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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

Mommas, it’s okay not to say, “I’m fine,” when we’re struggling. Take it from Prince.

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Any of you moms able to relate to feeling alone, confused, overwhelmed, desperate—like at the same time? How about afraid, depressed tense, trapped, and angry—about one situation?

These emotions are only a few of the feely things we tend to hide beneath our mask of contentment. These are also just a few of the things we should start getting real honest about it in our real life as a real mom. Eventually, all the fake it til we make it holding us together is going to unravel anyway.

So, for the love of all things mushy, mixed up, maddening, magical, melodramatic and magnificent, just when will we feel safe being honest about how we’re feeling as a mom? Why do we pretend to be all variations of ‘fine’ when we are fully aware that vanilla does not accurately depict our frame of mind?

Regardless of why we pretend, the important thing is what we choose to do about it. I believe the best gift we can give ourselves and others is to be authentic about all the feels swirling inside us. Choosing to be vulnerable creates a wellspring of healing salve for everyone—which goes a forever way since we tend to carry the weight of ten worlds on our shoulders.

So how do we do the I’m gonna tell it like it is thing? Where do we get the courage and resolve to wear our diary on our sleeve?

First, we need to call our own bluff and consider the lunacy of our pretending. The mom dictionary says this about the phrase I’m fine: liar liar, yoga pants on fire. We should also call our counterpart moms bluff because they are often fibbing right along with us.

Next, we should consider the lyrics in a popular song by a musical legend. You may not have considered Prince to be a pillar of wisdom for mothers and our mushy insides, but I think he’s genius. Consider his words in Let’s Go Crazy (no irony in this song title either):

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” (cue deep organ sounds)

Emphasis on we are gathered.

Emphasis on WE specifically.

Laser focus on we, as in not me or I.

As in together we get through this thing called life. As in together is how we get through motherhood.

The Creator kinda sorta had this communal vibe in mind from the beginning. And as mommas, we need other moms in the village to help us village. We cannot do this mothering gig solo, at least not very well.

The thing is, there’s no magic in the masquerading for us or for the person asking the question, especially if she is another mom. If we use smoke and mirrors, she’ll likely stuff her true feelings back down to match our perceived confidence and joy.

Let’s get real for ourselves and for each other. The next time someone asks us how we’re feeling, let’s tell the truth. We shouldn’t be surprised when the person asking says, “Me too.” It is from this shared and sacred space we can strengthen one another and heal.

If you are dealing with all kinds of momma emotions, download 3 FREE Chapters of Shelby's new book with Lisa Leshaw, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")

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