Do you ever try to keep your kids in a bubble of innocence? As if nothing bad or hard or hurtful could ever happen to them or those they love? As if difficult things don’t exist? That would be nice, huh?
And life is not always fun and exciting and good, no matter how much we wish it was.
I feel like we owe it to our kids to tell them about the hard things. Tell them about our struggles, so they know they’re not alone or abnormal when they face struggles of their own.
Like one day a couple months ago, my 6 year old son asked me “how was your day?”
I could’ve answered something to the effect of “it was fine,” but I stopped myself.
How was my day?
I was 37 weeks pregnant. I woke up extra early to be at the hospital so they could attempt to turn our breech baby – but they couldn’t, so I had to schedule a C-section instead.
And that. was. hard.
So that’s what I said. No, I didn’t tell him every detail of how I was scared out of my mind to have major surgery and then have to take care of a newborn. I didn’t tell him how extremely painful and uncomfortable the process was that morning.
But I did say I had a rough day.
“My day was really hard, actually,” I told him, a concerned look growing on his face. “You know how our baby isn’t turned the right way? Daddy and I went this morning to see if the doctor could turn her… but he couldn’t. She’s stuck. So that means I’m going to have to have surgery to get her out.”
“Yeahhh, I was hoping that wouldn’t have to happen,” he said, and hugged me.
“Me too. And you know what? I cried. A lot.”
“You did?!” he asks, looking up at me, surprised, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry!”
And that, mamas, is exactly why we need to talk about the difficult things with our kids. So they know it’s okay to cry when you’ve had a really hard day. So they know it’s perfectly normal to feel strong emotions. Our kids need to know we have struggles — even as adults. They need to know we make mistakes, do things wrong, or require forgiveness from others. We don’t have to tell them exactly every detail of what happened, but if we don’t talk about the struggles in our lives, how will they know how to handle the struggles in theirs? Let your kids know you cry and struggle and mess up sometimes. And then let them know what you did after that — did you pray about it, talk to someone you trust, or have to apologize to someone?
Letting our kids see us go through difficult things helps them understand how to do the same. Because there will be days without sunshine, even though we hate it.