Last week, as I dropped my little man off to school — tears streaming down his face — I felt like the worst step mamma in the world.
You see, the day before was the one-month mark since my bestie, Jess, had passed on. It was also the day I released this post. As I read comment after comment — yet again inspired by how many lives she touched — I felt a bubble of sadness begin to rise within me. I missed her so bloody much.
Then I posted this photo on Instagram and couldn’t even read the comments as the bubble of sadness began to rise higher.
That night I tossed and turned, barely getting any sleep at all.
The next morning, as I sat in my meditation, I could feel the bubble right up in my throat. And as soon as my meditation alarm sounded, I burst into tears. As I sobbed my heart out in my husband’s arms, I knew it had been coming. No words were spoken for a few minutes, he just held me tight until I started to catch my breath again.
The truth is, I felt lost. I wanted the nightmare to be over, I wanted the heaviness in my chest to lift. And most of all, I wanted to hear my best friend’s sweet voice again. But I knew that wasn’t possible — that this was what was real. And, well… at that moment, it really freakin’ sucked!
There is such a deep understanding with my darling husband, who always says the right things at the right time. He whispered, ‘Remember, she is everywhere, baby’. I didn’t even have to explain what was going on, he just knew exactly how I was feeling.
With a sigh of relief, I got myself together. I mopped up my tears and now had to shift my focus to getting our little monkey out the door for school. I wasn’t finished letting all my sadness out, but I had to keep moving forward anyway. Maybe if I’d had 15, or even 5 more minutes to process and allow myself to fully and completely feel everything, this next part of the story would not have happened…
As it goes, our little man hadn’t finished his homework and didn’t want to leave the house until he was done. I, on the other hand, had to be in my office by 8:30am for a meeting. As I rushed him out the door, I could see he was getting upset, but so was I. I was upset too, I missed my best friend goddammit. I, I, I. Me, me, me. In that exact moment, I could have been love. Instead, I said, ‘Darling, I really have to get to work, so let’s do as much as we can in the car and you can do the rest at school.’
It’s important to fully, deeply and completely feel all your emotions in order to release them.
Although it might sound perfectly reasonable, I didn’t actually say it from a place of love. I was feeling rushed, emotional, and on the edge of bursting into tears, and those were the feelings that underscored my words… not love.
He huffed and puffed, and the only way I could get him in the car was by walking out the door myself.
As we pulled up to the school, tears streaming down his cute little face, he said, ‘I am going to get in trouble for not finishing my homework and it’s all your fault!’
Of course, it’s my fault he hasn’t finished his homework, right!?
I snapped, and with tears now streaming down both of our faces he closed the door and didn’t say goodbye.
My heart broke.
As I drove off I felt like I had failed. I felt like the worst step mamma in the entire world. Yes, I was having a human moment; yes, I was grieving; yes, it’s part of the process; but NO, I didn’t need to take it out on this divine little human. I knew it was not good enough.
I want to play big, I want to act as my best self in every single moment, and taking my stuff out on others is not acceptable.
Not for me, anyway.
I wonder if that would’ve happened if time had permitted me to have just a few more minutes to completely let out all my feelings beforehand? Who knows, and it’s irrelevant anyway. I am a massive believer in everything happening for a reason and everything always being perfect, so I choose not to dwell on the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s of life.
I take full responsibility for how I acted and for making sure in the future, I allow myself to feel my feelings wholly. Because once you mop ‘em up and move on, you have missed the moment. It’s gone forever! And if you didn’t fully and completely feel what you needed to feel, it will just pop back up again when you least expect it. Maybe later that day, maybe in a week, maybe not for a couple of years. But trust me — it’ll come back to bite you in the tush unless you fully honour the emotions and experience those waves in all their glory.
I know this can be easier said than done when you’ve got kids, but you can still carve out that space for yourself if you get a bit creative. If they’re banging on your bedroom door, ask your partner or one of the other kids to watch them, or give them a book or toy to keep them occupied whilst you make sure you have felt everything you need to feel. It doesn’t have to take 40 minutes. Sometimes all you need is 5 or even 2. Give yourself permission to fully feel your emotions, you are worthy of that! And remember when you are overflowing with love you show up to your children (and the world) as the best version of you.
If you don’t have little munchkins around your ankles, make sure you don’t simply distract yourself with something else, like social media or the next task on your to-do list.
Your feelings are not who you are, but they need to be expressed. Unexpressed feelings can manifest as an illness or disease in the body so you need to get them out sister!
A few hours after I got to the office, I began to release the title of The World’s Worst Step Mum from myself and instead place my hands over my heart and repeat, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.
There are going to be times when we fall over, ‘fail’, stuff up or make ‘mistakes’, all of which are a judgment by the way. But every single one is an opportunity to forgive and to melt into love. Even when you don’t feel like it.
Love is always there, ever present, and only a breath away.