Help For Moms
Moms, do you try to hide from your feelings? Me: Sometimes I do.
Do you ignore your feelings and just keep going through your life on autopilot because life’s crazy, busy, chaotic, and it’s just easier to trudge on? I’m guilty of doing this.
Do you have fears plaguing you in your journey through motherhood? Yes, ma’am, I do, and uh-huh, boatloads of them, and an ocean-full too.
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My brain tells me I should admit how I really feel as a mom because if I don’t, I won’t be able to label that emotion. If I can’t label it, how can I deal with it? I don’t know about you, but my heart doesn’t always listen to my brain. Keep reading this post to find out how I’m dealing with this in my own motherhood. I’m sharing some tips I’ve found to be very helpful, and I believe they will help you too.
Help for Moms: Why We Should Admit How We Really Feel.
One emotion that traps me frequently as a mother is fear. But, I’ve found some help for my fears in a book called “How Are You Feeling Momma? (You Don’t Need To Say, “I’m Fine”) by Shelby Spear and Lisa Leshaw.
How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don’t need to say, “I’m Fine.”): Authentic & Encouraging Psalm Reflections on the Many Emotions of Motherhood
Is your go-to answer, “I’m fine”? This is so me. Or I’ll say, “I’m good. And you?” Perhaps that’s the Minnesota nice in me. But I deflect the focus right off myself because I so often don’t want to go there and admit the emotion I’m having for the day. This book helps me when I don’t want to talk about that emotion with another person because I can read about it, address it, think about it in the privacy of my head. This helps me so much, and maybe, just maybe I might end up talking about it with someone, even another mom.
I love this book because it addresses all those emotions we all experience as moms as we journey through motherhood. This book is user-friendly with chapter specific labels such as “Afraid Moms”, “Alone Moms”, “Burned-Out Moms”, and “Insecure Moms”. There are thirty-one emotional labels to explore in this helpful book.
As I mentioned above, fear is a huge recurring emotion for me as a mom.
Motherhood and fear go hand in hand in my experience, even from the very first moment I had that special inkling that I might be pregnant. Fear continued as I bought the pregnancy test, my mind telling me I wasn’t really pregnant, and I should just put the test back on the shelf, not spend the money on a falsehood. Then my fears grew even larger after the joy subsided from seeing the red positive line on the test, and I immediately became fearful that something would go wrong with the pregnancy, that my baby would not make it, be stillborn, or die in complications after childbirth.
Honestly, the truth is, fears have never ceased for me in my life as a mom. They’ve persisted year after year, changed constantly as my three boys have grown, changing ever faster and been more unpredictable than a hungry tired toddler. Eek! No mom forgets those days, am I right?
What’s my greatest fear?
That I Might Die…
One of my greatest fears is that I will die and leave my three children mother-less before they turn eighteen. I’m about to turn forty-five, the age my mother was when she died.
When she left me, a dark brutal canyon filled my life, it swallowed me whole. Then it vomited me back out as a sixteen-year-old mess. Grief’s dark fleshless fingers pulled me back into its deep crevice over and over to drown me in moments of tearless bereavement, in waterfalls of tears of crushing loss, and into the aloneness of teen depression, a secret horror I hid from everyone in my life.
It may be an irrational fear, well not really, because we all could die any day, but I’m deathly afraid to turn forty-five. I might die. My mom did.
This horrible birthday is right around the corner for me. Lurking like an invisible scathing murderer, plotting to body snatch me, like a monster ready to suck me instantly from the lives of my children. I guess it scares me the most, at the uppermost level of my fears, because I know how desolate I became after the death of my mom. Only I know how far I fell into that bleak bloody depression, the loss of her life grating against my heart muscle daily like a cheese grater leaving me, a lost child, to pick up the specks of my broken heart. I sank into that depressed state as easily as I blinked. This strikes fear in my heart because if I die, I won’t be here to help my kids through it all. That terrifies me.
