“Do you hide in the shower when you need to cry?” Australian blogger Constance Hall wrote in a recent Facebook post.
“Do you wipe your puffy face quickly and answer your kids with ‘no no mummy’s fine.’”
The mum-of-four (with one more on the way) says that like many other parents she used to do just that. But in a blog post that has since gone viral, she explains why she no longer conceals “raw emotion” from her children.
“You know, you don’t want your kids to feel the insecurity of their rock breaking down,” she wrote.
“I remember sobbing behind a closed door determined that my children wouldn’t see me, a couple of years ago I cried a lot. And so things change... They inevitably caught me, they consoled me, in gentle caring ways, little arms on my shoulders as I lied about being fine. I got help, my life got better. But my children remained changed.”
Constance writes that one of her children recently reported that their teacher broke down during a class and some of the students “started making fun”. She says the story got her thinking about how we often react in these situations and that her mum always taught her to be fearless in the face of raw emotion.
“She had been through a lot in her short life, and always taught me, ‘Don’t be so worried about saying the wrong thing, just say something, go in for the hug, say your sorry, ask the questions, in a world where everyone is silent in the face of raw emotion just say something.’”
“When my step dad’s brother was dying we all stood silently in the room trying to be polite, my mum jumped on his bed and wrapped her arms around him and said “this is so shit” which allowed him the space to have a cry. I never forgot it.”
While recently watching a moving documentary with her children, Constance and her daughter began to tear up.
“My son put his arms around us both, patting and rubbing our backs. I realised that my kids are completely ok with human emotion, not traumatised from seeing their mum cry, they care and understand that this is life… People get hurt, people hurt people, mums have their limits and even teachers cry. There is such comfort for a child knowing that their rock can break down, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t secure. And if we can’t be there for each other why are we here at all?"
Her words clearly resonated, with nearly 30,000 people liking the post and thousands more voicing their support in the comments.