Exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time, I hid behind motherhood for years, reasoning that I couldn’t possibly add more to my plate, and that my children needed me to give them my all. These things felt very true for me at the time. It was also true, however, that I’d built my entire identity around being an intentional, super invested mom. The idea of stepping out from behind that all-encompassing identity and trying on something new felt terrifying. I was deep in survival mode, but it was all I knew. It was familiar, which is an easy place to get “comfortable.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not entirely against hiding. Sometimes we need to hide. Sometimes the harshness of the world is simply too great for our postpartum vulnerability, our heartbroken exhaustion, our heightened sensitivities, or our wearied, worn-out bodies.
We cover wounds with bandages to protect them while they heal. We hide them. Most baby mammals wouldn’t survive a single day unless their mother hid their nest with care and consideration. Sometimes hiding is in order.
But if thriving is our goal, there will inevitably come a time when we must reassess our motivations for continuing our cover. We can start by asking ourselves:
• Is hiding helping me heal or is it allowing me to conceal the uncomfortable fact that I’m not doing so well?
• Is staying busy necessary in order to move through this especially crazy season, or is it a way of disguising my pain and longing?
• Is keeping myself hidden from the world contributing to my growth, or driven by my shame?
• Is my motivation for hiding rooted in self-honoring, or a fear of being seen as imperfect?
Only you know whether your hiding is an act of self-love or self-abandonment. For those of you in the latter camp, I offer the following reminder:
Deep down, you know you were put on this planet to express the most authentic, courageous version of yourself. Deep down, you won’t be satisfied until you brave vulnerability, show up imperfectly, and let your true self be seen and known.
Hide if you need to. Just don’t make a home somewhere too small for the whole of you.
Leaving the light on for you,