I never cried in front of my children, I always locked myself away or would leave the house and cry in my car so they would not witness to my sadness. Everywhere you turn there is information and opinions urging people not to cry in front of their children.
When my mother in law arrived to live with us seven years ago I became emotionally distressed and depressed; I would lock myself in my room to avoid her and to keep my children from witnessing my tears, I cried alot. I tried to keep them unaware of my emotional battle with their grandmother but I was unsuccessful. They would occasionally catch me crying and try to comfort me, those were the moments that gave me strength. After my mother in law moved out I rarely cried and our lives slowly regained its normalcy.
Sophie’s birth brought an immense sadness to our lives as we faced an uncertain future for her and our family. For the first two months of her life I practically lived in the NICU so the kids never realized how sad I was. I would cry and scream and release the built up emotions on my drive to and from the hospital. I was afraid that my sadness would somehow damage my children because that is pretty much what I had learned from society and the articles and books I had read on how to be the perfect parent, which does not exist by the way.
And so with each passing day I cried a little more. I cried alone, in my sleep and in front of my children. I explained to them that nothing they had done made me sad, they are pretty resilient and understand more than what we give them credit for. I was in so much pain emotionally that I felt it physically and crying was the only way I could manage to keep myself breathing.
Sometimes I would cry while I prepared dinner or just start shedding tears in the middle of a conversation. And guess what? It did not damage them! With time as I learned to live in my new normal I cried less, I became stronger my children became more empathetic.
I still cry, some days is can happen right out of the blue and it can be so heavy that holding back is impossible. And when it happens and I just feel so overwhelmed I have to cry. I try to go to my room but sometimes I can’t, my life is complicated but I don’t feel bad crying in front of my family. My children know why I cry, they understand my pain they know I it’s important to release your emotions.
At the end of the day I am confident I didn’t ruin them. Life is tough and I don’t want them to live thinking that it is easy. It’s also important that they learn that crying is not a bad thing and sometimes it’s one of the best ways to heal especially when you can combine it with talking about your pain at the same time.
So, I am guilty of crying in front of my kids and I don’t feel bad about it.