Updated: Sep 20, 2020
I often can’t help but notice the ever present #momguilt hashtags peppered throughout social media, and I have to say, it stings a little.
Hear me out. This pandemic has thrown a wrench in all our plans. There isn’t a single parent or person out there for that matter that is having an easy time. Our worlds have been turned upside down, we are being pulled in multiple directions in unprecedented circumstances, and it feels like at any moment the life we worked so hard to build could come crashing down.
Uncertainty and deferring to circumstances outside of our control is nothing new for moms with chronic illness. Dads, I see you too. But today I want to speak to that mom who has built in duties, unverbalized tasks, hidden expectations. And anything short of that will result in a pitied glance, a hushed whisper of speculation and just downright judging.
As a mom with a chronic illness that progressively gets worse, I have felt the limitations and the looks. My illness is an invisible one, and though there are many with much more pain than mine, walking is a painful struggle, despite the lack of visible injury. Thankfully my son is extremely able bodied, but this sometimes makes my lack show up in even greater contrast. There are fears as to what he may do, what if he runs off and I can’t catch him, talks to a stranger and tells more than I want to share. The pizza delivery girl now knows my surgical history (more funny now than at the time). We moms that have another cross to bear, that of illness. We wish that you would just take a pause sometimes and give a forgiving look instead of a judgmental glance.
When you see someone and you can’t understand why they have a handicap pass, why they don’t get up and redirect their child, why they pick a spot and don’t budge, think outside of your own personal reality. Ask yourself if there may be more to the situation than you realize, and if what you’re seeing is the tip of the iceberg in a very complex circumstance that you are not privy to, nor should you be. Please put yourself in the other person’s shoes - ask yourself if there could be more to the story and save the judgement. We moms are trying so very hard and the guilt of not being able to be fully physically there for our child is enough of a stark and sad realization that we can do without the additional judgement. Be kind, be patient, be forgiving and realize that you do not always see the full picture from where you’re standing. The gesture is recognized and appreciated more than you know.