Honestly, We Need More Honesty

485 days of loving more!

I wrote this post about six weeks ago when some personal struggles will still ever-present. I share it tonight with The Orange Rhino Community because I think it is an important message to take home on one’s journey to yell less and love more. 

* * * * *

With a blizzard headed towards our town, I buckled all four boys into the mini-van and headed to the grocery store. You know, along with every one else I knew. After circling and circling looking for a parking spot, we finally found one. I pulled out my phone and perused the grocery list my husband had emailed me. Yes, you read that right. My husband normally does the grocery shopping. It is one of his favorite things to do and boy do I embrace it!

Some blizzard, eh?

“Cheese. Turkey. Slider Rolls. Chicken Nuggets. Pork Loin.”

Okay, time for some honesty. Not only do I not grocery shop, I don’t cook. I mean I cook, but not real elaborate meals. Cooking has never really been of interest to me so when I met a man who loved it, well, I hung my apron up and said “Great, when should we get married?!” Now baking on the other hand, baking I do. Just ask my hips, they won’t lie! So being a baker and a non-cooker, I stopped when I read the words “Pork Loin.”

Shoot.

I had no idea what a Pork Loin was. Pork chops? Yes. Pork Loin? No. No problem I figured, I’ll go into the grocery store, read the labels and I’ll be all set. Right? After weaving through people, grocery carts, cheese displays, wine displays and understandably whining children and moms, my entourage and I arrived at the meat section. I looked and looked at labels but nothing said “Pork Loin” on it.

Double shoot.

I wanted to ask for help but honestly, I felt embarrassed. How could a mom, a woman, not cook? How could I not know what a Pork Loin was? It was so simple really, and there truly was no reason to be embarrassed and yet I was. It is hard to be honest sometimes because of the judgment (real and perceived) that exists in the world. I have been laughed at before for my inability to cook; I have been silently shamed for not cooking better meals for my family, for not cooking for my husband.  And cooking aside, I have felt judged in the past when I dared to share emotions about various topics from my child’s behavior to my struggles with motherhood, “me-hood” and marriage. So right now in this moment, I found myself hesitant to be honest and admit my need for help. But, with my boys starting to rock the grocery cart and go at each other, I had no choice.

I scanned the people around me, looking for someone loving, understanding and clearly knowledgeable! I spotted an older woman with a softness about her, intently scanning a chicken package. Yes, she fit the bill!

“Excuse me?” I said quietly, “My husband told me to get a pork loin and I don’t know what that is.”

Her response? The best response EVER!

“Oh, honey, I don’t know either. I don’t cook much. Let’s find another lady and ask her.”

Wait. I wasn’t alone? I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know? I couldn’t believe the sense of relief I felt over a pork loin conversation! I no longer felt embarrassed, but encouraged. What happened next blew my mind and still makes me chuckle. I had asked the chicken lady because of her external softness. Turns out she had a great loudness within. Oh, had I clearly picked the right woman to ask.

“HEY LADIES!” she shouted. Yes, shouted out into the section. Eyes turned. My boys stopped picking on each other and froze. My heart stopped.

“This mom needs help getting a pork loin. Who can help her?”

“I can!” said a nice lady with black wavy hair. “Come here sweetie.” She welcomed me without rolling eyes that thought, “wow, you don’t have a clue” and instead with a smile that so clearly said “Hey, it’s all good. We all learn at some point. Let me help.”

We scanned the pork selection together; her asking me what my husband was cooking (me: um, I don’t know, pork?) and explaining the different cuts for different recipes. She agreed it was all quite confusing and that nothing said “pork loin” but finally suggested a particular cut. I graciously thanked her for her time on such a busy day and wheeled my entourage on to the next aisle.

I couldn’t stop smiling. My boys continued to bicker and complain that it was taking too long but I just kept smiling. It must have been a sh*t eating smile because my oldest son asked me:

“Mommy, why are you smiling like that? You look weird.”

And so I let him inside my brain that doesn’t stop thinking about life and insights and you know, blog titles.

“I am smiling like this because I just came up with a blog title.  Wanna here it?”

“No.”

I chuckled and told him anyway. I had decided I had a lesson to share that if my boys could embrace it young, it would help them time and time again.

“Oh well. Here it is: ‘Honestly, we all need more honesty!’ You see guys, mommy felt scared to admit she was struggling and didn’t know something. I worried what people would say when I admitted to this feeling. But then when I told my story, turns out that someone else understood and I wasn’t alone and then I got help. And it felt great. But, I would have kept feeling not-so-good if I hadn’t shared what I felt in the first place and we would still be stuck in the meat section, not the cookie section.”

