I see you with your grimace- lips pursed and tight faced. I hear your tone, the edge grabs my attention from across the way. I observe you roll your eyes; fatigue faced. With your audible sigh you let us all know that you are tired of your life. You leave little room for interpretation.
I pity you. Your heavy heart, your strife, and your loneliness do not go unnoticed. I see what weight you carry alongside your purse, groceries, day care bags, and lunch boxes. I can tell that you carry your family alone.
I pity them more. Their playful, innocent, and bright eyes are so obvious. They plead, a desperate call for joy. The confusion when sharpness, the kind that even makes me recoil, lands hard on their ears. I watch as they look up at you with combination of wonder and resentment on their jawline.
You could be a beautiful woman. You are intelligent, interesting, and capable. You are talented, witty, and funny. You have lovely, shocking hair and youthful skin, despite how your misery and hurt ages you.
Your children are gorgeous. As curious and active and as spirited as you, minus the doom factor. They are loud, colorful, and soulful. They are kind, generous, and giving. They are also hopeful, regardless that they are confused and disappointed by the energy you pull out of fun.
I want to see you happy. I want to see them thrive in the comfort of ease.
Do you really want to be that mom?
The mom whose behaviour communicates to her children that they are bothersome and annoying? The mom whose children obey grudgingly and shrug at your irritated demands? The mom who’s children have grown to know better and just submit to avoid further hostility? The mom who displaces her dissatisfaction on to undeserving company?
You have a choice.
You can keep on the way you are or you can force patient, force kind, and force yourself to have a good time in their company. They will be happier for it and your stress will simultaneously be reduced. And, if you need more reason, here’s one that should do the trick: they won’t be the only ones to benefit from the joy. You too will receive the rewards from making the effort.
With a wee dose of conscious intention and a little dedicated application, the opportunities for happiness will multiply. The children will feel it and fill the space with the delight that comes naturally to them. They will be less work and then you can step back and reflect on what is working and what is good. You can begin to orient yourself to how fortunate you are, despite the grief that you feel. You can find many things to celebrate and for every one of them you acknowledge with gratitude the darkness around your eyes will fade. Eventually, the harsh exterior you built will erode. And you, dear woman, will have room for more smiles too.
It’s worth it, I promise, and it’s contagious: a self perpetuating and reinforcing way of being. All you have to do is start.