My middle child, now eleven, screamed for the first four months of her life. Unless she was in a swing. That swing saved my life, and probably several lives of those in my general proximity during those months. But at night, when she would scream through those dark, dark hours, not once did I believe that I was earning any sort of badge that would hold any weight or merit.
I did not wear my sleep deprivation as a symbol of honor, nor did I believe I had achieved anything worthy of any value when I was through that particular season.
There is nothing particularly honorable or boastful about the lack of something so vital.
This, however, is what we are fed as the ideal. We must give up everything for our children: sleep, hygiene, time, energy, goals, dreams, careers. There is this prevalent, prevailing ideal that a “good” mother is one who can walk through the hard seasons like she is earning trophies and still come out perfectly coiffed and sane, with no vestige of personal aspirations outside of those she has for her children.
Stop the madness.
Our struggles and our challenges in our darkest moments are not merit-worthy.
This is how we set ourselves and every other woman up for failure, aspiring to obtain or assigning badges to imaginary sashes or vests like we’re still Girl Scouts.
We’re all in the trenches, and rather than sashes, we need shields because some of these seasons that we walk through leave wounds that aren’t pretty. No badge will ever speak as loudly or as truthfully as the scars – especially the invisible ones – left behind.
After you have walked through a hard season, however, do not forget to drop your shield. Once you’ve taken the time to nurse your wounds, share the story of your scars.
“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Harper Nichols