Feet first- an airless descent.
With a heavy splash, she enters the water.
The bubbles overtake her head.
They float to the top, as if a means for survival.
She feels the blue water surround her body and soak through her hair.
She asks if this is her destiny.
This sensation of feeling overwhelmed and overtaken by faint whispers of accusations and hidden self-doubt:
“She can do better. She’s not a good mom. She’ll never get it all done. She needs to discipline her kids. She’s doing too much. She needs to clean her house. She needs to lose weight. She doesn’t deserve to be a mom…”
These thoughts propel her deeper.
The cause of her sudden plummet off said clift…
Was it her well-defined, straight-laced definition of motherhood?
Or the social media persecution for her decision to vaccinate.
Or maybe her weekly mom’s gathering in which most of the moms proclaimed authoritarianism and complete control over their households and children.
In true Stepford wives fashion, the subtle judgements of other mothers pushed her towards the cliff.
And now she is drowning.
Drowning from the gap between imaginary perfection and life’s reality.
She’s the mom that works 2 jobs to pay bills, and yet feels guilty for working so much.
She’s the mom who holds deep fears that her children will get hurt one day, because she is secretly still hurting.
She’s the mom who doesn’t do well helping her kids on projects and holds questionable cooking skills, but has forgotten how many other things she does well.
She’s the mom of a kid with special needs, who can’t help feeling like it’s her fault.
She’s the mom whose child just had a complete meltdown, and everyone just stopped and stared.
She’s the mom who watches the news and is terrified to send her kids to school, because she doesn’t know if they will return home safely.
She’s drowning in her own guilt and doubt, and deeply wishes that you would help save her with a little kindness.
Pull her out of the water by a little less judgement (if you see her kid screaming, offer to help and don’t just stare).
Pull her up by supporting her well-researched and 6-month-long-final-decision to not vaccinate and homeschool (disagree if you must, but be nice).
Pull her up by saying “Hello” to her child that is nonverbal.
Lift her up by randomly telling her she’s a good mom by choosing time with kids, over a museum-like clean house.
Lift her up if she decides she wants a career.
Lift her up if she wants to stay home with her kids.
Organic or non-organic
Breast or bottle
Homeschool or Private School
Vegetables or Fast Food
Co-sleeping or Cry-it-out
College or Trade School
Gluten-free or Carb-loaded
Lift her up because she is a mother. She loves her kids. She tries equally as hard as you. Her ultimate goal is to have happy, successful kids.
If you see her drowning by the weight of the world, by the hard task of parenting, or by the judgements of society-
If you see her bashed on social media or if you see her doubting her mothering skills and abilities…
Promise to save her, lift her up, and refuse to let her drown.
Keli Gooch is a writer, mental health therapist, and a special needs mom. Keli is the creator of Bully Resistance, the 2018 initiative and curriculum for school districts. You can read more at www.keligooch.com or visit Facebook at Keli Gooch, Writer.