This morning I dropped my son off at preschool in full head to toe yellow. It was quite the sight. Yellow shorts with a clashing mustard t-shirt emblazoned with a slogan saying “Sugar made me do it”. But despite the intensity of the outfit, I was incredibly proud of what he was wearing and the conversation it prompted for us because today is “R U OK?” day.
As mothers, it’s easy to hide if you aren’t feeling great. There are things to do. People to care for. And often when you’re the listener, the organiser, the go-getter, and you are good at putting on a face – people don’t see it.
But what if the person you ask genuinely says no?
I’d describe myself as a “high-functioning” mother and I know lots of my MUMOKI Mothers do too. So speaking from a small place of experience, I know it can be hard to open up. So when we do there are a few things we need:
1.Even Mums want to be looked after sometimes. Call me, invite me out, tell me I’m a good Mum, listen to my answer when you ask if I’m okay. Most of the time I’ll say yes, but one day I might say no. And on that day, it would be awesome if you’d take me for a coffee and let me drop the act for an hour or two.
2. Make sure you’re ready and willing to provide support if we need it. If we tell you we aren’t ok, having your support (no matter how small you may think it is) will really help us when times get tough.
3. If someone loves and trusts you enough to show vulnerability and tell you they’re struggling, show them it’s ok that they opened up by continuing to text, call, listen, or plan things with them. Don’t just do it for a few days after they have confided in you, keep checking in.
We can all look out for those we care about. Remember, how we appear on the outside won’t always match how we feel on the inside. But by regularly checking in with one another and talking about life’s ups and downs we can encourage people to share how they’re really feeling.
By following R U OK?’s 4 Conversation Steps: Ask, Listen, Encourage Action and Check in, we can all play a part in making sure everyone around us feels connected and cared for.
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