Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Your Secret's Safe With Me

I'm quite taken with a new book. It's called PostSecret by Frank Warren. Here's how he explains the book: "In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone. I handed out these cards at subway stations, I left them in art galleries, and I slipped them between the pages of library books. Then, slowly, secrets began to find their way to my mailbox."

PostSecret is a collection of just some of the postcards that have been sent to Warren. They are sad, funny, intriguing and extremely revealing. Yet, every one of them is anonymous.

What fascinated me, besides the thrill of reading other peoples' secrets, were those that related to parenthood. Here are three:

Sometimes I want to run away from home. I'm 38, married with a child.

I don't take my kids to the playground because I don't like talking to the other moms.

I feel guilty about sometimes wishing that I didn't have children. I don't dare say it out loud for fear I might trigger something bad happening to them.

Throughout this book there are secrets that perhaps many of us share. Some are silly and some are heartbreaking. Those that deal with parenthood are the ones that really struck a chord with me. Why? Because parenthood is a sacred entity that you just don't mess with. Yet, who can fault someone for unburdening themselves from admitting that we're not always Ward and June Cleaver?

Let's look at the three secrets above: I've often wanted to run away from home. Usually the urge comes when a child is having a meltdown and the house looks like a bomb exploded. Yet, I stay because, well, I'm rational and also because I need that melting down child to eventually take care of me when I can't remember where I left my teeth.

I can't begin to count the places I've avoided when I just had no interest in talking to other moms. In fact, I sit alone in my car, even in splendid weather, waiting for my daughter after school so I can avoid the "Parking Lot Momfia" and their endless chitchat and gossip.

Have I ever wished I didn't have children? Probably not, but there were countless times when I wondered whether I was cut out for the job. I agree with this secret writer, this is something that even thinking about opens the door to bad karma.

I think Frank Warren has done the world a great service. He's allowed people to unload their unspeakable thoughts without really hurting anyone. As parents, I think we need more of this. We need to know that we might not be perfect, but we're definitely not alone in our imperfection.

So next time you feel like launching one of your kids into the next universe, sit down, take out a postcard, and write to Frank. (PostSecret, 13345 Copper Ridge Rd., Germantown, MD 20874.)


At 3:49 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

I think I've been to his website before. It was fascinating what people will tell if their secret is safe.
I have wanted to run away, too. I was diagnosed with clinical depression this summer and the medication and counseling is helping me so much. I love mmy children unspeakably much, but parenting is SO hard sometimes!!!
I have, however, learned to give myself time-outs. I just tell them I'm going in the bedroom, and they're not to come in at all. It helps me a lot :)

At 7:00 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I used to read that site all the time, before I got so many blogs in my favorites list. It is pretty interesting what people will admit to, even if it is anonymous.

At 7:05 PM , Blogger angela marie said...

I have been reading his site for a while too, then rec'd an email from him. He was thankful to me for being one of the people who helped promote his website...I guess because I posted about it once and have had it in my blogroll for a while. Because of this, he mailed me a free copy of the book you are talking about. Awesome!

At 9:29 PM , Anonymous JustSue said...

Confession is good for the soul they say. I have never seen that site before, but think I will check it out now ...thanks for the tip!

Here via Michele! Have a great weekend!

At 10:08 PM , Blogger JoeC said...

Hello, Michele sent me. Yep read the postcard thingys, totally lovely, brilliant. Have a nice weekend then. Cheers!

Original ideas just gets me all gobsmacked.

At 8:11 AM , Blogger Erin said...

I love the Post Secret website and I cannot wait to read the book. Knowing others have 'secrets' makes me feel so much better!

At 9:56 AM , Blogger Ally said...

I've been to the website, too. I think it must be quite therapeutic to actually write some of those things down and get them off your chest - small things and only passing feelings, some of them, as you say. But they prey on your mind.

At 10:36 AM , Blogger Zephra said...

I love I visit it every Sunday when he updates. I have wished I didn't have children for a few hours. Sometimes I just want a bath in peace. I know that I would miss them though. I can't imagine my life any other way...nore would I want to!

At 7:32 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

What an eye-opening site that is. There seemed to be so many secrets that amazed me there.

Michele sent me.

At 11:20 AM , Blogger Ciera said...

Here from Michele's.

I'm not a mom, but I drive school bus and somedays I am sooooooo glad for snow! AHHH!

At 11:34 AM , Blogger Carmi said...

That's cool. I guess we're all carrying some sort of secret around with us.

I'm a Dad, not a Mom. But I so relate to what you're saying here. I often dread picking the kids up at school because I hate making small talk with the small-minded parents out front.

Since I publish in the city's newspaper, I hate being accosted about why I wrote a certain thing, and why I've been ignoring their own pet topics of the week.

Frankly, they're all incredibly boring.

At 7:07 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Here I am again, courtesy of Michele. Have you saent a postcard to that guy?

At 7:08 AM , Blogger Minerva said...

As someone who suffered from post natal depression twice, these thoughts did crowd my mind..I didn't think I was up to the job, I thought I had made a huge mistake and I thought I was the loneliest person in the world...

Only now do I see it was the depression talking..not me..
Postsecret is incredibly moving and shocking isn't it? I just hope that telling a secret helps those souls in agony...


At 8:26 PM , Blogger kontan said...

wow, surprised that people feel safe enough

here via michele

At 8:26 PM , Blogger Courtney said...

I read that website every Sunday. Fascinating.
Michele sent me.

At 5:49 AM , Anonymous Alessandra said...

Here via Michele's. Will come back later to
Have a wonderful day!!

At 1:32 PM , Blogger Dak-Ind said...

i think i would like to read this book. voyeuristic as it may be. parenting is the hardest job i have ever had. its tough whether you are custodial or not, sometimes harder whn you are not. i have two sons, one with me, one with his dad. they both make me want to drink. a lot. thank you for sharing the tip about the book! michele sent me


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