05 Jul Never let them see you run
It was 2:30pm. I found them in the TV lounge. Again. For the third time today, after telling them about 300 times that there was to be no more TV until evening. Just a few moments before, they’d been building forts at the back of the garden. I lost it. No shouting or stern words. Just big, hot tears. I couldn’t manage to keep them in like I’d been able to since 4am when the baby finally fell asleep but I was wide awake listening to the birds waking up (why do body clocks even exist when you have newborns?!).
As I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks, as the TV went off without me having said a word, I thought to myself “don’t let them see you cry”. Then in the very next second, the thought that followed was “why the hell not?”. And so, I sat down and let them see the frustration and sadness and helplessness and sleepless nights manifest in tears as I explained very simply why their mom was crying. There were nods and hugs and “sorry mommy”. I felt relieved. Relieved that they knew how hard I was trying, and how much I needed them to help me help them. Relieved that they knew it was ok to cry when we felt sad. Relieved that they knew that it’s ok to feel grumpy when we hadn’t slept properly.
Most of the time, we try to protect our children from our emotions, from the truth of what’s going on in our hearts and minds. And some of the time that is necessary. It’s like Rachel Hollis explains in one of her books – “never let them see you run”. Don’t let your children see you react to the fires that flame up as you live your real life, don’t alarm them, keep it cool, keep the equilibrium. It’s true, there are some situations and circumstances that we should protect our children from. I’m not a psychologist, but it’s probably because their level of emotional maturity can’t process things like adults do. Big emotions for adults are gigantic emotions for kids.
But today, it was right for them to see the tears. It was right for them to listen to the explanation and know that today was a difficult day and that even when things are hard, they are loved and we have so much to be grateful for. It was right for them to know that we are all trying our best in a season that is tough. I don’t know what the experts would say about how today played out, but whether I was right or wrong, I thought I should share our story today because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom who’s sad and angry and frustrated (and all the other feelings going on!) with the pandemic raging around us and how it has wreaked havoc with life as we knew it.
Keep going mama, keep doing what you can, when you can. Hug them and love them hard. They see you and, in their eyes, no one does it better than you.