all, I will start by saying to these people that I do understand their heart and where they are coming from. But let’s be honest. I’ve actually been in line at the grocery store with my screaming 3 month old that is hungry and just had a blowout. I also didn’t have a change of clothes OR a diaper. I had to get groceries that day but waited too long in the day so now I was at the grocery store with all the other 9,000 people that needed food at 5pm. I’m bouncing around trying to soothe my son while unloading the cart. He throws his binky across the floor and I didn’t even plan to go pick it up.

“Pay and get out of here. Pay and get out of here. Just get to the car. And then get home.” Focus.

Meanwhile, I’m getting this flashbacks of how peaceful and easy the shopping trips of the past were. Ahhhh, being alone at the grocery store, the shopping mall. No interruptions. No snack breaks. No leaking through my shirt. No trying to find a place to nurse.  Can I just PUH LEEESE press a button and be transported back to those days? Can I click my feet twice and just make this all go away?

“Maam, are you ok?” Huh?

The older lady across the aisle was staring at me with a concerned look. I could tell she was a little worried about me. But I was…

“Oh yeah, I’m fine. Oh, I’m good, everything is great.” Riiiiiiight. She knew the truth, I didn’t have to say it.

“Well hun, I just want to tell you that it only gets better from here. You’ll get through this.”

Yeah whatever lady. Just pay and get out of here, I’m thinking again.

Hours later when I had put out all the blazing fires, I was alone and thinking back to earlier. How did it get so crazy so fast at the store? Things really spiraled out of control and I thought everything was fine until all hell broke loose.

Then I remembered what the lady said. Things will get better. Good. I am COUNTING ON IT LADY!! 

That was more than 2 years ago. My son is almost 3. I have seen the later days and things did not get better. Why did she say that?

I feel like people say this because they want to be the hero in the moment. It’s all about them really. They see me struggling and it makes them uncomfortable. Maybe I’m causing a scene with my 2 yr old throwing his 5th tantrum in the Target aisle and all eyes are on me. Or whatever.

I just have never felt like they are saying it from an authentic place. Is that statement supposed to change my entire day? Oh, things get better from here. Yippee….(as I skip happily out of the grocery store.)

Don’t freakin tell me things will get better. WHY? Because you are not God. You don’t know if or when things WILL ACTUALLY get better for me. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. And that’s the truth.

Maybe she does have good intentions but here’s what would have actually felt more authentic to say.

“Hey. I see you look like you’re having a hard time today. I can relate. I’ve been there. I know how hard it is. You’ll have some bad days, you’ll have some good days. Just know you aren’t alone. You seem like a great mom and that you really care about your kids. That’s the most important thing.”

Or something like that. Is it just me? This would have been WAY more encouraging. It reminds me of when someone asks me, “How are you?” We reply, “good” without thinking about it. Do they even care? Do I even care that they asked? Why did I say good when things are actually terrible? Because no one cares, it’s just a formality. We’re all walking around with our heads up our a**es and no one cares anymore.

*on a side note*, when my husband are were first dating, he would ask me how I was doing. I would say “oh, good.” Then he’d say, “how are you really doing?”. He’d repeat it until I actually answered the question. It’s a question that can lead to hours of honest conversation, if we care and are willing to listen.

For me, this is just a call to action. A friend at church was struggling with her son’s first ear infection. He only wanted Mommy. She was tired from work and from being the sole person that her son would allow to be soothed by. I didn’t tell her “it gets better from here”. I gave her a hug, a long one, and told her to “hang in there, it’s tough, sometimes it sucks, I’ve been there, I’m here for you, and you’ll get through it, and then we’ll go out for a girls night.”

Sometimes we just want to be acknowledged for how hard it is. For the fact that we give and give and give of ourselves to seemingly get nothing back but a quick smile, maybe some cuddles, and an “I love you Dada.” (This is where we are at right now. My son looks in my eyes and says, I love you Dada, and then runs away laughing histerically. It was cute at first, but sometimes it actually hurts.)

We want to be recognized for all that we do, all that we are. TODAY. My life is a huge pile of messes. To-do lists not finished, laundry not folded, dishes not washed. Saying it gets better from here implies to me that where I am today is not beautiful. That it’s not where I want to be. But it IS. It’s where I am. It’s absolutely where I want to be. And it’s perfect.

It may or may not get better from here. I’m ok with that. I surrender to what today is and what tomorrow brings.

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