And that was the honest to goodness truth. I used to cry myself to sleep at night after I had yelled at my kids. I used to think all day that I was an awful mother, the only mother, who yelled at her kids. I used to struggle with wanting to talk about it, but not having the courage to tell anyone because I feared judgment.  It was an awful feeling yelling, it hurt so much and broke my heart; but it was perhaps an even more awful and hurtful feeling keeping that truth all to myself.

The day I started being honest with people about my yelling, a weight lifted.

I discovered I wasn’t alone.

I discovered I wasn’t the worst mom in the world.

I discovered that people didn’t judge me, but supported me in my desire to change.

I discovered that my story, made others feel better, just as the woman in the store declaring she didn’t know what a pork loin was, made me feel better.

I discovered that sharing honestly and openly about my struggles is quite powerful.

The day I started being honest with people about my yelling I started healing.

Yes, I started healing.

It took courage and strength to be honest, especially after having received judgment, shame, and ridicule in the past when I shared honestly about a variety of struggles in my life. Oh how I wish this weren’t the case. Oh how I wish people didn’t have to be scared to share their honest struggles. Oh how I wish people could share openly and begin to feel hope and happiness sooner than later. Oh how we honestly need more honesty so that less people feel alone and more hearts heal.

I am glad that I pushed through my fears and finally started sharing honestly.

Discovering that I wasn’t alone and that other people shared my experience and could offer support so greatly soothed the sting of my truth and helped my heart feel a little better. Right now I am hiding two very hurtful truths. I want to share about them but fear judgment. So I am keeping them to myself, feeling lonelier than ever; my heart feeling sadder than ever.

But I want to start healing. I need to start healing. I need to start sharing.

I know sharing works, I know it heals. I will find the courage to share again soon, because I know someone else needs to hear my honesty so that she too can heal, so that we can heal together. And once I find that courage, I will look for the Chicken Lady to scream out loud to the world about my honest struggle out so that it isn’t only two of us who heal, but many.

* * * * *

Here is one of the truths I wanted to share about and finally did: One Truth About Asking for Help

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35 thoughts on “Honestly, We Need More Honesty

  1. I am very lucky and am part if a very awesome moms group. We have all know each other since we were pregnant with our first child (they are all 6.5 yrs now) and just last month in our group we got really honest and everyone admitted to our shortcomings (real and perceived). I was astounded at the relief I felt just sharing things i was self conscious about and how much more connected I felt to the women I have considered my best friends for 7 years now. I urge everyone to be more honest and less judgmental about our own short comings and those of people around us! It is so liberating! I have been so much less stressed about not being perfect or not even feeling “good enough” at being a mom.

  2. I really needed to read this tonight. Thank you for being my Chicken Lady. I’ve struggled for so long with feelings of mom inadequacy. I think it started with the postpartum depression I suffered with after my 5 yr old was born. I didn’t have mom friends so I went searching for some. The problem was the fact that all these moms I was trying to meet up with were absolutely thrilled with being a mom, in their eyes nothing was better. I didn’t want cheery unicorn and rainbow moms. I wanted to meet someone who would agree when I said “this is hard”. I wanted to find someone who felt what I felt. I’ve been keeping all this inside until I found your blog and I realized that there are other people who feel how I feel. I don’t have to be so ashamed to feel this way and that allows me to be a little more honest with myself. I’ve worked so hard to look like I got this parenting thing down that I’ve deluded myself as well. I look forward to the day I can be the Chicken Lady for someone else, but for now I can be happy with knowing that I’m not alone in this journey.

    • Oh Karrie I know exactly how you feel! I look back now and realize I had postpartum depression after I had my 5 year old. I look back now and see that’s when my issues with myself started. I agree, this parenting thing is definitely hard! It has gotten worse, but also better at the same time after having my second who is now 2 and a half. Accepting the realization that I’m not alone and not the only one going through these things is a big step!

  3. Thank you for sharing!!!! I actually went to a therapist, because I felt horrible for yelling at my kids. I wanted help. Instead, she told me yelling was unacceptable. That if I couldn’t control it, child protective services would need to be called. I never hit my children. I didn’t demean them in any way. But I did yell. She had me terrified. I waited for weeks for DCF to show up at my front door. I never spoke of it again to anyone. But I did slowly work on it, on my own. But I felt so disgusted with myself for years. Reading your blogs helps me to know that perhaps I’m really not a monster!!! So I thank you!!! You’ve helped my heart to start healing.

