As parents, we often feel the need to come across as the strong protector. The one that can chase away the things that hurt. We put on the band-aids, we comfort, we give advice, and we tell our kids that it’s perfectly normal to be sad, and to cry.
But for some reason, no matter how much we talk about how natural and okay it is, we often feel like we’re in some way failing as a parent if we break down in front of our kids. Not saying that this applies to everyone, but it sure did to me, and to a lot of other parents that I’ve talked to over the years.
I grew up with a mom that I never saw crying. To this day, I still haven’t seen her cry a single time. She probably has her own reasons for that (I’ve never asked), and luckily for me, it didn’t make me afraid of showing those kinds of emotions. But the other thing my mom never did in front of me, was to argue with her husband. I never saw them have a serious discussion even, at least not that I can recall. And as I came into adulthood myself, I was terrified of confrontations when it came to close relationships. Do I blame this entirely on my mom? Absolutely not! Do I think that her actions could play a role in me getting so uncomfortable around people who argue, and confrontations? Yes, I do.
I understand that we choose to not show all the hardships and troubles we experience as adults to our kids. Poor things, they might end up scared silly and wonder what the hell we are all doing. I sure do sometimes!
But I don’t think we are doing them any favors by not showing the real emotions that we all go through. In a little over a year, my son will be a teenager, and I remember very well how hard that time of life can be. I hope that he’s learned that there’s no shame in feeling the struggle of life at times and that expressing his feelings is perfectly fine.
My son has seen me cry out of heartache, troubled friendships, work-related issues, and movies. Whenever he asks me why I’m crying, I try to be as open and honest about how I feel as I can. The answer I give him will most likely not cover all the details of the events that lead up to me shedding some tears, but I try to give him a very honest explanation as to the emotions I’m feeling. It’s damn hard at times, but I’m very grateful for having done so, as I can now see that he’s more and more comfortable when it comes to opening up if he’s having a hard time.
I probably won’t be the person he will go to with all his problems and struggles, but I can only hope that he will feel comfortable enough to share some of them with me.
I am a human. A person who makes mistakes, who gets moved, who regrets, thinks, wonders, and feel insecure. None of us are perfect, and isn’t it then only right that we show our kids exactly that? That we talk about the things that we find hard and the emotions that come with them?
I sure think so, and that is why I cry in front of my child❤️