One day, I’ll be able to say: “I left because he was killing me softly”. And I would be able to tell people, without feeling my heart racing, without thinking I should not say things like this, that he was a mistake. But a mistake that gave me the chance to see the Light again.
One day, I’ll be able to say without worry: “he was a manipulator” without thinking “that’s not fair for him” or “I should keep this private”.
One day, I’ll be able to tell people that for a while I was a shadow, a pale reproduction of myself, that for a while I was scared to death.
One day, to the question “why you married him?”, I’ll be able to say “because I felt like a prisoner, I could not say “no” to him, he would not take “no” for an answer. He played with my emotions, he was a control freak and I was under his spell.”
One day, to people telling me “don’t say that, every couple has good memories together”, I’ll allow myself to say “my first memory of him is one of fear”
One day, I’ll be able to say out loud “I stayed because I did not know how to leave – I stayed because I did not have any energy to leave – I stayed because I thought he’d change – He told me as soon as he’ll get this or that he would – I believed him”
One day, to curious people, I’ll be able to say “he harassed me, he threatened me, he played with my emotions, he told me I was an easy girl, he said he would kill me if I was to leave him, he said all my writing was bullshit, he used my body for his own pleasure and accused me of torturing him when I would not agree with him”.
Today I can say:
You have no right to judge me. This is my choice. I am proud of my choice
How do you feel about domestic violence? Is it easy for you to talk about the “downs” of your life?
This is an original post written by Marie V. for World Moms Network
Last week a family member answered one of my questions by « you are such a dreamer! ». This was not a compliment. This was a statement saying something like this “you are so naïve” – “you’re 36, wake up”. I heard this before. I’ve heard it since I took the first step into adulthood.
It made me think.
What’s wrong about being a dreamer? What’s right about not being one?
Should I stop dreaming now? Why? Why should I stop being who I am? Why should I follow the crowd?
Big things happened in this world because at some stage people thought these things were possible.
Everything starts with an idea. Everything is set into motion because people have a dream and believe in it. They make it happen. They have faith.
Do narrow-minded people have dreams?
They don’t. They accept things as they are. Even if these things don’t please them. And if they have some, they don’t follow them, surely thinking it’s not worth it.
Back to the conversation we were having. The family member who said that is old enough to be a grand-dad. Maybe he’s just fed up with life. I am sure he had dreams at some stage (all kids have dreams!) but these dreams vanished. And he’s now left with nothing else but regrets and resentment towards life.
I don’t want to become like him. I hold on tight to my dreams. I dream of a better world. I see life as a wonderful opportunity to share love and light, to learn tolerance and respect, to help one another and to build step by step, all together, a peaceful planet.
If people stop dreaming, what our world is going to be like? What will we get if we don’t imagine tomorrow’s world? What will happen is we stop creating and just accept violence, greed, injustice?
I am a Dreamer and I am proud of it. I’d like to dream till the end and pass it on to my son. I am a Dreamer and I invite you to dream with me. The toughest battles and the most wonderful victories have been achieved by people with, what others thought were, “impossible” dreams!
Are you a dreamer or a realist?
This is an original post written fro World Moms Network by MarieV in France.
As far back as I can remember I always had a clear idea of what a strong woman is and how she should behave. A strong woman would do whatever she could to have all situations under control, would not need help and would not ask for it either, would manage on her own and would succeed alone.
This was before. Before what?
Before I had no other choice than say “I need help”. I need help to go through the day. I need help to wake up, stand up and live. I need help to overcome my fears, doubts. I need help to love my child. I need help to face past memories. I need help to rebuild my life. I need help to forgive. I need help to love myself.
And my idea of what a strong woman is changed.
We often think that asking for help is a proof of our inability to face life and its challenges.
If you ask mums, friends, people around you, I bet that the answer you’ll hear most of the time will be something like this “I don’t want to ask for help. I’m fine. I’ll deal with it like a big girl”.
Why can’t “being a big girl” and “asking for help” go together? Why do we, women, mums, think that if we ask for help, people will consider us failures?
I took the step of asking for help, feeling lost and guilty at first. But what I received out of it was worth the try. People who were there, at any time of the day (and night) reassured me – this was the first step towards a better life for me and my child. There was no judgement on their side, only kindness and the assurance that I had made the right choice by reaching out to them.
As women and mums, we have a lot to deal with. Our kids count on us. People count on us, from our partner to our boss, our parents to our friends. And we do make it an important part of the deal that we are the ones in charge. But when something gets in the way, would we rather keep going until we fall or ask somebody to take our turn for a while?
Nowadays, I believe that a strong woman is a woman who knows her limits, who can acknowledge her weaknesses and still feel proud of who she is and who could ask for help knowing that this is the best for her and her family at any given time. A strong woman knows when she can’t take it anymore and feel like her duty to take care of herself, in order to take good care of the ones she loves afterwards.
Your turn, world moms, how do you feel about asking for help? Are you good at it? Or are you finding it hard to do?
This is an original post for World Moms Network written by Marie in France.
Last weekend I was away visiting some friends in the South of France. While we were talking about how hard it can be to raise kids, we realized that whatever we do, we’ll always have to face criticism, whether it is from family members, friends with kids or other parents around. People have an idea about everything. And when it comes to parenting or motherhood, they think that they must share what they think about this or that. Without even being asked to do so.
When it happens, we tend to feel like we are the worst mums ever. We’re not doing things the way we should do them. Others seem to know better. It’s very easy to get depressed, to cry and go straight to the first doctor we know to empty our hearts full of negativity and stress.