    • That is so wrong. I’m discovering with this challenge that support is so important. How dare a professional say that when you are reaching out for support. I am glad that I found this blog for support.

  4. That brought a couple of good tears to my eyes. The truth shall set you free. Honestly. :) And the best part of this? “Sh*t eating smile”. Growing up in my home it was sh*t eating grin. Love that expression – both the verbal and physical. :)

  5. One of the hardest things I do on a daily basis is convincing others that they need to cut themselves some slack, they need to give themselves a break, and challenge their unrealistic negative self statements to help them feel better. I’m a mental health therapist and every day I see people that are overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious for the tasks they feel they HAVE to accomplish and the fear of not meeting expectations they have for themselves or what they percieve others have for them. The worst part about this is that I preach a good game and a lot of the time I really do practice what i preach however when it comes to being honest with Myself and identifying those things that I struggle with which so often can seem so simple… And that I feel I should have mastered already – I mean, hello, I am a therapist for goodness sake – it’s absolutely the hardest for me. So here is my truth. I hired a cleaning lady. I can’t care and show the love i have for my 10 month old, work full time – where my focus is solely on helping other people, devote the energy to my marriage that I want to AND care for myself… if I have to worry about scrubbing the stupid toilets or mopping the kitchen floor. I admitted this to my mother tonight after reading your post, I expecting to be shamed and guilted for not being a better woman, wife or mother but instead she said “I’m so proud of you for taking the initiative to take care of you and your family before you got to overwhelmed. I think that is a fabulous idea”. Wow. Honesty and being open about the insecurities does wonders for the soul. I should know that. I am a therapist, but hey, I had to learn it first hand I guess and I did tonight. And not its not an insecurity. It just is.

  6. This IS hard… Parenting IS HARD! Here’s my honesty, here’s my reality: I yell & I spank BUT I don’t want to anymore. I found the original Orange Rhino project, and I was moved by her honesty. It made me cry, I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt the shame after the outburst. I don’t know why I get so angry. However I suspect it is due to unrealistic expectations I place on myself which becomes enormous pressure to perform and when my children act out and delay my achievement of those expectations it builds and builds until I explode. I was never yelled at when I was a child, I was never spanked, so why do I do it? Here’s my other truth: I’m an Autism Spectrum mom. My oldest is High Functioning Autistic with ADHD symptoms. He’s only 4, and everything I know and have read states you should not yell or spank. They don’t get it, they only learn to express their emotions inappropriately when they get angry. As an ASD mom I’m supposed to be above all this, I’m supposed to have infinite patience because that is what is required. But still I fail. I had a good week, then I lost it tonight. I will continuously endeavor to do better. I am always looking for inspiration to hang on and hold my ground on this path to self improvement. Thank you ladies for your honesty, and for letting me share mine.

  7. You are not alone. I too do not cook or food shop. My husband does both. I rarely tell people because I feel judged and sometimes ridiculed. It doesn’t help that I am a SAHM, I’ve had a few “well then what do you do all day” comments. I am so happy to know that I am not the only one!

    P.S – I LOVE to bake too!!

  8. When I read your blog tonight, I laughed. Not with judgement, but understanding!! I, too, married a man that is not only a much better cook but really enjoys it, as well. So, I’ve never cooked an elaborate meal either but can bake a mean apple pie. Anytime I have to grocery shop for something more than the few items my husband forgot the day before, I get anxious. I’m afraid of looking stupid. But if I can just be honest with myself and others, I can be open to finding my Chicken Lady and getting the help I need. Thank you for being one of the many Chicken Ladies I need!

  9. Awesome story. I love that you are NORMAL. I love that we can have no idea what we are doing but can do it anyway. Great job. Thanks for sharing

  10. I am also in that boat, I have no idea what a pork loin is as I don’t cook. My husband enjoys it and is good at it!

  11. I can’t really relate to the I don’t Cook i am a bad mom – part – it’s 2013 ladies there is a bunsh of mums who obviously have a LOT of other skills on their part! But the message in the post is if course brilliant. We are all more or less ruled by our fears even to the point were we Will not ask for help for the big nor small little things.. By being honest towards people, to be honest with our kids makes us more authentic and it is like shedding light over trolls – they Will crack! Like in fairytales.. Thankyou you are wonderful.

