I still love sad poetry. I love to know that hearts are still able to heal after suffering. It brings me comfort to know that loneliness doesn’t last. I smile when I think Spring comes after Winter, and the sun still rises in the morning. I still love sad poetry. It brings me hope when days are long and nights are cold. I still believe in new beginnings when I read stanzas of tears on a page, and I see broken hearts in the smiles of strangers. I still love sad poetry. I still write sad poetry. It makes me feel, and it makes me think, and it helps me remember the days when I wasn’t sad.
It’s going to hurt until it no longer does. It’s going to tear at you and pull you apart Until you learn to put yourself together again. Eventually all this will just become a distant memory. Eventually the pain will disappear. Your hands will stop shaking. You will breathe again. Eventually You’ll stop searching and start appreciating. You’ll stop waiting and wishing. You’ll stop regretting and start living. Eventually you’ll stop blaming yourself and start forgiving yourself, Eventually. It might not happen today. But it’ll happen, Eventually.
To the woman sitting alone in her empty house Full of memories and mementos, wondering where it all went wrong, I was you. To the young girl crying her eyes out in the office bathroom, staring at herself In the mirror, not recognizing the person staring back at her With bloodshot eyes and tear-stained cheeks, I understand. To the tired mother, using her last strength to dress and feed and play with her kids When she hasn’t eaten or had a decent shower in days, I have been there. To the friend that needs comforting and can’t control the tears from flowing, Feeling as if everything is falling apart, You will be okay. It doesn’t matter how strong you feel you need to be or how tired you are and How many times you need to start over, I want you to know that This too shall pass.
Okay, this book was difficult to read. As a mother and as a woman, I found myself gasping, cringing, feeling sad and heartbroken, feeling angry and frustrated. I experienced disbelief and a whole lot of other emotions that caught me by surprise. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked up this book but what I found was definitely not it.
Without giving too much away, I’ll provide a short summary.
Frida Liu is a young mother accused of neglecting and abandoning her young child. She is then sent to a school which is meant to retrain ‘bad mothers’ into becoming the best and most attentive mothers in human existence. (I’m being a bit sarcastic here and once you read the book, especially if you are a mother, I’m sure you will understand why.)
The training and exercises these mothers at the school go through are something else; I found myself frowning and saying “huh?” on many occasions while reading.
‘I am a bad mother but I am learning to be good’
There is so much I can say and want to say about how this book made me feel; when I got to the last chapter, I was in tears.
In a way this book highlights the unrealistic expectations society has when it comes to mothers. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood and children are a gift for women who want it, but it’s a very difficult journey to be on.
In the book, mothers are expected to always be aware of everything around them, never turn their eyes away from their children for a second, be able to soothe their babies by using the correct language and words and physical affection, be able to effectively comfort their children and provide quick, healthy meals and stimulate their minds all the while not losing their own heads.
In a nutshell; it’s a lot.
The thing is, mothers can do all the above but unlike the children in the book, we are not robots. We need a break and we are not always emotionally available for our children or spouses or partners. We won’t always cook healthy dinners and sometimes we want to shut down and be left alone and that is perfectly normal and should be acceptable.
Our own kids are 6 and 8 years old now; they have an abundance of energy which I don’t. There is always something that needs to be done. Laundry needs to be washed and folded and packed away, school lunches need to be made, shopping needs to be done, toys have to be picked up and put away, children need to be disciplined. All the while you are trying to think of the 20 things you need to remember, you are thinking about work, you are checking the time, you are trying to engage in conversations, you are trying to be a good wife and then you need to remember to take care of yourself; have a bath, drink your coffee, fall asleep.
You will fall short somewhere.
We were never made to be perfect.
The guilt and pressure mothers are put under is also a prominent theme in this book; not only by society but by family and surprisingly other mothers too. The pressure can become so crippling, that it becomes life-threatening.
As a mom myself, I’ve been judged, criticized, told what I’m doing wrong, what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. I’ve also compared myself to other moms and it made me feel like the worst person in the world. I’ve been told to plan ahead, prepare dinners, clothing, activities, grocery lists, an endless number of things that I am meant to remember and take care off. Being a parent is difficult but there’s a different kind of hardship that comes with motherhood. Sometimes it’s unrealistic and you have homes where there are two parents and both contribute equally but I think as women, we tend to put ourselves under pressure and that pressure is amplified when you become a mom. Especially when you have a full-time job, a side hustle, a marriage, children. When you do catch your breath long enough to tick something off your to-do list, it feels like a miracle, that’s if you remembered to write your to-do list!
Yes, I know. It sounds like I am venting and maybe I am a little. Reading this book might unlock feelings on the inside of you, that you never even thought you had. Some of those feelings you might not be ready to face.
Something else which stands out for me in this novel is how different the ‘bad fathers’ are treated at the school, which I will call, ‘parenting rehab facility’
The differences are like night and day, which again angered me a little because moms are not always extended the grace which they deserve.
I think the overwhelming message in this book is how one small mistake can change your entire life. The book is about a mother who needs to make decisions which are painful and difficult but she makes them and she doesn’t always make the right ones.
It’s also about regret and how it can hold you back but its also about forgiveness; forgiving others but also forgiving yourself for mistakes you made when you didn’t know better.
All in all, it was an amazing read. I could probably write pages and pages of analysis but I want you to experience this book and make sense of it on your own.
we are shaped by our experiences but we can choose how to live out those experiences. We choose how to live, we choose whether we give up or go on. We choose to forgive.
life demands of you to be intentional; intentional about your actions, your energy, your focus, your thoughts and emotions.
It hasn’t been easy but it has been fulfilling
love is one of the most if not the most powerful source of hope we have on this earth
Its not just okay to live as your authentic self, its absolutely necessary.
do not fear. do not tremble. do not question or second guess
These hard, tiring and busy days won’t last.
Your ability to nurture, love, care and encourage is God-given.
break out of the mould you created for yourself with all the things you thought you knew
I hope you relinquish all expectations you had of yourself for this next season and simply enjoy being alive.
Even if it fails, at least you know that you tried.
We all have a place in our minds where we wish to go, things we want to do and places we want to see but if I’ve learned anything, these last few years, is that you won’t get there if you don’t get moving.
It’s a beautiful day. The dog dreams. I breathe
Better to have a moment of awkwardness than to have a lifetime of regret.
You have been surrounded by beautiful women all your life and you will continue to be for the rest of it.
Be sure to treat every girl or woman you ever come across with the highest level of esteem and admiration because at the end of the day if it wasn’t for the fighting and equally loving spirit of all the women in your life, you would not be who you are today.
Be an example to the many men who will follow you throughout your life and be part of a generation of men that will never again take a woman by force, break her spirit or leave her blue-eyed and crying.
I beg of you baby, be different.
Be secure in your faith.
Be loving and compassionate.
But most importantly, be forgiving.
Do not let the hardships in life stop you from finding the beauty and romance that there surely is and sharing it with everyone you meet.
I hold you to these standards because I know and I believe you have it in you.
Female nurses healed you back to health when you were too weak to stand on your own two feet.
A female pastor dedicated you to the church.
Female doctors delivered you from my womb.
You are not above a woman.
She stands next to you, not under your feet.
I can only give you these guidelines but it is up to you to decide what kind of man you are going to be and maybe someday, what kind of man you are going to raise.
I know you are young now but someday you will understand this.