Depression Memories Revisit Me
Depression runs in my family so this irrational I’ll die when I turn forty-five fear fuels my fire because I don’t want to die, because I imagine one or more of my children will plunge into that bottomless abyss that is depression. I don’t want that for them. I want to stop it, but I know “God is in control”, not me. But still I am severely anxious about it.
A passage from the book under “Afraid Moms” really helps me with this. I read it and re-read it to make it sink into my heart, so my heart will remember it in moments of my irrational panic. I’m finding picking up this book to read for a few moments here and there redirects my fear, alleviates it. I feel more grounded, better able to go on.
Many days ago when I was a depressed teenager, it was the rawness of the pain of my mom’s absence daily that sliced my heart the most harshly. Like my blood was saturated with razor blades ripping my heart to shreds, then ravaging about my body as it traveled my arteries, tearing me up to scraps of rebellious lost tissue, seeking solace where there was none. Her absence every day wrenched into me with a dull constant pain; it meant I was in charge of laundry, dinner, cleaning, helping my sister, my dad, my pets, and more. Then there was grandma to worry about. It meant I had to do each day alone without my mom’s all-encompassing and amazing abilities to help me with, well, everything.
I raged against the tears and the numbness of loss with wild teenage rebellion back then. I did many things I shouldn’t have. The fear that my children will do the same if I were to die paralyzes me as a mom. It’s here I fall into fear again.
But, still, I was blessed…
God never left me though when I was a teen, he was often my savior. I would find God in the depths of my pain back then. I would go back to him and he was still always there, no matter what I had done. And my faith was miraculously still alive.
Remembering those dark times reigns in all my needs for reassurance today. This book helps me refocus my faith as a mom when I begin to spiral away from it. I need this, for my emotions are more like swelling hot, then numbing cold waves than concrete. I find I need mom advice from other moms who have been where I’m struggling. I like moms helping moms, we all need to stick together.
To me, that’s what this book is about.
But Fear Charges at Me Again…a Relentless Stalker
But then, yet, I feel gripped by fear again with each morning, with each passing day as I barrel towards my forty-fifth birthday. I can’t slow down the time, but I’m chasing it.
I don’t want my kids to have to wake up each morning and be forced to remember I’m gone because sleep does that, it made me forget and relive the loss of my mom every day in the year after she died. Sometimes I had dreamt about her, then slept peacefully, forgot that she was dead, then I’d wake up and the reality of a world without her would stab into my chest like oily fat-headed stakes.
When I start to slip into this crazed mode of fear for my children suffering from grief and depression as I did, and the fear overwhelms me, I grab this book. Again. It’s perfect because I can flip to the chapter about fear and be enlightened, uplifted, redirected. I read the short few pages and I feel joy-filled again, fear slinks back, losses some power, and I can go on with my day. It may not be magic, but it certainly helps, this I know.
I can flip to the section for “Depressed Moms” and read the uplifting words there, take solace in the ending sentence “Hear my voice when I call LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.” Psalm 27:7(NIV)
And so many, many more.
Moms This Book Will Help You
All moms, regardless of age, will benefit from reading this book.
This book is ideal for moms who nurse babies. Short little snippets of golden words can uplift weary moms who are breastfeeding late at night. Or in early morning hours, barely holding it together because the sun is promising to slip into sight and the toddler son is about to barrel down the hall. Keep this book in the side pocket of your rocker. Read it. Re-read it and help reorient yourself with words of love and wisdom from these two women.
Moms of babies, toddlers, elementary school kids, tweens, teens, college-aged young adults, and moms who are becoming grandmas, will benefit from the words in this book because of the experiences these two women share. I for one need their wisdom for what’s to come in my own motherhood because I haven’t been there yet.
When I need a recharge, or even in the early morning hours when the rest of my house is asleep, I’ve grabbed this book to read. I love the short chapters because I can read a chapter quickly before my son wanders down the stairs looking for fruity cereal and a hug. I can snatch a piece of fresh outlook for the day when I’m worried about my son’s new health concerns, or about the stress of getting it all done before I need to turn into Mom-Uber for the evening.
