It is what I do. It is who I am.

As a woman–a mom– I tend to have this ability to try to carry the burden of others on my own shoulders.

My teen has already had a tough year. We have been ’round and ’round with that ridiculous administrator to the point where I am pretty sure I am going to have to either really go off or homeschool. Neither sounds good and both sound like trouble for me. The point is, my son and I talk. He shares with me when he has a problem. Being who I am, I tend to take a bit of that problem, hike it up onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.

My preteen. He is going through something right now that turns me inside out with my desire to fix it. Yet, I have to go against a lot of maternal instinct and let him figure some things out on his own. But when he hurts, I hurt. When he comes to me with a problem or worry, I listen. I try to help. I offer whatever words of advice or comfort that I can and pray that I have done enough to give him strength to stand strong and figure some things out on his own. However, every time he comes to me with a worry, before I know it, I have hiked a little bit of that worry onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.

My daughter. She is just now at that stage where she is learning that not everyone goes to all of the parties. Not everyone will say nice things to her. And the world just isn’t a perfect place. Oh, how I want to shield her and make the world the princess world of her imagination. Right now, when she comes crying to me over hurt feelings, I can wipe away her tears and have her feeling better in no time. Right now, it hasn’t become so heavy that I struggle with her worries. Yet. Though, with every tear drop that falls on my shoulder, I hike up a little bit of that pain onto my shoulders and try to carry some of her burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.

My husband. He is the love of my life. We are partners in this journey of life. I do what I can to help him along in his career, but there isn’t much I can do. Being in management there are times he just comes home stressed and needs to unload. I listen. I offer what minimal perspective I have on the situation and do what I can to at least make his home feel less stressful. Even knowing there is nothing I can do to make anything that has to do with his work better or easier, before I realize it, have hiked a little bit of that worry onto my shoulders and try to carry some of his burden. It is what I do. It is who I am.

I have to be honest, sometimes it gets pretty heavy. My shoulders may sag a bit. My walk may slow down a bit. My energy lagging. It can take it’s toll on how I feel both physically and mentally. But it is what I do. And I know that given a choice, I will always take any burden I can and help carry it for any member of my family.

And then? Sometimes? Sometimes, I get my feet kicked out from under me with my own burdens. My own worries. My own fears. My own tears. My own stresses. Those things alone? Perhaps I could stand up against it, but the weight of all that I carry suddenly feels too heavy and I drop to my knees. Something that is probably nothing brings me to my knees and keeps me there. Immobile. Frozen. Something that may have been taken in stride suddenly scares the wits out me to a point that I shut down.

Share the burden? I can’t. I couldn’t. I won’t. It is silly. They would think I am ridiculous. My fear is unfounded. They have their own worries. My “probably nothing” is not worthy of anyone else’s time or concern. I wouldn’t know what to say. I am not going to bother anyone else with my worries or silliness. I am over reacting and they don’t need my drama. I can do this alone.

Me? Afraid? Of course I am. So much so. But I’d never tell. It is what I do. It is who I am.

20 Comments

  1. You have worked so hard to teach your sons and daughter how to be strong, when to ask for help, how to let go of the things you cannot control. Me thinks you need to take your own advice! Your troubles are no less important than their’s, and you wouldn’t think of calling them silly or over reacting.

  2. I woke this morning and read your piece to my boyfriend laying in bed. I was tearing up by the second sentence, and bawling before I was done. You described me to a tee, at least I know now I’m not the only one who feels this way. I especially took to heart your line ” Yet, I have to go against a lot of maternal instinct and let him figure some things out on his own. But when he hurts, I hurt.”

    I didn’t do that part. In return I have a fourteen year old son who has been in and out of school since the sixth grade, unable to function in society. He has been home with me since April of last year, expelled from school until Jan of this year. He’s lost, I’m lost.. and to top it off my twelve year old daughter is repeating the sixth grade this year. Both of my children are very intelligent. It’s just that I carried too much of their burden for them, and now I’m paying the price.

    I’m not exactly sure where I took a wrong turn a few years back with my kids, but I hope that parents reading here with younger children will take that to heart, and learn to let go. It makes ALL the difference in a families life.

    Sorry for the long post, but you touched me deep inside with your writing. Kudos… and thank you.

  3. {{{{hugs}}}}

    Sometimes that all we can give each other. I’ve agonized over my child’s participation in a project all week. He’s sixteen. This is not something I should lose sleep over. But I do.

    You’re not alone.

  4. I am new to your blog and wow… what a post to come in on! You have so perfectly captured many of my own feelings… thank you.

