Scientists say an iceberg is 90 percent underwater. That is, we can only see 10 percent of the iceberg.
Moms are the same.
I find myself often feeling isolated, even lonely as a mom. On the outside — my 10 percent — I probably look like any other suburban mother of three. I do what millions of other mothers do every day. I wake up, drink coffee, and get my two oldest kids ready for school. I pack lunches and check all the reading logs and homework. I play with my toddler. I run errands or have playdates with friends. I am involved in a PTO.
Yet every day I feel isolated, distanced, or disconnected from my fellow moms. I cannot quite put my finger on why, but it’s a heavy 90 percent for this iceberg mom to bear. Maybe it is because I am overwhelmed by a child with special needs, in addition to two other children who demand my time and energy. Maybe it is my own fear of rejection. Maybe it is because I am naturally an introvert, and I really just want to watch TV with my husband.
I often feel like I am misunderstood. Friends will comment on how well I am managing the difficult parenting situation I have been given. They see my strengths, and though I see them too, I also see the work. The energy — both emotional and physical — that parenting has taken. I see the missed opportunities my kids have had because of my fear of not being able to handle a situation.
We all have different parenting struggles, and parenting a special needs family is all I have ever known. I see other moms and wish I was more like them. I suppose some moms might look at me and wish they were more like me. We are all doing our best, trying to be the best moms, friends, spouse we can be. I am always the friend who is there to encourage her fellow moms. Maybe I just need to encourage myself, too.
I am an iceberg mom. We all are icebergs. This New Year, and new decade, I will stop isolating myself and share my 90 percent more. I will share my fears, disappointments, struggles, sacrifice, failures, and persistence. I will share it with the hope that this might show my friends and family that it is work — hard work — in every aspect of life that will bring you success. Parenting is really hard. I am doing the best I can, and so are you.