On Venting and Needing Understanding
Sometimes as a mama to young kids you just need to vent. It's therapeutic. You need to call up your girl friend, or your sister, or your mom, or send out a holler to all of your social media mama's and tell them the horrible thing your toddler just did.
"He colored all over the wall!...With PERMANENT marker!"
"She smeared a chocolate all over the couch."
"He threw a tantrum right in the middle of the grocery store. Everyone was staring."
"She flushed a brush down the toilet."
Oh, yes, we need to share these things. We need to share the sentences we never thought we'd say, the experiences we never thought we'd have, the things we never thought OUR kid would do.
We do it partly to express, to let off steam in a safe place, but there are other reasons we do it too.
We do it to for the encouragement. Like an athlete who is feeling weary and worn and looks to the crowd, because they need to know the crowd believes in them, you look to your crowd.
But, I think mostly we do it for the camaraderie. We need to know we aren't alone. We need to know that others have been in this same place as we have been. We need to hear that they are in it too, or that they got through it. We need to feel like part of a team.
Or maybe I should say those are reasons why I vent about mama frustrations.
Sometimes I choose to share some of those frustrations on social media, usually Instagram since that feels more like an actual community to me. But sometimes I do it on facebook or twitter too. I do this because I want my social media to be an honest and holistic picture of my life and that means not just sharing the good stuff. It means allowing others to enter into the struggle with me. It's the same way I approach this blog.
But, lately I've run into a problem with sharing and venting, especially online. I'm finding that sharing and venting about Sage doesn't result in connection and camaraderie and often gets taken in a completely different way than sharing and venting about my son.
The other day I shared about a difficult day I'd had with Sage throwing lots of tantrums. I got lots of very kind responses, but something rubbed me wrong about the way people responded. I couldn't put my figure on it until I realized how different the responses to my venting where from the responses to my venting with Thad when he was a toddler.
When I shared about a difficult day with Thaddeus I got some encouragement and a few "praying" responses, but mostly I got commissary and even humor.
I got "Oh my goodness that is too funny!"
Or "oh I know! My son did that too!"
Or "ugh I hate when that happens!"
Or "today my daughter did..."
I don't get that anymore. And I guess I can't. I mean it would probably be a little weird, and almost hurtful, if my friends with normally developing children tried to say that they know exactly what I'm going through. They don't. So they don't say that they do.
Instead I get pity and prayers.
It's good intentioned, but it's not really what I want in those moments. I want understanding and camaraderie.
And humor...I could go for some humor.
Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany