Several weeks ago I sat down at my computer and did what I often do when I feel tired – I started looking on Facebook. It actually never makes me feel better, in fact, unintentionally I find myself comparing my life to everyone else’s. I know better, but I do it anyways.
However this one afternoon, I was captured by the picture in Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog post. It was exactly what I felt like doing and the first few sentences were exactly what I was feeling.
“At the start of every summer I feel overly hopeful and enthusiastic. I decide that this summer I will be SUPER MOM . . . It will be just like summer camp at our house.” She goes on to say that it doesn’t turn out to be close to her expectations.
And at that moment, I knew that I wasn’t alone. There are other mothers that share hopes for a magical summer full of nature walks, adventures, connection, and lazy days. There are also mothers like me that are faced with the truth that what we had hoped for with best intentions doesn’t always pan out the way we would like.
But simmering underneath, even in the comfort that I was not alone, was a degree of motherhood shame that I am somehow can’t get it right.
In many conversations that I’ve had this summer with dear friends, I was reminded that we all have moments when we feel like we aren’t getting it right. We aren’t getting it right with our kids, our marriage, at work, with a friend, a parent, etc. In every story I witnessed a friend sharing her feelings of inadequacy, all I could see was a tremendously loving and courageous woman.
And so this week when I WAS getting it right with my children. A long bike ride along Navy Pier with my daughter or an intense night of cards with my son, I wanted to capture it. Take a picture and post that I WAS GETTTING IT RIGHT. I secretly wanted to be recognized and “Liked” that someone saw me in my happy moments, knowing that there were many days this summer where I felt like Glennon.
I refrained from putting it out there on Facebook, knowing that at anytime the moment could shift. . . and it did and it did again.
I was reminded this summer of the friendships I have where I can be myself and show up just as I am. I am deeply appreciative of those relationships.
The more open we are with kind, loving, and supportive friends, the deeper our connections become. Friendships grow into lifelines and support.
Berne Brown, author and shame researcher, says that shame needs three things to grow: secrecy, silence, and judgment. The antidote to shame is empathy. How we work with shame depends on knowing that we are not alone and the only way is through connection with another human being.
Human beings are designed for connection . . . we need each other.