  12. This made me laugh. Which is a good thing…not laughing at you but with you and thanks to you. :-) And that’s what my mom keeps reminding me… laughter really is good medicine. For parenting woes, marital stress, a multitude of ailments. And it’s really hard to yell at someone when you’re laughing at yourself. So I’ll share a couple laugh-worthy stay-at-home-mom escapades from this week: For most of the day Tuesday I “took care of” a box turtle I found in the back yard … I was flying high, thought I was the coolest mom on earth… I put him in a cardboard box with water and carrot shreds and dandelion leaves… couldn’t explain to the boys why this particular turtle was so shy….yeah, he was dead. When I found him. So much for Supermom award…. and just a minute ago I was switching the laundry over and found 22 beans. I had left a seed packet in the pocket of my pants. The first two that went flying made a sound when they hit the floor like buttons so I was checking all the shirts in the load to make sure they weren’t missing buttons… then I saw a bean, but thought it was a bug… so I shrieked a little (fortunately washer is in basement so I didn’t wake the boys). Crazy thing is I googled it to see if I could still plant the beans… turns out I’m not the only one to have done this… :-)

  13. Your honesty, integrity, and vunerability, which infuses your sharing with warmth, humor and strength is nothing short of amazing. Asking for help and risking judgment is, well, risky, and yet you did it and benefitted from it in more ways than learning about pork loin. Knowing that you are burdened by more that you are holding in side is heartbreaking to me because you are doing so much for all of us…but I don’t know what I can do for you! This community you started that has come together shares a bond and you hold the glue bottle! Hopefully many of us will storm heaven for you because God knows your needs even when people don’t. Orange Rhino…toot your horn for your courage!

  14. You blow me away OR. This is an amazing piece of writing, and an amazing piece of sharing. Words can’t even express how proud I am of my friend.

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. You are most definitely not alone. p.s. I wouldn’t know a pork loin if it came up & slapped me!!! x

  16. Whenever I yell or snap at my kids (4yrs and 2 yrs) I feel so guilty and sad. .I cry all the time…I feel so cruel n awful doing that…every day I start a fresh and very determination that I won’t do it again..but sometimes it just happens. ..I struggle. ..by chance I saw ur page…I’m relieved that I’m not alone. ..its first time I’m writing this in words…I struggle. .but I’m trying…your hrlp me in being a good…n hopefully I’ll be able stop it…thanks

  17. This looks like a mirror. Thank you for all your support & honesty to help us all! I hope we can all let go of the hidden hurts & feelings to become better people.

  18. I really needed to read this. I was in a Bible study where we were reading a book that came with homework. We had to write on cards why we do what we do. I wrote down that I yell because I feel like I don’t know what I am doing. I showed it to my husband and he was surprised that this is how I feel. It’s scary when you deal with your true feelings but so refreshing at the same time.

  19. This is SO me!! I used to be able to cook a little, but what few skills I have have atrophied. I do, however, have people beating down the door for my brownies and chocolate chip cookies. My husband grocery shops, too, at 5 a.m. on Saturdays. I’m embarrassed about how little I know about finding cuts of meat; forget knowing how to prepare them. Good for you for stepping out and asking!

  20. Thank you for the encouragement! Anyone who shamed you for not cooking should be ashamed themselves! We all bring different talents, skills and interests to our marriages and if cooking isn’t your thing so what! I think it is awesome that your husband cooks! And even more awesome that the women in the grocery store that day had your back! We all need a little more of that. Cheers!

  21. This is my first time commenting as I’m a new reader, recommended to me by a woman who knows you IRL…so glad she told me about you! I loved this post because it sounded like it was me writing my own post! I do not cook, my husband does the grocery shopping and cooking and has also sent me to the store for pork loin not knowing what to look for! And baking is totally my thing! Fortunately, I’ve been with him some trips that he’s pointed certain things out so I’m a little more knowledgeable now than before he told me :) I loved that you shared your struggle with your kids so that they knew how you were feeling and how you overcame your fear to solve the problem, and feel good about it! Your blog and challenge have come into my life at just the right time, so thank you!

  22. I heard about this website at a parenting class I attended last night on dealing with anger with kids. I have only read 2 of your posts from the last two days and I am almost in tears at how comforted I feel. I have great friends, but I gotta tell you that reading this post from a complete stranger, someone disciplined enough to have a blog (!) – I don’t know…it just hit me in a different way. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  23. Nice to know I’m not alone. Been under a LOT of stress the last few years and still don’t really know how to handle it all. Hubby is trying to help but there are days I want to smack him upside his head. *sigh* It’s also nice to be in a community where we’re not pretending to be SuperMoms and not looking down on others for not being SuperMoms either. Thanks.

  24. I really needed to see this post this morning – thank you for being an inspiration; a help; a catalyst in healing. It’s nice to know I’m not the terrible mother I feel like inside my head.

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