Dear Mainstream Media Outlets,
We have to break up. You and I, we had a great go, didn’t we? I had a genuine interest in you, and most of the time that interest felt reciprocated. But at the risk of sounding like every bad rom com break up cliche, we have to break up – it’s not you, its me. I’ve grown, found myself, and the new me just doesn’t see her future with you in it. At least not right now. Maybe one day in the future we’ll meet up again and rekindle our magic, finding that we can once again meet each other’s needs. But until then, I’m going to have to walk away. I’ll try my best to explain myself.
I’m a mom. I have been for nearly two years now, and every day since becoming one, I’ve felt myself slipping farther and farther away from you. It’s not you. You’ve held up your end of the deal. Well, most of you. You continue to keep on keepin’ on, presenting the latest news from around the globe every single day without fail. The good, the bad, and the ugly. You always show up. Sometimes with integrity. Sometimes not. But no one is perfect, right? I just can no longer pull my weight in our relationship. I have nothing left to give. I’ve got nothing left in the tank. You see, I’m a mom now.
Back when I was young, wild, and yet to start a family I could consume you without missing a beat. I had you on all of my devices, checked in with you religiously, and had a strong desire to stay current on all happenings in this world that surrounded me. I can no longer be that girl. I tried, believe me. For two years I’ve been trying to be that girl. But there’s no going back. I’m a mom now.
One of the little secrets no one told me before becoming a mom is that the depths of my heart would reach levels I never knew possible. So deep, and so wide, I’m not sure how to accommodate it anymore. It’s too heavy. Too much to bare. I feel too much. And I just can’t carry it all. Everything you show me affects me in ways I have no longer have control over. Every story. Every heartbreak. Every life gone too soon. And god forbid, every single injustice, mistreatment, or tragedy that involves a child.
I’m a mom now. It’s all too close to home. I can no longer separate myself and my family from what I read. And there’s just too many of those stories. Far too many. Every time I read one of your articles about a young child abused in unspeakable ways by those she was supposed to be able to trust. Every time a newborn is quite literally thrown away like they are part of the garbage. Every time children are forced to flee their homes and become refugees in fear of rebels terrorizing their community. Every single time there is a story about a child that is hurt, lost, mistreated, trafficked, used, beaten, kidnapped, neglected, or any of the other thousand verbs that that should never happen comes into my awareness – it consumes me. I see those children as if they were my own. And I see my own in those children. The lump immediately travels up my throat as the rip simultaneously makes its way across my heart. My legs feel unstable, and my stomach tightens into a ball. And if I’m somehow able to make it to the end of the article, I can guarantee you there will be tears.
It doesn’t consume me for the ten minutes following. I carry it for far too long. I still can’t get past the kid at the library who stiff armed my daughter in the head over ten months ago, let alone all the stories from this summer about young children left to die alone in their overheated vehicles. I see them in my own children, and they show up in my dreams. I can’t even talk about the things I feel for the parents of these children. It hurts too much and I keep trying to make sense of things that I know will never make sense. They can’t make sense. In no world I want to live in should these things ever make sense.
I imagine their fear. Their loneliness. I imagine their scared uncertainty. Their hopelessness. Their pain. Their fear. Oh, the fear. I want to swoop in and pick every single one of them up, showering them with the love, attention, and the safe environment they so deserve to live in. I want to reassure them all that every tomorrow will be okay because I’ll be here. I want them to know their worth and potential, and that they will always have someone cheering them on. I want to read to them while rubbing their back before gently tucking them in at night so they can peacefully dream about snowmen, cookies, their friends, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But I can’t. It’s not possible. They aren’t mine. I don’t even know them.
Don’t worry, I haven’t allowed these stories to completely dampen my faith in humanity or turn my heart black. For every tragedy I read, I know there are a million more people out there bringing comfort and joy to the lives of our littles. I know this because I try every day in my own ways to be one, and I see all the good every single day in the hundreds of moms and teachers I am connected with. But for now, at this moment in my life when my heart is working overtime trying to make room for this ever-growing and burning love I have for my own children, we just need to take a break.
Don’t worry, I won’t be negligent to shut myself off from you completely. People need to know the truths from around the world so brave men and women can act on it, and do their part to spread a little more love in this world that desperately needs it. We need to be exposed to the dark so we know where to spread our light. I just can’t give you what I used to, and I hope you understand.
I told you – its not you, its me. You see, I’m a mom now.