My Challenge To You: Air Your Dirty Laundry

Have you ever known anyone who has consistently crazy things happen to them and thought, “Who does that happen to?”


image1It seems that every time we make it over a hurdle, a random 5 gallon bucket is thrown out of nowhere and displaces a knee cap. Over the years, we have learned that we have to wake up with our big girl panties on and ready to go as we never know what the day ahead of us holds. There are just so many possibilities! An injury, an illness, a toddler running around trying to pee on the dog that turns into a urine slip n slide for mommy, getting stuck in a kiddie car at an amusement park while trying to be a good mommy, a hard giggle that turns into a public fart and proceeds to an unexpected accident in a department store, a kid getting stuck in a plastic lawn mower, a disgruntled family member with a grudge from 8 years ago and they decided it HAS to be addressed today, etc.

By the way, these are just a very small few scenarios of things that have really happened to us.

As moms, we all have our stories of fun, mischief, and occasional moments of insanity that could easily have us put on an involuntary 72 hour hold at a local psych facility. Some days that latter option seems VERY appealing when I think about not having to cook, or wipe little toddler behinds, or listen to the Bubble Guppies theme song for the millionth time, and SLEEP! Oh God, I would be able to get uninterrupted SLEEP!

As a child, I was taught not to “air our dirty laundry.”

This basically meant for me not to go around telling people all of the dysfunctional fun we were currently experiencing, and in return, nobody could judge us. As an adult, I practiced this lesson and only told those who were very close to me the things going on in my life. Until one day, I heard a co-worker discussing the struggles she was having with her toddler son. It dawned on me that I had been through a very similar situation and decided to share my story with the women having the discussion. Both women had different responses to my story. One was left in awe and said that she couldn’t believe I had been through this. She said that I always seemed so together, and she imagined my life as a Leave it To Beaver household. The other was hysterically laughing and continuously thanked me for making her feel less alone in what she was going through.

image3My crazy, obsessive thought pattern kicked into overdrive after this. Why did my co-worker feel that I was always “so together?” As crazy people do, I answered myself and said, “because you never share any of these things with people.” So, I changed. I started telling people all of the things going on in our lives.

It became therapeutic for a few reasons.

It made people feel better about whatever was going on in their lives. So many times I feel, as moms, that we hold everything in for fear of others’ judgment. Ask yourself if YOU really care, or have you been “trained” to not “air your dirty laundry?” We teach our kids to be individuals and not care what others say or think. Yet, we fear what the moms on the side of us will think if her ideas of parenting aren’t the same as ours.

For example: Is she a mom … who doesn’t believe in spanking? Who doesn’t vaccinate or who does vaccinate? Who makes her kids eat clean and believes simple carbs and processed foods are the devil? Who doesn’t believe in kids having cell phones? Who doesn’t curse in front of her kids or who does? The list is endless, and all of us have questioned these things and more about another mother at one point.

But, what’s worse is that we questioned it so that our own behavior could be properly adapted to fit their ideas. Who cares?! We all parent differently, and the mom whose judgment you’re worried about is questioning the same things about you. It is so silly of all of us! Who knows what skeletons are in each others’ closets? The mom who forbids processed foods might be waking up and guzzling a mochaccino martini to handle her twin toddlers, or the mom who believes in her 8 year old having an iPhone may be a single mom who needs her child to have access to her at all times.

The point is, if it works for your family, then that is what you’re supposed to be doing.

dirty laundry featuredDon’t be ashamed of it, just go with it. The second reason sharing became therapeutic was it gave me an outlet, and I wasn’t carrying everything around inside all of the time. I didn’t feel so alone! I didn’t even know I felt alone until I started hearing others’ stories that were sickly familiar and amusing.

I challenge you to do two things.

First, I challenge you to tell one of your own mommy stories when you hear another mother at a loss or in despair over her own problems. Tell her the story, without fear of judgment, about the time you spanked your child and felt guilty for days. Or the time you were politely asked not to return to church until your child was better behaved. Or even the time your child ate something green, and you weren’t sure if it was sidewalk chalk or rat poison, and after a trip to the ER, you got a surprise visit from CPS. Again, all of these situations have happened to us. Embrace your crazy fun and share it! The second part of the challenge is to listen to a mom with a nonjudgmental and empathetic ear.

We all have our moments where our kids do something we find horribly embarrassing, planned events that turn into disasters, and other secrets that we wouldn’t dare tell a soul because we work so hard to appear “together,” and not air our dirty laundry.

About MiMi Herman

image5MiMi is the definition of the word matriarch to a modern day family. A wife, mother of two children, Hailey (9) and Deuce (3), stepmother of two adult children and a grandmother of three, she has very busy days and manages the chaos with an open mind and glass of wine (or TWO!). She is an agency nurse who travels throughout the Greater New Orleans area helping hospitals staff their units and provide quality care for their patients. MiMi just recently started blogging and sharing her family’s daily adventures after realizing that all moms need a little comedic relief about the challenges that come with the title “mommy.” She enjoys hearing feedback from other moms while also learning from their stories and loves knowing her stories may help others or just help them feel better about their own struggles. MiMi was born and raised in New Orleans and recently moved back to the South shore with her husband and children. To read MiMi’s candid and hysterically entertaining stories, follow her blog, Managed Chaos.


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