Sept. 5, 2018

When Mom Struggles (with guest Janelle Hanchett)

Moms aren't supposed to struggle; we're meant to be benevolent goddesses of wisdom and Hamburger Helper. But when things get really tough, should we tell our kids? Or is that burdening them? And what happens when there's things we really can’t share?

Moms aren’t supposed to struggle; we’re supposed to be benevolent goddesses of wisdom and Hamburger Helper. Our families (kids and yes, our partners too) have an invested need in our seeming safe and together at all times- and so we feel obligated to provide that.

 But are we then further contributing to the myth of Mom as infallible, perfect, able to handle it all?

 When things get tough, and the facade gets too hard to keep up, should we let our kids in? Or is that burdening them? And what happens when there’s things we really can’t share?

 We discuss struggles and the way back with guest Janelle Hanchett, author of the new book I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering. Janelle’s book explores motherhood from what she calls “a place of deep imperfection,” telling the story of her descent into alcoholism after having children, her separation from them, and their eventual reuniting. Janelle knows from struggle, and here’s one way she suggests we might address tough moments with our kids:

“This is why I’m struggling. And here’s what I’m doing to take care of myself. And you don’t have to worry, because this is what we’re going to do to get through it. And I’m not perfect. And I apologize to you for screwing up. And I’m going to try to do better in the future.”

I’m Just Happy to Be Here asks: does motherhood really turn us into better versions of ourselves? And what happens if that doesn’t happen? Even if addiction and recovery aren’t part of your motherhood story, we think you’ll really love Janelle’s book.

Here’s links to some of the other resources we discuss in this episode:

* Brene Brown’s TED Talk on the power of vulnerability

* Paige Nolan and her work honoring the truth of women’s lives

* Serena Williams’ Instagram feed, where she talks openly about her struggles with postpartum depression


Here’s our takeaway: we mothers don’t always have to compound our struggles by keeping them secret at all costs. It’s okay for us not to be okay sometimes.

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