It’s no surprise that the past year and a half has changed many of our lives: kids being home more, work situations changing, uncertainty about the future and turmoil in our country. While I should have made more phone calls to check on friends this past year, I did reach out to some people who I knew were in stressful situations. The reoccurring theme of our conversations went something like this:
I don’t want to wish away the time, but I’m looking forward to easier times.
Times when I’m not homeschooling my kids full-time. Times when I don’t have to hush my kids while my husband is working in the other room. Times when I’m not worried about what job I will have next and how I will provide for my family. Times when I don’t have to stress about going out in public for fear I will get sick.
As moms, we feel a natural guilt about not being able to enjoy our kids in the moment. Maybe it goes back to the old adage, “You’re going to miss these days,” or because we don’t want to complain about how hard it is to raise kids. Other people have done it for centuries and in much harder circumstances, so certainly I can raise kids with all of the modern advances and technology!
But do we give ourselves enough credit for how we feel about our current society?
I don’t think we do. I think most moms bottle up their anxiety for fear they will be judged. They pretend like life is not as stressful as it really is. Then their anxiety surfaces in a different, more harmful way. While social media and FaceTime have improved our ability to connect with people far away, has it really improved our ability to connect with others when we need support? Have we actually gotten better at asking for help or discussing our emotions? The statistics tell us that we have not. Many more moms are being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease and even cancer than every before.
Stress is a real problem that needs to be dealt with intentionally and consistently.
I think the first step is recognition. Allowing ourselves to acknowledge that whatever we are coping with is tough. And just because the next phase may have its own challenges, doesn’t mean we should be afraid to say “I’m really looking forward to the time when (insert idea)”.
The days are going to pass anyway. You’re still going to have the same responsibilities and struggles whether you complain about it or not. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not encouraging you to be ungrateful. I’m simply saying, it’s okay to admit this is hard.
If you’re going through a time, my challenge to you is to find someone who will listen and call them. Ask if you can vent. Just because you need to talk about your situation, doesn’t mean you are not grateful for all of the blessings God has given you. They are not mutually exclusive!