What if the others weren’t wrong, just different?
We all have our ideas on how we wish to raise our kids, what values we wish to pass on to them, on how well it feels for us to deliver a specific message. There are no rules, except the ones everybody knows, that say we have to take care of our kids and respect their needs, respect who they are and help them grow. The way we do it belongs to us. And most of the time we do the best we can with what we have, what we have been taught, what we have learnt on the way – what we feel inside our hearts.
In France nowadays we hear a lot about attachment parenting (éducation bienveillante). The idea is brilliant. But in reality, it’s not THAT easy to put into place. For some parents it’s fine and it works perfectly with their kids, for others it does not fit in their world. They can try for hours and days, without seeing any results. Does this mean they are bad parents? Does this mean others have the right to judge them and put a red sticker on their faces?
I don’t think so.
At the end of the day, we want the same thing: to raise happy, healthy and confident children. In order to do so, I think we ought to help each other and accept that one approach is not better than another one. When asked, we can share our ideas. When not, why create more mess in the head of parents who already feel overwhelmed by the task at hand?
How do you welcome negative criticism about the way you are raising your kids?
This is an original post for World Moms Network written by Marie Kleber in France.
Over the past few years, I realized that it was important for me to get to know who I am, to love myself (without condition), to create my space, to find some “me” time so I could deal with motherhood, work and daily life, peacefully and with an open heart. This way, I could give my full attention to my child whenever we have time together, or to my friends and family. By taking care of myself, I would surely take better care of the people around me.
And by falling in love with myself, I would allow love into my life, the kind of true and respectful love I deserve.
I’ve always been the first to tell family and friends, “think about you” or “you are important, you need to look after yourself”, “take some time away, it’s good for you and for your kids, your husband….” That’s it: I give good advice when it comes to others. It’s another story when I am concerned.
I have to acknowledge that I have a tough time finding my balance between my life as a mum, my life at home with my parents, my personal life including meeting friends and creating new relationships, writing and relaxing. I feel like it’s too much for me. In fact, I spent the last three years focusing on my child and my family, without even thinking that I was part of the equation. Don’t get me wrong, I was the first one saying that I needed time for myself, but I was not taking it. I was the first one trying to meet new people, without catching opportunities. I was the first one feeling that I needed to make the first step towards time for myself, but taking guilt in my handbag every time I was about to cross the line between motherhood and womanhood!
This year I told myself that I must do something about it. My life can’t change if I just sit down, wait and see. I am in charge of making it work, one way or another.
I must change the way I feel and think about taking time for myself. I can’t find the balance if I don’t give myself a chance to test what it’s like to be fully with my child, fully with dear ones, and fully with me.
I know that it won’t happen overnight. It’s a step by step project. But I refuse to let life pass and forget me once again. I matter as much as others do. I don’t say that it’s going to be easy. But I don’t want to feel once again what I felt a few months ago: being exhausted, on the edge, shouting every time something did not go according to plan. I don’t want to spend my life feeling bad and feeling guilty for feeling bad. I need to take action. Where to start? I don’t have a clue.
I am on the way to a better life as a mum and a woman.
Tell me, did you find your balance yet? Did it take time? Any advice or tips to share? Or are you, like me, still searching for it?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Marie Kleber. Picture: The Kerry Files.
…and prevention is protection.
Now-a-days, we hear a lot about violence. Violence at home, bullying at school, harassment at work or on the street. Violence is everywhere. It does not define our societies or who we are but it plays an important role in our evolution and how we decide to define ourselves.
In the past couple of years, the French government put into place important measures to fight all types of violence, creating adds to show its impact on peoples lives, opening more helplines, dedicated centres to welcome the victims, creating new jobs and training programs. Many well-known artists took it over and started campaigns around the country and in the world.
Still, I think something is missing in order, if not to eradicate violence completely, at least to change the vision of men and women on the subject and prevent violence from spreading even more. Before discussing the impact of violence, people first have to be educated on what violence is, how to spot it and how to protect themselves from it.
We tend to think that violence is only physical. Is it something we learn as kids? Or are the other forms of violence too cruel to be true?
I met women who kept telling me that in their case, it was not violence. I met kids who kept telling me that other kids were just laughing at them, no big deal. I met men who kept telling me that if their bosses were that mean towards them, it was maybe because they were not that good.
If people don’t know or understand that the relationship they are in is poison, they won’t be able to get out of it or ask for help. And it will keep destroying them. Ads or campaigns won’t have any impact on their life. They will still think violence is horrible but they will think it has nothing to do with them.
I suppose we have to educate people from a young age. Maybe school is the first place to start, as violence can take root there for many. Teaching kids about respect and differences. Teaching them about what is not allowed, about their body and about the importance of equality. Boys are not better than girls and girls are not better than boys.
But first, we have to teach kids about confidence. In most cases, it’s the lack of confidence that takes people down. Teaching kids that they are important, that they are valued and loved, that they are worth it, beautiful, enough. I think this is crucial and it can change many things in our world these days.
I don’t say that confident people can’t be touched by violence, but they’ll have the resources, the power to face it and say stop to it. Or they’ll know something is wrong in the equation and they’ll be able to talk about it, to raise their voice.
Because, at the end of the day, silence is really the enemy, silence is what allows violence to thrive.
This is an original post from our contributor in France, Marie Kleber.
The image used in this post is attributed to Cyber Magic. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.