I heard myself say it all the time. It was the standard response to any inquiry of my day, my mood, my life, my attitude. It was a knee-jerk response; something I would say without truly thinking about or even meaning it.
But if I were to think about it – was I really just fine? Sometimes, this was the truth. My day was going along normally, no major dilemmas or stressors. I was feeling happy and content.
But sometimes, this was not the truth. I was feeling tired, overworked, frustrated, or sad. Yet when asked how I was doing or if something was wrong, I would answer with the same response.
Maybe it was growing older in age or in motherhood, but I realized one day that I was lying — lying to myself and to those around me, and for no purpose other than to gloss over the truth.
I felt a pressure to have everything seem good and normal on the outside, but somewhere along the way, that pressure became too much to bear. I was tired of pretending that everything and every day was just fine, so I made an effort to be honest.
How are you doing?
Well, I slept maybe three hours last night with a teething baby. I could use some coffee.
How are things going?
I’m feeling well, but I’m swamped with work right now – I feel like it’s never-ending!
Is something wrong?
Yes, my teenager is really grinding on my nerves, so I’m sorry if I seem tense.
It is about balancing the truth without being a burden. I never want to be the person who unloads my entire life on another person, which can feel overbearing and stressful. On the other hand, I think it is unfair to give a false perception of what life is actually like. It is not picture-perfect moments every day. It means that the children are not always well-behaved, that we make mistakes as parents and adults, and that bad days are commonplace.
Instead of hiding it, share it.
When we embrace these moments and share them with others, we can provide hope and comfort. We are all women and mothers doing the best we can – and while this might be fine, it does not have to be our response to everything.
Stop saying, “I’m fine,” and start being honest – a little effort can go a long way!