I want to say the thing we never say. The thing as parents we’ve all thought, but never say. The thing we curse ourselves for thinking and push deep into ourselves, but know every parent has at one point thought it, said it, wished it and hated themselves for doing so.
It’s somewhere between “I regret having kids” and “I wish I was dead.” It sits smacks bang in between these thoughts, but I won’t say it because you’ve all thought it and saying it, even as a truth teller feels heavy in my mouth.
Not in the way that you would do it, but you now know as a parent why people do. Not in the way that you mean it, but in the way of your worst moment or bad day. Not in the way that you could, but in the way that this life you signed up for is hard, much harder than you could’ve imagined.
Why do I feel it’s so important to talk about? Because I said it. Not in my head but to real people, to other mums who I thought were ‘my people’. I was met with deafening silence only broken by shame and judgement. You could see their disgust and not one person embraced me or echoed my sentiment. Not one, “don’t worry we’ve all felt like that,” or “are you okay, hang in there?”
Imagine if the #nojudgementclub was there instead? To listen with open hearts and minds. To listen without judgement. To forget the words and see the mum, to hear the frustration and share the love. To be honest enough to raise their hand in solidarity, to say “I’ve said it, I’ve thought it, hell yes I’ve been there!!” I needed that, so do many others.
We already shame ourselves, why each other? Why when we’re at our lowest, and ugly thoughts fill our mind do we trap it, suppress it and hide it so deep we hope no one, not even ourselves can see it? Imagine the relief if we could share. If we could actually say what should not be said, then let it go?
If we released that little dark secret then you know what? It would just disappear. It’d vanish into thin air and land nowhere. We could encourage others to let it go too. As always, I’m not an expert in parenting or mental health, but what I do know, is nothing good grows in the dark. It festers. It turns our insides black.
So let’s be real, we’ve all thought it! On some scale we have, and I hope you find a safe space to say it. Whether you admit it to yourself, tell your partner or a friend, a kickass mums group who are upstanding members of the #nojudgementclub that will hear it, share their demons or have a hug or kind word at the ready to chase that shit away.
Of course there’s some people who can’t chase those demons away, and my heart goes out to them. If only we replaced some of that guilt and disgust with understanding, they might feel unashamed and brave enough to admit it and seek the love and support they need.
And for the parents whose demons bested them, my heart breaks. For only now as a parent I’ve had to face and overcome mine. When it’s just you and bub driving on a long trip and they’ve screamed forty-five minutes straight, you’ve faced the demon on the road. When you’re three-days deep with three-hours sleep, you’ve faced the demon behind the cradle. When the days turn into weeks, turn into endless months of monotony and loneliness, you’ve faced the demon in the mirror.
I have one wish: That you find somewhere safe to speak what should not be spoken. That our regret and shame is allowed to enter with us into these safe spaces to stare our demons down together. That our thoughts are allowed to be aired, deconstructed, laughed at and torn apart by our people so they don’t live within us, eating us alive.
I’ll start, I’m Storm and I’ve said it. I’ve not meant it literally, and the fact that I thought it doesn’t make me a monster. The fact that I can understand the why now, and empathize, yet still not condone, does not make me a monster. The fact that I’m advocating for us to share and be open about even our darkest hours, does not make me a monster.
It makes me human.
Originally published on Storms Sanctuary.
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, visit Prevent Child Abuse for support.