Honestly, I Want To See You Be Brave

When I started writing thefunctionalmom.com, I made this promise to myself:

Be honest. No matter what. 

For many years, I blogged (and Facebooked) about the best of who I am. I showed the shiny, admirable parts of my life. I wasn’t necessarily trying to show off; I just thought no one wanted to see the ugly parts.

I didn’t want to see the ugly parts. Why would anyone else want to??

To a certain measure, this remains true. Let’s just say my fourth child isn’t potty training so well, and I’ve used the carpet steam cleaner five times this week. No one wants to see that. I can barely talk about it without dry heaving.

{Consequently, this little potty training issue has set back my daughter’s hopes for a dog approximately 900 years.}

A weird thing happened, though, when I put only my best online…I started holding myself to my own manufactured standard.

I would lament to Brett about how horrible of a mom I was…I would feel guilty about every misstep…I was so hard on myself.

All the while, I was actually a really great mom. Not perfect. Not shiny. Not blogworthy. But still great.

Then 2014 happened. I have no way to explain it, except to say it was a crappy year. There were exactly zero reasons why this should have been a bad year: life was good, our business was growing, my kids were great, my marriage was fine, and I had awesome friends.

Yet I was unhappy. And miserable. And I cried a lot.

For literally no reason.

A year ago, I signed up for a writing challenge, to write for 30 days straight. I was in such a life rut that I wanted to make myself do something hard(ish), even though I wasn’t sure if I could come up with enough words to write for 30 days straight.

Early on in the challenge, I wrote about the disillusionment of social media (originally posted on a different blog of mine).

And (not to be dramatic) it was life changing.

I was so so so so nervous when I published that blog because I felt like I was really putting myself out there.

I do not like to be vulnerable and admit weakness. Not because I care what you think of me (even though I kinda do), but because I don’t actually like to be weak. I prefer to have it together. And I preferred not to admit when I didn’t.

But when I wrote that blog and received such kind feedback, it changed me.

I began to realize the power in admitting weakness. I began to understand the camaraderie that comes with showing the parts of my life that are anything but shiny and definitely not admirable.

I began to be free. And my manufactured ideals faded away.

When I experienced the power of being honest, everything changed for me.

I stopped being so hard on myself. I loosened the reins of my definition of a good mom. I hardly ever cry about what a terrible mom I am and how badly I am screwing up my kids.

I have given myself permission to be human. To be flawed. To be imperfect.

In turn, my friends have permission to be human. To admit mistakes. To talk about the aspects of parenting that drive us to crazytown and make us cuss a little.

In the last year of making the conscious choice to tell the truth about raising kids, I have felt so free and so alive. It has been unnerving at times…when I feel the temptation to retreat back to shiny-ville (my house is so clean there)…but those nerves are always unfounded. Mostly because you all have been so kind to me. And affirmed to me that we are not as alone as our thoughts tell us we are.

Just last week, a sweet friend of mine group messaged me and another mom about what a hard day she was having. She has a newborn, toddler, and preschooler…just writing that makes me want to take a nap…and it was just one of those crappy days.

I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome that exchange became. It lasted (on and off) all day and covered important topics like The Bachelor, how nursing boobs are practically a free boob job, the magical crack that is Coke, middle children, and we lamented about potty training…
 photo 75D5FC92-0B8E-4B80-A782-C99DCD16AF7F_zps3bvqpq8a.jpg

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. One of our toddlers peed a work of footprint art that very day.

Honesty is the best. My friend’s awful day didn’t necessarily improve, but at least she knew she wasn’t alone. My other friend and I shared our own experiences and our coping mechanisms. We’ve so been there, and we have lived to tell about it.

I cannot begin to tell you the depth of friendship that’s created when you’re real and normal. But I am also well aware that this type of friendship is not easy to come by and so many of you do not have anyone to turn to when life plain sucks. And when you want to sell your kids to pirates.

There is no magic formula to this, but I do have some ideas to get you started.

  1. There is probably someone in your life (co-worker, neighbor, a fellow PTA mom) who has piqued your interest. Invite her out for coffee and get to know her. Over time, be open about the hard parts of your life. Sometimes it may be met with disinterest, but most often, you will find it reciprocated and deeply valued.
  2. Take current friendships to a new level. About three years ago, three other girls and I decided to make our friendship a priority. We get together once a month for dinner (and recently started meeting at the park on Friday nights with pizza for our kids to play and us to talk). In three years, we’ve missed maybe one month. One of the four moved away, so we added another friend. I did not know these women all that well when we started…and now they’re amazing, faithful friends.
  3. Join a moms’ group in your area.
  4. You can friend me on Facebook and confide in me anytime. I love old friends, and I love new friends!

Friendship is the only possible way to make it through motherhood alive. I am certain of this. There is the perception that women are the worst to each other, and perhaps there is merit in that. But if you’ve written off trusting women, I encourage you to give us another try.

There are lots of awesome women out there craving deep friendships. Be brave and invite someone new into your life. And instead of pretending you have it all together, admit the hard and show your true self.

There is such freedom in doing so.

As I heard Glennon Doyle Melton say this past weekend, “You can either be perfect and admired or real and loved.”

I have chosen real. And I have never felt more loved.
**************

I plan to do the 30 day writing challenge again this year!
If you aren’t already following my blog, now would be a great time to sign up!
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3 thoughts on “Honestly, I Want To See You Be Brave

  1. Found this post through a mutual friend of ours, I couldn’t even finish reading it before screaming “yes” over and over in my head. That’s the approach I’m trying with my blog on this new adventure of motherhood too (my daughter is barely 3 weeks old). Love your post and can’t wait to see more! Thank you for your honesty!!

    Like

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