There once was a mom who called herself The Orange Rhino. She often felt alone, discouraged, and lost as a parent. She often felt that she was the “only one” who yelled at her kids too much, that she was “only one” whose kids sometimes did really questionable things, that she was the “only one” who cried at night because being a parent was so hard. Yes, The Orange Rhino felt a lot of things deep down under the smile, the laughter, the “oh yes, parenting is great” commentary. She yearned to find support, affirmation of her feelings; others who experienced the same because she knew that would ease her loneliness, her frustration, and bolster her happiness. But she DARED not tell a soul. She knew what might greet her if she shared what she REALLY felt:
And she didn’t need judgment; life was hard enough as is. The last thing she needed was people thinking she was a bad parent, that her child was a bad kid. What she needed was love, help, and understanding.
Understanding that she loves her kids, that she’s trying her best, but that it’s hard.
Help for how to handle the tough moments or how to just get through them.
And love on hard days, during the hard phases when understanding and help can’t be offered.
One day she took a leap of faith. The Orange Rhino had found a new community that seemed judgment free. She bared her soul about one of her biggest parenting challenges. It was time. This particular challenge was eating her alive and she needed to reach out; she needed as much love and help as she could find. She bared her soul knowing that the chance of understanding was very small, that the chance of judgment was very very high.
The judgment never came (at least not vocally). Instead the understanding, help, and love came in abundance! It gave her hope that she would get through the hard times; it gave her strength knowing that she now had people to turn to with the same struggles without fearing judgment; it gave her peace knowing that she no longer had to be embarrassed, that she no longer had to hide.
She learned a lot after coming “clean” with her struggle. She learned other moms struggle like her for the same reason! She learned other moms also feel alone and frustrated and afraid to share their struggles. She learned other moms yearned to be able to talk freely, free of judgment because they too sought understanding, help and love, because they too were tired of feeling like they were the “only one.”
She talked and shared with these other moms and she felt lighter, happier until she realized the loving response she received was the exception to the rule. She immediately felt sad because she knew that because judgment is so prevalent in today’s parenting circles, many parents who like her often feel alone, lost, and discouraged don’t have the opportunity to safely share their struggles… and so they don’t. They keep those oh-so-difficult feelings to themselves and continue to silently struggle instead of getting the help and love that they not only deserve but that also is waiting for them, in abundance.
Because that is one thing The Orange Rhino learned; when she reached out there wasn’t one mom waiting to support her, there were others, there were hundreds.
Her happiness turned sadness turned hopeful.
What if there was a world free of judgment so all moms felt safe to share their struggles? What if us moms stopped judging each other and offered empathy first? Because there is one truth, no matter what opinion you take on difficult parenting matters:
PARENTING IS HARD. WE NEED EACH OTHER. PERIOD.
We need each other when we want to openly say, “I can’t do another day of this, I just want to collapse on the floor in a big puddle of tears.”
We need each other when we want to openly say, “I fear I am failing as a parent because of my child’s behavior and besides, everyone else’s kids behave “better.””
We need each other when we want to openly say, “I yell too much at my kids but I am embarrassed to admit it and I don’t know how to stop.”
Yes, we need EACH OTHER. What we don’t need is Judgment.
Us moms, dads, parents, us RHINOS, we need each other. We need to stick together. Photo courtesy enrevanche.blogspot.com
She started dreaming. What if we all felt safe enough to share our struggles? Oh how we could learn from each other. Oh how we could help each other come up with new ideas for parenting challenges. Oh how we could love each other when nothing else worked. And oh, oh how much happier we would be as moms realizing that we are not alone, that there are other mothers out there like us, helping us, standing besides us.
Oh, what a beautiful world it would be she thought. What a beautiful, beautiful world it would be.
Moms would not only be judgment free, but they would be free of the weight of hiding the deep struggles. The newfound lightness would help moms find even more patience for parenting and even more joy for parenting. Again, what a wonderful world it would be.
The Orange Rhino was awakened from her daydream at the sound of four boys screaming at each other over whose matchbox cars was whose and quickly thereafter the demands for dinner. Yes, she thought, we need each OTHER. Because this parenting gig is wonderful…and exhausting!
As she prepared dinner her eldest screamed, “MOTHER, when will it be ready?” and she had one last deep thought. She knew herself as a mama, a mom, a mommy, but never as Mother. mOTHER. At that moment, she knew she would always remember that she was not alone, that there were always OTHER moms out there just like her.M (mom) OTHER.
That night as her sons wished upon stars, she wished for judgment among moms to go away. She is still hoping her wish comes true and promises to continue doing her part.
Remember, you are a MOTHER. You are not alone, there is an abundance of other moms eager to hear you share your truths so they too can find peace. Especially here in the Orange Rhino Community. There is no judgment here, just love.
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