  5. And that’s what makes you a good mom. You care enough to step back when necessary, but of course you feel every emotion they have within you. Some days, the role just sucks! But what I’ve usually found is the very moment that I don’t think I can do this anymore, something happens to make at least one of them very happy – and I get to share in their joy, too!

  6. You know when you meet people who compare their dogs to having children? They should have to read this. It’s like my heart gets on the school bus everyday and I can only hope the world is tender with it.

  7. Aww, I know how you feel I really do. We have a lot of stress in our lives these days and I often feel like I have to shoulder it to ease the load for others. I think most women do that. Women are strong, strong creatures – truly we hold our families together. Sounds like you are doing great.

  8. As I was reading this I thought, were we separated at birth? Taking on others problems and trying to tough out my own on my own — SO me. And I’m not bragging.

  9. You’re beautiful, that’s what I think.

  10. Words are powerful, and yours are amazingly so. Being a listener is a rare skill. The downside, though, is just what you mentioned; your shoulders begin to sag with the weight of others’ burdens. Sending good thoughts your way…wishing you luck in your difficult times.

  11. I so understand you aching over your teens’ problems, and then when heavy problems hit you personally, you feel overburdened.

    I hope you find a good friend who can ease your burdens a little so that you can go back to making your childrens’ load lighter.

  12. Fabulous post. Fabulous, fabulous.

  13. Aw, Jenn — Those shoulders of yours are so strong and you have proven that again and again over the last several years. Of course you feel the pressure sometimes; you are human. But in addition to your strength, you have a wicked sense of humor, which manages to show up just when you need it most.

    Try not to stress too much over what the husband and kids are going through. I know it’s cliche, but life does have a way of working out.

  14. You know, you say you can’t share the burden because you wouldn’t feel right sharing, but what about how the other members of your family feel? If it makes you feel good when they share with you, wouldn’t it make sense that they might feel necessary or useful or special if you were to talk honestly with them? You don’t have to burden them, but just the human interaction, the act of talking, the fact that someone else hears what you say can lighten the load significantly. Didn’t you feel a little lighter after you wrote this – and after reading all of the comments? Beautiful post by the way – made me stop and think.

  15. it’s been awhile since I’ve been here, I do apologize.

    Jenn, I understand totally how you feel. And I am realizing that sometimes its okay to lean on others…sometimes its okay to realize that you are just as important as others, and your problems are just as important as others. ANd please know that your “probably nothing” IS worth anyone’s time. Being the listener you are for your family has probably been a great comfort to them, and this is why they turn to you…but if you don’t find someone to turn to how are you always going to be the good comfort for them?
    But trust me, I understand that this is easier to say than to actually do, because I am the same way.

    *hugs* hang in there woman, and I hope you know that if you have a “probably nothing” and I’m online, that you know I’m here for you to talk.

  16. I loved this post. I have a teen, a pre-teen, and a little girl who is just starting to go through some of the hurts life brings. I wish you lived next door to me!

  17. Just started reading your blog. I have an almost 10 year old girl and I can certainly relate to the hurt, and not being able to do anyting. I feel overwhelmed at times…well most of the time. And most of the time I try to hide it from my husband and kids and it stinks. Sometimes I just want to say “I don’t want to be the mommy anymore”

    hang in there

  18. You are a PARENT.
    Not just ANY parent! You are a magnificent Mom.Don’t question yourself “why” you carry the burdens of your children….they understand,hun.You just love them so much that obviosly you’d walk through fire with gasoline underwear on,for them.
    Take a loo at the mothers’ that don’t seem to care AT ALL about their offspring….and it baffles me.But I understand exactly where you are,luv.You would rather take on the pain than to see them go through it.
    But sweety,it’s all about living and learning…and with every incident that your kiddo’s go through only makes them STRONGER and STRONGER.
    Your an awesome mOM.i ADMIRE YOU FOR THAT.
    Becuz it is “what you do—and WHO you are”.
    Hugggggs

  19. My sister, parent of two teens and one soon-to-be teen, has been enduring the social outcast scenario with her 18-year-old daughter. Recently my niece was moaning to her again, particularly chagrined that she had to dump her woes on her mother. My sister wisely said something like “I know it’s awful to feel like I’m the only person you can talk to about these things, but I promise the day will come when you’ll have true friends you can rely on and you won’t need to come to me as much. Until then, I’m happy to be able to be your friend.” I hope some of that wisdom is rubbing off on me.

    You’re doing a good job. Keep it up.

  20. Hey, you rock! i’m sure your kids have told you that countless times. if they haven’t, well, you rock!

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