You Are Not Invisible

An ever-growing list of housework that needs to be done…squabbling siblings…a cold that is making my head feel like it’s going to explode…and my spouse gone from dawn to dusk every day. It’s the perfect storm once again, and in spite of the flurry of texts, voicemails and Facebook messages I’ve sent out pleading for help, or at least for company in my misery, no one is coming to my rescue. Sometimes motherhood can feel so isolating.

There are a lot of other reasons I frequently feel lonely. The military lifestyle lends itself to those feelings of isolation. We live overseas, thousands of miles from our families, and even though I speak a little of the language, as long as I live here I will always be an outsider who sticks out like a sore thumb. To top it all off, I’ve been having health problems and I’m currently on a special diet so I have to avoid sugar, all grains, dairy, most beans and legumes, and a whole bunch of other stuff. That eliminates going out to eat or buying any convenient shortcut foods at the grocery store. Talk about isolating! But even if you’re not married to the military, living abroad, or struggling through a weird dietary change, being a mom can sometimes make you feel invisible. 

Image by Megan E. Lacy Photography

There are those days when you feel like you’ve asked every single person you know for help, and they are all too busy. There are the days when you’ve sent out a million texts but not one person has actually responded to you. And sometimes there are just days when, for reasons you don’t understand, you feel like there’s nobody you can talk to who will get it. You might wonder - do people hear me when I talk, or is there no sound coming out? Can anybody even see me over here, struggling with all my might to do the best that I can?

Yes, someone sees you. Your children see you. They see you struggle and refuse to give up. They see you constantly hard at work. They see you plugging away at the necessary tasks even when you feel like you’re about to collapse, because moms don’t get sick days. They see you, and one day, they will understand with deep gratitude how much you gave them. And chances are, there are other moms who see you, too. 

Look around you. Do you know other mamas? They struggle like you do. They have all been there. It’s true that they have their own kids and their own work and their own problems. But everybody needs help sometimes, even if they never ask. Be audacious enough to ask for help. And when you do, don’t shrug your shoulders and act like it’s NBD and you don’t really need help all that bad so it’s totally okay if everyone says no. Let people in and tell them how badly you need a nap!

We used to raise our children together in community, and family members and friends used to step in and take over when a woman, no matter how many children she had, needed a break. If one of my friends here on base told me she was sick and desperately needed to rest, I would bring my children over and send her to bed. Maybe all the kids would watch Baby Einstein and eat junk food, but she would take a nap and wake up to find that someone had done the dishes and maybe even made a pot of nourishing soup. And maybe the next time I’m down for the count with a virus, she would be able to return the favor.

You aren’t invisible, but unless you’re friends with a bunch of mutants, nobody around you can read your mind. Speak up! Tell your friends what you need. They want good things for you and they want to see you taking care of yourself. Being honest about your weaknesses may just open the door to a depth of friendship you didn’t know you were missing out on. If you’re tired of feeling invisible, let other people see you.

One Response to You Are Not Invisible

  1. Great post! I think this a really important thing that is pretty common among American moms, we feel like we have to be able to do it all. And if we can’t, we have failed some how or we’re not “mom enough”. In past generations, women used to raise their children together, quite literally with their village. I wish it was easier for us to ask for help. Hopefully, the more we do it, the more normal it will become some day and we can build our own villages.

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