You may be wondering what a Mombie is, but you’ve seen her at the Mall.
Dark rings under her bloodshot eyes.
No make up.
Cereal smeared down her shirt.
Her toddler is crying because he can’t hold his truck and his juice bottle in the same hand, and the baby is licking the handle of the trolley. Inside the trolley you’ve seen the standard Mombie shopping list – wine, rice cakes, and cartoon-themed yoghurt. Because we all know that yoghurt with Spidey on it gives you super powers.
- Mombies survive on coffee that’s been microwaved four times because there’s no such thing as a coffee break in this office.
- Mombies can pretend be a shark driving a truck into a hippo’s mouth – in other words, get a two year old to eat chicken a la king – while feeding a teething baby homemade pureed pears.
- Mombies know all the words to the Little Einsteins theme song, and that someone compiled all the Baby Einstein puppet clips into one long video on YouTube (Personally, I think that person should get the Nobel Peace Prize).
But Mombies also wonder if they’re the only ones out there who have to do this stuff.
They wonder if they’re the only ones that feel like the walking dead.
Every Mombie wonders if she’s the only one who feels this alone, who finds it so hard.
Is it really meant to be this hard?
Lately, I’ve been feeling a little indignant about this whole motherhood thing. It’s hard. Like really hard. But there are SO many women out there doing this all the time! And frankly, the sheer volume of mothers makes you think, “It can’t be that bad. It can’t be so hard. Why would so many people be doing this if it were so hard? It must just be me.”
What I’m learning is we think we’re alone, that we’re the only ones losing our freaking minds, because of two things.
First, we hide, and then, we compare.
We post statuses about our fantastic weekend, and Instagram our perfect children. We chat about birthday parties and the sale at Woolies and whether or not Oscar is guilty. When the other mom in the playground asks us how we are, we smile and say fine.
Even when WE ARE NOT FINE. Even when we are so sleep deprived we think we might be depressed, and when our marriage is a mess. Even when deep down we are so afraid that we will never be good enough.
No wonder if feels like we’re not really living, like we’re waiting to feel alive again. We long to be present instead of distant, we long to be real instead of fake. But, like mothering, that too is so hard and not a little scary. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, says that the only to be engaged and alive in our lives is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable, you have to be brave.
Brave enough to show up and be seen. Brave enough to tell the truth and ask for help.
Last week, I had the kind of night that turns moms into zombies. My husband and two boys all had flu. I was up 4 or 5 times, had about 3 collective hours of sleep, and two incredibly cranky kids in the morning. I posted a “joking-but-not-really” Facebook status about having a Mommy Meltdown, and soon after I received a text from a good friend.
“Are you ok? Can I come over with ice-cream and rocky road?”
(Sidenote: every Mombie needs a friend whose love languge is food).
My first reaction was no, don’t worry, I’ll be fine, we’ll be fine. I was in my pajamas and the house was a wreck. My two year old was screaming on the Naughty Chair, and who wants visitors at 8am when you just want to cry? Besides, it just seemed so weak. So useless. But I remembered, Brene Brown’s words and before I could overthink it I replied, “Yes. Please come, I need some help.”
So she came. It was a little awkward for me to let someone into the mess, into the frustration, but it was so worth it. Because I am sick of faking it, sick of pretending that I’m ok when I’m not, and sick of feeling alone. I don’t have to be – why choose it?
Also, her ice cream was home-made Nutella ice cream. I mean, honestly.
Yes, being a mom is hard. That’s the truth. And maybe its even harder to tell the truth, to be vulnerable and ask for help. But you know what else is true?
Together we can do hard things. This I have learnt from Glennon Doyle Melton. The most beautiful things in life like friendship and children, actually all relationships, are also the most messy things. But together, we can do hard things.
If you’re a mombie, stop faking that you’re not and ask for help. Tell someone what’s really going on behind the scenes, and be brave enough to let them in. And if you know a mombie, help her to be brave and give her a safe place to take the mask off.
Together, we can do beautiful, messy, hard things.