We, the regular contributing moms at Peanut Butter on the Keyboard, have a loop. A lot of the discussions on this loop are geared toward scheduling and guest bloggers and possible events/workshops, but an equal amount of our discussions center around crises in our lives as moms, significant others, friends, and authors.
For example, one of my crises a few months ago occurred when WonderGirl decided to color the living room walls, and I went to the other moms for a solution. Because, knowing kids, I knew someone else had been there before me. (Answer: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser)
Sometimes our crises are as simple as that. Sometimes they’re bigger, and delve into round-table discussions of emotional/psychological issues our children have, the different kinds of support we receive from our partners, or our surprise that, despite our best efforts, we just sometimes fail to do what we mean to do or what we did turned out in a way that we never intended.
At first, when we created this blog (Shana’s fantastic idea!), some of us had been friends for years and some of us just knew each other’s names as authors. The reaching out in those round-table discussions didn’t happen at first. We acted like I imagine all women (and moms) act when they first get together as a group–observing, testing, waiting to see where the group’s boundaries as a whole lie. We want to be nice, but are we too nice? Too open? Will our niceness be misinterpreted as letting all of our vulnerabilities hang out and no one actually has no idea what we’re talking about and we just made complete fools of ourselves? (Been there!)
But, over these past 7 months since we started PBK (I can’t believe it’s been 7 months already!), our relationships in the group have evolved and matured, and now I consider my fellow PBK moms as friends to whom I could basically tell anything. Because, let’s face it–there’s just something downright intimate about describing your child’s puke or poop to another person and begging for their expertise. =)
Interestingly enough, one of our discussions on the loop was about how we, as women and moms–and, yes, even authors–feel often that we can’t be ourselves around others. We always have to have a shield up; we can’t let others inside until we know that they’re trustworthy because we’ve all been burned too many times the other way around. On one hand, this makes me even more glad that I found a group of women among the PBK community (I’m including you, too, Dear Reader, in this), where I feel like I can truly be me. You know I’m not perfect. I know you’re not perfect. We’re all moms or know moms and realize that, with imperfect kids, only insanity makes us think that there can be such a thing as the perfect mom.
But, on the other hand, it makes me sad that this is so. I love women; I love how open and warm and kind we can be. I also am wary of women; I know how easily we judge one another and compare ourselves to each other and how we tend to group together in cliques that can be damaging just as much on the inside of the clique as it is on the outside. But–and maybe I’m stepping out on a limb here, and maybe it’ s just me, but I don’t think that’s the case–speaking from my heart, I think each of us women…whether you’re a mom or not, it doesn’t matter…LONGS for the transparency and openness and encouragement to be ourselves among other women, the kind of friendship we PBK moms have found.
I know how easy it is to judge other moms. Lord knows, I KNOW how easy that is. (Remember my post about the woman who sat her twins on potties while they were eating in the cafe a while back?) And I know that it’s even easier for us to compare ourselves to other women and find dozens of way where we’re lacking and want to say HALLELUJAH when we see a woman who actually is doing a little worse off than we are (again, see aforementioned potty training mom). Whether you’re at either of these points right now, I know each of us has been there in the past.
So, I just want to say this. Put it out there so you know.
You’re not alone.
Whatever you’re going through right now in your life–whether it’s loved ones in the hospital, financial issues, self-esteem issues, marital issues, kids with special needs, kids who are just ornery all the time, or kids you don’t know how to connect with… you’re not alone. We may not be going through the same exact situation, but we know your heartbreak and your worries and your struggles.
Truth: I can’t remember the last time my kids *only* watched 2 hours of TV a day. This is something I know is out of control, and I know I need to fix it, but it’s something I’m struggling with right now.
Truth: There are days when I feel like I’m superwoman and I can go after anything and be the strongest woman/best wife and mother I want to be. Then there are days (and there are quite a lot more of these!) when I feel like I let everyone down and just want to stay in bed all day, pull the covers over my head, and read my Kindle. =) Maybe start planning a vacation where I can go off BY MYSELF (no kids OR husband) for a couple of weeks.
Truth: I wish I was one of those moms who shave their legs twice a week (does anyone actually do this DAILY?) or wear make-up every day. If I shave my legs and put on my make-up, my husband thinks I have something special in mind for that night. I wish I was one of those moms who always has fun, crafty ideas for their kids and actually IMPLEMENT them and have fun while doing so. The last time the girls and I did a craft (creating finger puppets), it was a kit from Michael’s that WonderGirl destroyed half-way through and I ended up saying some things that I had to go back later and apologize for. My talents, obviously, are not in the crafts department.
So, what is the purpose of this post, you may be asking? Good question. =)
Here it is.
It’s not easy being you. You deserve compassion for all those times you don’t give it to yourself, a sincere hug for all those times you’re too afraid to put yourself out there for fear you’ll get hurt, and the assurance that, wherever you are now, whatever you’re going through, you truly are not alone.
There’s a need for every single one of us to be transparent. Of course I know we can’t be like that all the time–think how much more exhausted we would all be! But I suppose I’m encouraging you (and myself) to do something. The next time you see another woman, reach out in a way you might never have done before. And keep reaching. Who knows? Like the PBK moms, you might discover true and trustworthy friends you might never have otherwise.
I’m Elise Rome, AKA Midnight Mama because I’m usually burning the midnight oil. If SuperGirl (3, with a speech delay) and WonderGirl (1, my very own hip attachment) aren’t getting up in the middle of the night, then I’m busy working on writing and writing-related business until morning…usually 5 am or so. Both my husband and I stay home with the girls (he’s a writer, too! www.lukasholmes.com), but usually I’m focused on them throughout the day and only get started working until after 8pm when they’re both in bed. I’m a former Texan now living in Colorado who desperately misses no-snow winters, and my parenting goal is to raise my daughters to be strong, intelligent, and independent women…much like the heroines I write, as a matter of fact. I’m a recovering perfectionist, recovering procrastinator, and perpetually aspire to keep the house clean (because it never actually is). When I’m not chasing around my daughters or adoring my cooking/cleaning/diaper-changing husband of 8 years, I write historical romances about women who fascinate me and men who somehow always remind me of Rhett Butler, the first literary hero who captured my heart. www.eliserome.com