Thursday, October 8, 2009

no shame

It's always been difficult hiding my emotions. The Good Man will attest to that. In my pre-baby, corporate office life days, I had to work very hard to contain the negativity, displeasure, anger and anxiety I felt at times. Back then, I considered these as signs of weakness and inappropriate in high doses in the workplace. Worse even still was crying in front of peers or supervisors. The kiss of death to one's professional career, I thought.

Although I was not shy about expressing my opinions about projects openly and passionately, I worked hard to remain composed and not appear hyper-sensitive or negative. I remember turning to my coworkers one day, apologizing for complaining so much. They turned to each other and laughed. They hadn't heard a peep from me all morning. I had been having unpleasant conversations in my head while typing away at the computer.

However, I do recall one occasion when my emotional fortress collapsed. The day I failed to hide the intense sense of betrayal and disappointment I felt on hearing about a change in the makeup of my team. I no longer remember the details of why the news affected me so much but what I will never forget is feeling my face flush as they made the announcement and walking out of the room in the middle of the meeting, not so much in anger, but to hide the tears that eventually fell when I got in my car. I was gone for several hours and considered resigning that day, not only to escape my work environment, but to avoid the repercussions of having let such a profound outburst escape.

It's funny now (as a stay-at-home mom) that I seem to have dropped my inhibitions about exposing my anxieties, fears and flaws. The emotions that I tried to hide and repress in the corporate world are now in full display. On the Internet, of all places. Today, I feel no shame in admitting the immense guilt that cuts through me on seeing my toddler deal with separation anxiety. Nor in telling you that I have cried about it. It's liberating!

Have I become soft in motherhood or just more forgiving of public displays of emotions and weaknesses?

I don't know. Perhaps, I've simply come to understand that to be a mother is to accept that there will be days when I will feel weak and, yes, cry. And, that there really is no shame in that.


This morning I dropped the boys off a half hour later than usual hoping to avoid the hand-off traffic at the nursery school. Hoping to find the other children in the room more settled. Hoping to catch one of the teachers free to give LittleR Dude some one-on-one attention. I had a doctor's appointment to get to. I needed this morning's goodbye to be less traumatic.

We arrived in the middle of snack time. I sat LittleR Dude next to Teacher J. I used different words this time. I told him I was "going to work," a little white lie that he accepts happily when I leave him with the Good Man for a few hours.

His lower lip jutted out. Tears flowed. But the hysterics did not come. I left promptly. Later, Teacher J informed me that the tears disappeared seconds after I left.

Everyone was right. It does get easier with time. I did not cry, today.


  1. As moms, you are not alone. We all feel this way from time to time! Just found your blog from Finding Trinity and I would love to be a new follower if you follow as well. :)

  2. Good for you, Darlin!

    Glad to hear it's a little easier on your heavy heart today! Theta Mom is right ~ you are not alone! :)

  3. Goodness. This is the 1st time someone has directly asked me to participate in a follow-me-and-I'll-follow-you exchange and the 1st time that a comment has made me blush. I'm not sure how to respond.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to visit and respond to this post, Theta Mom and wish you all the best in your quest for additional followers.

  4. Amen to what you wrote: That to be a mother is (among all the other things) to accept that there are days when one feels weak, and cries. Sometimes, it's all just too overwhelming. (Especially at night, about three o'clock, in my experience...)
    There's certainly no shame in showing one's emotions. Although I, like you, sometimes prefer not to. But after all, if we can't tolerate our own sad (or mad/bad emotions), or the fact that we sometimes show them to other people, how can we tolerate our children's?