Every time my 4-year-old son asks me if i’m okay, I would answer (with a big fake smile) that “Of course, mom’s always ok!”
I did it because I want him to feel that I’m okay even if I’m not. I want to protect him from feeling sad and angry every time I’m overwhelmed, frustrated and mad with my failures and challenges.
Few months ago, I stopped pretending. When he caught me crying while hiding inside my closet, I was surprised that he didn’t cry nor get sad. Instead, he hugged me with a powerful statement “Mom, it’s okay to cry. I’m here for you.”
That meaningful moment made me realize that I have a strong and supportive son. He taught me that being weak is inevitable and even if mom cries in front of him and his younger brother, it’s ok. I learned that it is important to not be afraid of my emotions as it also teaches them the tough realities of life. More so, it will set as a reminder that they’re also allowed to cry sans the hiding and to feel negative emotions as life has its ups and downs.
They may not fully understand a lot of things right now but what’s more relevant is that they have developed empathy and compassion. Such social-emotional skill is crucial to develop and maintain happy and healthy relationships.
To my boys, thank you for allowing mama to cry a bucket of tears. I’m lucky that I got you.