This week my husband and I are moving our daughter into a college dorm room three thousand miles away from our home. As my older and wiser mom friends tried to help prepare me for this week, I noticed a lot of them told me the same thing. “Give yourself permission to cry.”
At first, I was a little puzzled by the repeated advice. Surely, I would cry if I felt the need to do so. I had heard many tales of moms crying as they pulled away from campus and was prepared to follow their well worn path. Then I realized something. Moms do often deny themselves the privilege of crying.
For some moms, crying stopped in their younger years. For whatever reason, at some point they had to step in an adult role as a child and often didn’t allow themselves the luxury of crying. Other moms stop crying when they realize it scares their own young children. Oh, they may promise themselves a good cry in the shower or in bed after everyone is asleep, but then reality hits.
You barely have enough time to shower at all, much less have a good long cry and recover from it. By the time the kids are asleep, you can barely drag yourself to bed and definitely don’t have the energy a good cry requires. Suddenly all of these pent up tears become almost stuck inside. They may erupt from time to time at a sad movie or a wedding, but they are still often pushed back to keep husbands and kids calm.
Tears were given to us by God for a reason. They help us release a lot of the pent up stress and sadness from our system. Too many tears can be a signal we need someone to give us help dealing with something that is happening in our lives. Denying ourselves a good cry when we need it, leaves all of that stress stuck in our bodies, building up over time.
I am no psychologist, but I want to encourage you to have a good cry when you need it. Motherhood has lots of moments that may make you want to cry. Whether it is from the worry over a sick child, the frustration of a child who has made a bad decision, the fear from a child rejecting God or just the weariness of chasing after your three children under the age of five, you will need a cleansing cry from time to time.
Find a mom whose kids are older or even grown. Ask if you can come over her house while your kids are at school or your husband is with them. Then have that cry. Cry your heart out if you need to do so. Let her hug you and offer you tissues and a hot beverage. Then listen to any words of wisdom she might share. She may have nothing to offer than God’s love reflected through her nurturing, but often that may be all you need anyway.
If you see a younger mother looking particularly stressed, offer her the same support. Find a quite place at church where you won’t be interrupted or have her over to your home. Offer hugs and tissues and a listening ear. Reassure her you have cried many mommy tears yourself over the years. Let her know she is not alone. Remind her God loves her and is always there for her.
If you find yourself or the mom you are helping in long periods of crying accompanied by changes in sleeping and eating patterns, there may be an additional need for medical assistance. Most of the time though, moms just occasionally need a good cry. So stock up on tissues and let moms everywhere cry when they need to do so. If your kids and husbands catch you crying, it might actually be good for them. They probably need to know we aren’t so indestructible after all!