“Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.” – Paul Tournier
I have found that the most wonderful experiences in life can also be the most isolating. Marriage for example, is a wonderful companionship; however you can feel very alone when things aren’t as Disney promised they would always and forever be. You look around for someone going through a similar situation yet all you find are perfect marriages.
Parenting is too a wonderful companionship that delivers on more than what was promised; however when you feel your patience waning and your guilt growing you begin to look around for a comforting “me too” but all you find are patiently persevering parents with perfect progeny. And I guess this is where it begins, when those trials that we all face suddenly turn into secrets. On the surface you are a floating duck, smooth and elegant on the water; however below you are a pair of wheels spinning out of control and no one is the wiser.
I remember intimating to a friend what I thought motherhood would be. I thought it was this big club of women with outstretched arms waiting to tell me all about it. I thought it would be people championing one another during the highs and carrying one another during the lows. What I found though was a bit disappointing; instead of a club it was more like a sorority. Everyone was wearing the duds (I only shop at Lulu) and cleaning the house (her name is Mimi) and cooking the meals (you feed your baby from a jar?) and cultivating romantic relationships with their husbands (I love my new curves) while excelling at extra curricular activities (work has been really great). I was not. When deciding my options over what to do when baby was napping, sleep always won out, which meant showers were so yesterday (or was that the day before?)
I heard Will Smith once make a funny comparison saying that when he bought his big screen TV it came with a 70-page booklet written in 12 languages, yet when he had his first child the hospital just handed him the baby and said, ‘here’.
Now I freely share stories of me and my chickadee because I’m not ashamed for anyone to know (big news flash) that I’m not perfect and that I have moments as well as entire days that I wish I could do over but even then, I wouldn’t consider them to be failures. I may not have hit it out of the park those day but I went to bat. I tried and for that there is a lesson for my daughter: I will never be perfect and I will certainly make mistakes but I will always try my best for you. And inshallah, in the end I pray (as all mothers do) that my best will have been good enough.
Lena Hassan lives in Ottawa, Ontario and is a loving mother to one.