When I feel like I can’t get a moment to myself and my kids need me, and their words overfill my introverted heart, I can take a short breather. Take this book to the bathroom with me and read. (The bathroom is another great place to store this book.)
I remember the days when I couldn’t use the bathroom alone back when I was a SAHM, or if I did, my young son would sit outside the door leaning against it waiting for me, his small finger tapping on the door lightly when I took too long. Being an introvert, I needed a few moments of silence at times, solid moments of not being engaged. I so wish I would have had this book back then to recharge me, so I could have read the chapter for “Overwhelmed Moms”. Then burst back into my son’s flurry of extroverted-story with a fresher heart.
I love Shelby and Lisa’s words.
My fellow moms get this book. Admit your true feelings, find them in this book. Read it, keep it on your coffee table, by your bed, in your glider beside your baby’s crib, in the bathroom, in your car to read while you wait for your child to be done with soccer practice. You won’t be disappointed, you will be uplifted and filled up with love and joy and fresh determination to go be the best momma you can be.
God Bless You.
More about the book…
To purchase the book, click through this affiliate link:
About the Authors:
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, pro-LOVE Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life w/ hubs of 25 yrs on her blog shelbyspear.com, in print at Guideposts, and all over the web at places like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Motherly, and Today.
Lisa Lisa Leshaw is an avid storyteller with plenty of material to pull from in her role as wife of 40+ years to Stu, step-mom to a son and daughter, and a grandma to six grandbabies: five boys and one girl, ages 6-16. You can find her words online and in print at places like Her View From Home, Grown and Flown, Guideposts, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Copyright 2019 © Julie Hoag writer. All Rights Reserved. This post contains photos taken by Julie Hoag. Please do not steal my photos. Thank you. Other photos included in this post are the property of Shelby Spears and Lisa Leshaw, published here per their approval.Follow me on Social Media
What a great message. I’m currently battling anxiety and grief after losing our son at 15 weeks pregnant. This is really something I’m trying to work on more, telling people how I really feel even if it makes them feel awkward. I don’t like hiding my emotions anymore. This has opened up new fears and anxiety for me, like what you mentioned above about dying and leaving your kids motherless. It’s something I think about daily and am trying to work on. Thank you so much for your honesty.
Julie Hoag says
I’m so very sorry for your loss. I wish the best for you, healing and loads of love. Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate it and I’m praying for your mental health and your physical health. I can’t recommend this book enough and I think acknowledging feelings is so important. Please take care of yourself. I care for you—please take this message as a virtual hug.
I think every woman should always say how they feel. I’d love to read this book even if I’m not a mom x
Julie Hoag says
You know, that is so true, in fact, I’ve recently had some good stress in my life and it wasn’t related to motherhood, but about my writing career and I pulled out this book to read about being anxious and I felt it helped me, so you are very right about that, maybe it can be thought of as a book for women, not just moms. Thanks for your comments.
Oh yes, “I’m fine” is on repeat over here. Motherhood is just a crazy storm of anxieties, stress, happiness and everything between daily. Sometimes, I’m not sure I even know how I feel or take the time to think about it. I could probably benefit from digging into this book!
Julie Hoag says
Yep, I’m a member of the “I’m fine” club too. And I totally agree motherhood is a crazy storm of emotions. I’ve been so guilty of not slowing down and acknowledging my feelings many many times over the course of my sixteen years as a mom. I hope you find the book helpful, I honestly do. The short chapters is a genius format for a busy mom too. It’s stellar, it really is. Thanks for your comment:)
I think I use “I’m fine” so often as a response because to say anything else would somehow admit a vulnerability in don’t want to show. This was such a powerful read.
