There’s this thing that we do when we talk to other parents… we listen to their troubles, the things their children do that they struggle with, that drive them round the bend, and we say things like “Oh yeah, mine do exactly that too…” We all do it. It’s an attempt at solidarity, to show people they’re not alone, to try and make them feel okay that things are hard because we feel it too and it is hard.
Sometimes though, it sort of does the opposite for me. I look at social media, the trips and days out people take, the crafts they do at home (I mean seriously, why would you be willing to give your child paint in your home??), and then I hear people saying “My children are the same as yours” and I think to myself “Then what the hell is wrong with me? Why are you coping when I feel like the world is crashing down around me most days?” But then I realised… I put the funny things my children say on social media. The things they do that are cute. Only my very closest people know how difficult things get, or see my tears, or know just how much prescription medication it takes to keep me functioning!
So here it is: the last couple of weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever had. The details are neither here nor there really, except to say that it’s added a few thousand more miles to an already very long road. But if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I understand that your struggles are no less real to you than mine are to me; that your mountains seem just as big, and that I empathise and I care. Most people do, it’s just not always easy to show it. There’s a quote by Regina Brett that says:
“If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure who Regina Brett is, but I’ve heard this quote in many similar guises over the years, and it makes sense to me. Most days anyway! It’s the devil you know, it’s familiar, which is much less scary than an unknown quantity. So we plod on…