As mothers and wives, we try so hard to put our best foot and our best face forward. That’s admirable, but it’s not really possible. There will be times when we are tired, grouchy, or sad. At those moments, we need to give ourselves permission to let our feelings show. When we do this in our marriage, we’re saying to our husband that we trust him to deal lovingly with us and our emotions.
Author Jill Savage talks about taking off the mask in her life. It made her stronger as a person, and it helped her to get through a very rough time in her own marriage. Here’s how and why she took off her mask.
Wearing masks prevents us from being known and from knowing others. Not being real isn’t healthy for anybody, including yourself and your kids. Vulnerability is scary, but it is the backbone of strength in healthy relationships. When you know yourself and allow yourself to be known, it’s easier to know your spouse and your children.
I speak from experience. In my early parenting years, I was not very in tune with myself emotionally. If I cried, I did so in private. If I was sad, I pushed the feeling away. I was afraid to be honest with my kids about my struggles because I didn’t want them to be burdened with them. Of course, when they are younger, this is appropriate. However, as they grew older, I missed the opportunity to be known to myself, my husband, and my children.
It wasn’t until my husband experienced a midlife crisis and left for three months that I allowed myself to be known. At the time, my children ranged from ages fifteen to twenty-seven, and I couldn’t fix this hurt in their lives. I could only cry with them. In this dark season, I learned the value of vulnerability. Taking off my mask allowed myself to be known and therefore enabled me to actually know my children better as well. If your children are small, begin practicing “being known” in your marriage and friendships. As your children grow older, give your kids the gift of yourself—real, imperfect, and exactly what they need.
Taken with permission from No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage.