Posted by: Morgan | July 22, 2011

Feel free

Quite a while ago I received a private message on Facebook that made me stop.

“Morgan, I’m rather jealous of you. I was writing a blog post about how, from my POV, publicly discussing the frustrations, difficulties, tears, etc. that come with motherhood is not socially acceptable. As I was writing I was thinking of all the times I’ve posted on FB about being frustrated with this or that and someone overreacts. Then I thought of you, and how you have no qualms about making a quick post saying that you’re currently or on the verge of having a good cry. So, I’m jealous of your freedom.”

My first thought one was of sadness for this friend who felt constrained by others.  What a sad world we live in when mothers feel torn down, criticized, and generally judged for expressing the raw human emotion that comes with being a mom.  Mothers (and fathers) are raising the next generation of people…we have actually mini-human beings put into our care…so who more could use encouragement and support than they?  This friend was speaking of times when she allowed to world to see through the protective walls she had put up, to see her true self at that moment in its fragile state.  At a time when she already felt beaten down by life, she felt judged for admitting that.  And how could one judge her, I wondered, if they had ever been in that place before?  And then my mind began pondering.

Over the past 2 1/2 years since I became a mama I have had several friends who I think of as being the ‘perfect mom’; they always have their hair and makeup done, a lovely outfit with some sort of accessory, an organized diaper bag, a nice car, an expensive jogger stroller, and their kids always have clean, coordinating clothes on (which is a big deal for me).  I often feel gawky and inexperienced next to them.  I watch them parenting their children with smiles and firm direction, and feel like I’m falling apart before their eyes.  We have children the exact same ages, but I find mys elf wondering with desperation where to find the parenting book that they apparently were given but that I missed, because they seem so much more confident and sure of what they’re doing that I am.

And then there would be one mother who would make a small comment to me, telling me that she felt so flustered next to me.  All the feelings I had about others she had about me. Or someone would say that I seemed so composed and put together as my toddler screamed at me during a playdate.  Sometimes there would be a moment when I would reveal my struggle and the woman I was talking with would completely relax and her face would light up “Oh! I’m so glad I’m not the only one!”.  There was freedom.

It was in direct reaction to this that I decided I wanted to be transparent.  Completely and at all times, transparent to anyone and everyone.  This is already slightly my nature to be open with who I am, but this conscious decision felt different.  I wasn’t going to allow myself the vanity of concealing my flaws; I was supposed to be the one who everyone could be free around, even if only because they could feel that they had it more together than I did.

So I am who I am.  I work hard at fighting my pride and revealing to others what is really going on in my head and home.  This includes declarations of complete meltdowns at 3 weeks postpartum, and posting photos of my house wherein you cannot see any floorspace (or even my daughter, playing among the things scattered across the house).  It includes being honest about our financial situation and telling people the real reason I can’t make it to a playdate is because I can’t afford gas.   It also means I ask a lot more questions and try to listen to a lot more answers.

As I thought about my friend’s message to me I realized that I am free, but I fight for that freedom.  And once I’ve claimed it, I don’t worry if others feel I shouldn’t have it.  I ignore the attempts to push me back into an opaque box, and keep being free to be transparent.  It’s so wonderful because I have had so many more people tell me God has used me to encourage them than ever before in my life.  I’ve been able to make others feel ok and normal, so glad that they aren’t the only ones who don’t get the to the laundry or let their children run around in diapers all day long (every single day).

And then there are small moments when I get to peek into the lives of those ‘perfect moms’, and suddenly I realize I just don’t normally actually see into their lives.  Maybe they take the time to do their hair and makeup (on this topic, I still wonder at them), and perhaps they have the means to buy accessories, strollers and nice cars, and maybe their kids actually wear clothes (lots of people do)… but they also are confused about this whole thing called parenting, they have laundry scattered about their house when they aren’t expecting company, and they have plenty of postpartum breakdowns.  So I have concluded that none of us truly have it together, which I think we like to believe in theory but never live out with freedom.

I feel I must conclude these thoughts with admitting that any freedoms I have come from Christ.  I only hope that through me He can help more moms feel free to be who they are, to ask for the help they need, and to in turn be transparent for others.

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Responses

  1. Confused…

  2. Beautiful post and so true. Nobody is perfect. Christ gives us the freedom to be true to ourselves and that’s a beautiful gift. Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts! Have a wonderful weekend!

    Jenny

  3. I love you Morgan!

  4. I’m not sure I completely agree that everyone should be transparent.. It’s not necessary for everyone to know you inside out. I appreciate a bit of pretence; I like preparing my house before someone arrives and I expect them to do the same when I visit their house.
    Displaying yourself as flawed invites unwelcome advice which I detest. It shouldn’t be all or nothing.

    • I don’t believe I was trying to say everyone should be completely transparent, but rather that we shouldn’t be afraid of being so. For me, at this point in my life, it is all right now, but I don’t mind when other’s choose to not show every single flaw.

      I do want to make those who hide their flaws to think of how that effects others, though. Being real with others can be an amazing way to bless someone and yourself.

  5. I’m still jealous of that freedom. The cost for me of having that freedom is possibly too much for me to bear. I don’t want to be completely transparent. I prefer if others don’t see my house messy, don’t hear of my childish outbursts, and don’t know of the times that I yell at my child in a fit of frustration and anger. I do, however, want more freedom. Freedom to tell the world I don’t have it together, freedom to reach out briefly to people when I’m down for encouragement, freedom to reveal myself for a moment when I need encouragement or help, and freedom to be somewhat transparent so I can be an encouragement to others. That is the freedom I don’t have. The cost to have that freedom is, well not one I’m willing to pay. Instead I have private breakdowns with my husband, I confess my downfalls to one or two very close friends, I let in some and keep most out. Maybe someday that will change.

    Thanks for this Morgan, and thanks for being transparent. Luv ya!


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