Be Brave

Meredith Ethington essays

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I’ve never thought of myself as an overly brave person. I’m not really a risk-taker, and aside from roller coasters, I don’t do any dare-devilish things. Skiing even seems out of the question for me.

But in my twenties, I did do something incredibly brave. I packed up two suitcases and flew across the country to another state for college (that I had only been to once on a family vacation when I was 15). I hardly knew anyone there and relied on friends-of-friends to pick me up from the airport and take me to a place to sleep for the night. I remember being terrified.

At the same time, I had this incredible sense that all would be okay if I just did what I knew I was supposed to be doing. Sure, I didn’t know who I would live with, where I would work, or how I would get to campus each day for college. Yet I had this, “I’ll figure it out” attitude. I got a job, and put myself through school, and even got a degree at the end of it. Looking back now, everything fell into place, and it was obvious that I did the right thing. Even though it terrified me.

I look back at my 20-something self, and realize, I was very, very brave.

Then I became a mom.

Suddenly the world was terrifying again. My anxiety started almost the instant I became pregnant and hasn’t left me since. I’m learning to be brave again. Because bravery isn’t just about doing a dare-devilish task. Being brave can mean lots of things. But, what does bravery mean when you’re “just” a stay-at-home mom?

I could easily look at my life and think, here I am taking care of others all day long. My 20-something self is long gone and I am just living life everyday trying to keep my head above water.

The ability to be brave is still there for me. It just looks different now.

It looks like standing up at a PTA meeting to take down an old president because everyone in the school is begging you for change. Or maybe it just means disagreeing with a policy, rule, or suggesting a new one.

It looks like a mom who has screwed up again, but isn’t afraid to say she is sorry to her children and admit that she made a mistake.

It looks like cleaning up puke in the middle of the night even though you wish you could run away screaming.

It looks like being in the same room as someone that you know has said ugly things about you while you try to be the better person.

It looks like asking for help.

It looks like letting people come into your house for the first time when it’s not clean—and not worrying.

It looks like having another baby when you’re already worried you’re screwing up the first one.

It looks like going against a doctor’s advice because you know what’s best for your child.

It looks like not being afraid to be yourself when everyone around you is copying each other.

It looks like sharing your story, struggles, and heartache with others even though you feel vulnerable.

It looks like admitting that your life isn’t perfect all the time—and, not being ashamed.

It looks like not being afraid to make the first move because you desperately want a friend.

It looks like trying everyday to be a little better than you were the day before—and not feeling guilty about your mistakes.

It looks like sticking to your guns even though you know other parents are judging you.

It looks like a mom that you might see at the grocery store in frumpy yoga pants getting the last ingredient for her recipe that night because she forgot it yesterday.

You just never know the hardships, trials, struggles and pain that goes on inside another person. Even someone that is “just” a stay-at-home mom. Life may look peachy from the outside looking in, but we are all fighting hard battles. We can still be brave.

What do you do that is brave? Tell me! I want to know.

About the Author

Meredith Ethington

Meredith is a mother of 3 that is all about trying to be “real” when it comes to motherhood after years of trying to fake perfection. But, it’s the hardest job she’s ever done. She loves blogging about all the perfect and not so perfect moments on her blog, .

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