Julie Hoag says
Thank you so much. I hope this post helps other women, girls, people. I agree, the “I’m fine” is so easy to do to gloss over what we are really feeling. It can be hard to admit vulnerability especially when we are all so busy, it’s just easier not to get into the tough subjects. Our lives are so busy, I for one feel this way, and I know I need to slow down so that friends and family would feel there is time to open up and discuss things. I’ve hidden things myself because it’s easier, but for me, this usually leads to resentment and bad feelings which fester. Thanks for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it.
An interesting concept for a book. I think they are right. Many moms face different emotions. Some just push them back because they are so busy momming. For me it’s frustated mom. I want everything to go well but life and family sometimes throw a curveball.
Julie Hoag says
I agree. I often feel frustration as a mom too. I think it’s even good to admit this and talk about it because it’s a sort of release to just even say, “Hey, I’m frustrated.” And maybe even say, “Here’s why…” I strive for everything to go well too, but things happen, life happens and as moms, we have to deal with it. I really like the format of this book because it delivers a very directed and poignant quick fix to uplift me. It’s more like a daily or weekly resource than a straight out read, but one I keep turning too because it’s easy. The authors provide great insight, ideas, and even plans that I can model as a mom. Both of them have been through the trenches of motherhood and ushered their children into adulthood, so they’ve been there, done that, these are insights that will help me as I raise my own kids to adulthood. Thanks so much for your comment. I hope the best for you in your journey through motherhood.
Marta Rivera says
I’m notorious for saying, “I’m fine,” when everything inside of me is screaming, “I’M NOT FINE!” It really is a feeling of not wanting to burden others with my pains and struggles.
Julie Hoag says
I totally understand where you are coming from because I often feel the same way. It’s hard to admit to others how we feel. I think admitting it to yourself is good too, that’s why I like this book because if I don’t want to say it to others I can read about it on my own and get some inspiration, but talking with trusted family members or friends is good too. Thanks for reading and for your comment.
Catherine @ To & Fro Fam says
I’m really working on being honest and transparent about how I’m feeling even when it’s crappy. It’s uncomfortable – sometimes I worry I’m oversharing or dumping on someone else when they just wanted “I’m fine.” But I think it gives everyone permission to be more real.
I hide my feelings often only because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. It’s something I need to work on.
Julie Hoag says
I know what you mean, I do this too and I try to work on it too. I think it really helps to talk about it and it helps us not feel so alone, maybe the other person has felt the same exact way. Also, I know if I keep feeling something I need to say to someone but never say it, resentment builds up in me and this makes it all worse. Communication can be a struggle for me, but I agree, it’s something for me to work on as well.
This sounds like a fabulous book, and it’s interesting to see in the comments how many of us fall into the “I’m fine” trap, when we’re not fine. We’d probably all be better off–as you say–admitting the truth of our struggles and gaining strength from each other, but that requires a level of vulnerability that is sometimes hard to offer. But what great food for thought!
Julie Hoag says
I love the book. I find it helpful and I can read a little blurb quickly when I’m feeling the need, or feeling down, or frustrated, insecure, and so on. I’m in the “I’m Fine” trap a lot too. I think if we talked with others more about our feelings we would connect with each other more and not feel so alone because the other person may be feeling the same thing or something similar. It is hard to talk about and be vulnerable, I guess that’s also why I like this book because I can admit how I’m feeling to myself and read something directed right at it from this book without having to talk to another person, however, talking to someone is good too:)Thanks for the comments.
Cristina - Memories of the Pacific says
I’m not a mom yet but I feel related to hiding my feelings. I’ve been doing it all my life either because I fear being judged or that people will think I’m weak. I should really work on that…
I love this and definitely agree!!
Julie Hoag says
Yes, thank you so much!!
KD Harris says
Such great info! Would def apply this when I become a parent.
Julie Hoag says
Thank you for your comment. It’s a fantastic book full of love and rich with self-help ideas.
joy abou zeid says
Amazing post, I think all moms should state how they feel!! and the book looks interesting!
Julie Hoag says
Thank you so much, and the book is super amazing!