Showing emotion has too long been viewed as a sign of weakness. “Tough” and “strong” meant holding in how you were really feeling, especially as a mom trying to juggle it all. Fear of being judged or being seen as weak or imperfect prevented us from sharing our emotions. No one wanted to be the odd woman or mom out. But unlike the lyrics of the song most of us know from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, big girls do cry. Shedding a tear doesn’t make you a wimp or pathetic; it makes you real.
Whether you are the mother of a newborn, a toddler, or a teenager, parenting is hard. And although the problems may change (getting your little one to sleep through the night to getting your teenager to come home at night), tackling them is equally as challenging. It can drive the sanest of us insane! Add to that another child or two, and the tasks don’t double, they quadruple: your head is spinning. Without your Google calendar attached to your hip telling you whom to pick up and when, you would be lost. But sometimes, even the most organized planner, the best parenting books, and the cleanest diaper bag can’t replace how lost you really feel.
Fear of being seen as lesser, imperfect, or subpar makes most of us hold our feelings in. And as the emotions build, so do the walls we put up to hide how we are really feeling. But the walls not only keep our feelings hidden, but they also keep the support of others out. They prevent us from making contact, from building relationships, and from seeking help.
When we share how we feel, our failures, and our fears, we create community. We create connections. We work together. And together, as a unit of women, moms, partners, sisters, and friends, we can stand stronger. Start a movement of honesty and truth by being honest and true with who you are and your fallibilities. You never know whom your words will reach and whom you will inspire.
So, take it from two big girls who frequently cry: crying is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a pretty good thing. Just find the shoulder of someone you trust when you do. It will make the whole process a whole lot easier!