Has anyone ever played the two truths and a lie game? The one where you say two true things about yourself and one lie, and your opponents must guess which one is the lie? I’ll give you an example in case you are not familiar with the game. I am warning you that I will be making it really hard (totally easy) to spot the lie … so pay close attention to the next few sentences.
1. I recently came so dangerously-close-it-was-scary to regifting an already-used (unbeknownst to me, of course) science kit craft from our gift/utility closet and was only saved by Emma mere moments before departing for the party when she happened to ask me what she was giving the birthday child.
2. My computer is in my dining room for many reasons, mostly for convenience. When talking about that room recently, Emma described it as, “You know, Mom, your favorite room in the house.”
3. My children always come immediately when called, sit still when asked, do their homework as soon as they get into the car, keep their rooms neat and clean without being reminded, and never under any circumstances exhibit any behaviors resembling the type of drama seen on the Broadway stage.
Quick! Which one was the lie?
If you said number one or number two, welcome first-time reader, leave your address below as I will definitely be sending you a gift of appreciation for being my new favorite person on the planet! Of course, I know you all said number three, because that is so obviously the lie, right?
Except is it? Because even though to me number three is the obvious lie, I’ve listened to some of the mothers out there describing their progenies and what they say would make anyone think that number three is the normal state of their lives. Not to go all Meredith Grey here, but seriously? SERIOUSLY?
If you are a Facebook friend of mine you might recall my status from a couple of months ago:
I had a mother stop me on the way out of school the other day to actually thank me for posting that because it made her feel so much better about how things were going in her own house. You see, when I posted it, I wasn’t feeling anything other than frustrated and annoyed and maybe a little sad at my daughter’s struggle with navigating her way through becoming a girl who is self-aware and self-conscious and therefore, self-critical.
But, and this is a big BUT, because I am surrounded by good girlfriends and other moms who go there with me, I also knew that I was not alone in experiencing this type of cataclysmic meltdown from a daughter. I knew that it did not warrant a trip to the nearest child psychologist for a full evaluation or weekly sessions to talk about her feelings, because I knew it was happening to everyone around me. Their kids were doing it, too.
Random freak-outs about how unfair their lives were? Check. Crying to the point of mass hysteria because they felt left out on the playground? Check, check. Declarations of feeling dumb and stupid because they couldn’t do their math homework? Check, check, check. So, when the attacks of insecurity happen ALL. THE. TIME. with Emma, I don’t sweat it because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is normal.
Back to the mom at school, after she stopped me to thank me for my Facebook post she wanted to know more about what I meant by it and to ask what was going on with Emma. So, of course, just like above, I told her straight out exactly what was happening, sparing no details. As I spoke, I could just see the relief settle over her. She began nodding and saying that yes, she was seeing those kind of things, too; EXCEPT that when she mentioned it to other moms, she was met with blank stares and stories of how well things were going in their households, which naturally left her feeling very alone and very unsure of what was happening with her child. Perhaps it was her? Or her child? Maybe it wasn’t normal? Was there something she should be doing or not doing?
Needless to say, I immediately let her know that she is not alone, that the other mothers are lying when they say that things are just hunky dory at their houses and that it is just really sad that we cannot get real about what is actually happening with our children. If it takes a village, doesn’t the village need to communicate honestly to actually thrive? Did high school really teach us nothing about how exhausting it is to try to be fake all the time? Isn’t part of being an adult actually owning your world and what is happening in it? Most importantly of all, though, shouldn’t we as mothers, want to help each other out, make each other better, teach our children the value of being real and honest? How can we possibly do all of those things if we cannot even admit to fellow women going through EXACTLY what we are going through that you know what, it is really rough down here in the trenches. But hey, if we band together we can make it because there is safety in numbers and security in knowing someone has your back.