This morning, a work friend was clearly upset about something when she came into my office. She's doing the step-mom thing - which I think is probably a lot harder than the mom thing. And the mom thing is pretty tough. I asked if she was okay and she asked me to tell her something funny instead of talking about whatever happened with the kids at home yesterday or this morning. So I shared my amazement at the endurance and speed on my five year old on the track.
My story was about this morning's workout - I'm doing CrossFit on my quest to return my body to the size and weight it previously maintained prior to the three kids. I'm only trying to lose 15 pounds - but I have new respect for everyone who tries to lose weight. Anyway, my son Taylor asked if he could spend more time with me today so I invited him to join me for today's WOD (workout of the day) - 5 sets for time of 400 meter sprints and 15 overhead squats (with 95 lbs - no chance - I did it with 20 and I'm proud). Taylor didn't keep up on the first sprint and became my time keeper on the second one. Then he asked me if I could be his time keeper. His first 400M = 2:30. Second 400M = 2:12. Third 400M = 2:11. Then we walked to cool down and he wanted to know if he ran a mile. Since he hadn't, he wanted to do the last 400M split. Did that one in 2:11. He's 45" tall! I figure by the time he's 9, he'll be doing this in 1:30 or something. And his brother is a runner too - so now he wants to be timed.
In any case - my story of the track led to other practical parenting stories - some already on this blog, others to come. She smiled and laughed. She found lots of ideas that she could apply with the step-kids. And she realized that the issues, whatever they are, are common across kids and parents.
Too often I talk with other women who feel alone in their parenting adventure - joined only by her spouse/partner (hopefully). I'm incredibly lucky - I made a dear friend during the months leading to the birth of each of our first children and we've kvelled and been exasperated together over the last 8 years of our friendship. I have another friend (over 20 years) who is about a year ahead of me with her first. Thank God for these two women who are my sounding boards and sanity checks. I think they're both planning guest posts to the blog...stay tuned.
So many of my friends and acquaintances share their feelings of loneliness, exasperation or embarrassment about discussing some of the more frustrating or gross things that happens when raising kids. Everyone seems to feel like their kid is the only one who does this maddening thing. Not really ever the case - you just have to find the other people who've been through that already.
My suggestion is to tell everyone you can what's going on. The benefits - quickly you'll find someone who's faced the same thing and has an idea; when you give something a voice it stops being so loud in your head; most of these things are funny. And as they say in Free to be You and Me - "It's alright to cry...it's gonna make you feel better."