We’ve all seen those stats about what a mom would make if she truly got paid for all of the jobs that she does. I have even seen a variation recently that included Skype interviews for people thinking they were applying for a “general manager” type of job – when the interviewer started asking if they could perform some of the feats that we ask of moms. The resounding answer was “No way do I want this job!”
One of the pieces that is hardest, I think, is the work of worry. I know. We’re not supposed to worry. Inhale. Hold it. Let it out. And it’s all supposed to go away. But motherhood is TOUGH.
Looking through Facebook today, there are all of the loving pictures of everyone with their mom. Or their mum. (I have Facebook connections all over the place.) If you look closely at mom, there’s good reason for all of the worry lines, the gray hair, hidden or not.
Here are three moms I know personally who have climbed giant mountains of stress these recent years.
Mom number one was the support structure for her son battling depression. He picked the wrong friends. He fell into drug addiction. He broke the law. He risked being moved to juvenile detention. He fell far behind in school. He wanted to die.
She slept on the floor in his room during the worst nights, or on a mattress just outside of his room. She worked with the school counselor. She found a psychiatrist and a therapist and a lawyer. She stood by him, looking for any shred of hope. She saw the good in him. She coached him. She led him through the dark tunnel, all while plowing forward in her own management level career. She worried.
The second mom lost her son to suicide. She lives in another state and I hadn’t even noticed when she was gone from Facebook for a while. When she reconnected, I put the pieces of her posts together and just could not believe the road she has been on. I’m sure today is one of the really hard days for her.
I admire her like crazy for talking openly about what happened, because we lose far too many young people this way. Shining the light of truth on depression and suicide can help save others while knocking down the stigma. Her hard work is grieving while still being present and functional for her other children, for her husband. She rebooted her own career in the midst of all of this. Strength, personified.
The third mom told me she still doesn’t sleep very well. Her son ran away. Over and over. She called the police. Over and over. He didn’t like the rules. He rebelled. He called her a bitch. She stopped trying to force him home. He’s living with friends. I don’t know if she knows where, but he’s in town. He’s finishing high school. Some kids have to learn the hard way, the therapist told her.
She worries about his choices, now that he’s gone from her sphere of influence. She worries if his ego will end up getting him into serious trouble. She goes on with the work of the day, handing over the reins to God.
I look at all of those pictures online. Pictures of moms with new babies. Pictures of old moms with children and grandchildren. Those moms in the middle, on the front lines of the hardest mom work of turning their kiddos into respectable humans….those moms enduring these years close to the kid launch into adulthood, those moms aren’t on Facebook today. They’re sleeping. Or they’re worrying.