I just returned home from a refreshing visit with a girlfriend. Our kids are close in age and they play well together making a play date fun for both children and adults.
What made this particular visit wonderful wasn’t the delicious and healthy snack she served. (Although she did make a wonderful applesauce cake and I came home with the recipe.) What made this visit wonderful was the honesty shared between us.
We openly discussed potty training, controversial discipline, frustration and even the dreaded yelling that clamors up our throats and burst through our lips at the end of an exhausting day.
We shared a chuckle when we admitted that we each thought the other had it all together all the time. Clearly, from the outside looking in, our homes and families seem perfect.
I felt a whole lot better about a whole lot of things as I walked home with my kids. I’m not the only mother that struggles with yelling. I’m not the only mother that goes to bed discouraged and frustrated. I’m not the only mother that wishes every day was easier, instantly rewarding, and totally fulfilling.
I suspect most mothers struggle with feelings of failure. Sadly, many women refuse to be transparent in these struggles.
There could be many reasons for this lack of transparency. In order to be transparent, I need to feel safe. I need to believe the person with whom I am sharing will not judge me for my actions. I need this person to be more than a casual acquaintance or a co-worker. They need to be my friend. You cannot force an intimacy like this.
Building a friendship that supports this kind of vulnerability requires a serious investment of time. It also requires a certain level of humility. It’s difficult to admit a perceived failure. It is especially difficult to admit it to someone who appears to handle life with ease.
I feel very fortunate to have a small circle of friends who welcome this kind of honesty from me. Today that circle enlarged a little bit more.