Deconstructing the Open Letter

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As a perpetuating social trend, open letters flood the internet. There are open letters to pregnant moms. There are letters to new moms. There are letters to moms of toddlers, school-aged kids, and teens.  You’ll find ones to moms who send their kids off to college, and for moms who raised their kids and are sitting back to discover what happens next. Moreover, each letter has a purpose, to let other moms know they’re not alone. 

The beauty of the open letter comes from its ability to affix a “To Whom It May Concern” tag that feels as though it was custom-crafted for each member of the intended audience. If the phrase, “I see you, Mama,” urges you to look over your shoulder, it’s merely that these letters hone into the idiosyncrasies that struggling moms face. And as moms, we soak up these messages, then hit Like and Share and wait for other moms to respond with a resounding, “Yesssss!”

Unfortunately, as quickly as the passion sweeps through us, it wanes, leaving us wanting. There are moms who never paired off during the playgroup years, ones who don’t set their chairs near the other moms at soccer, and those who dread trivia nights, knowing no one is saving a seat for them. Perhaps these moms never found their soul-moms throughout the years, or never truly put themselves out there. Whatever the reasons, they still crave fulfillment as the high from sharing the latest mama missive fades once the likes begin to dwindle.

Most of us never receive letters explicitly addressed to us containing the feedback that we search for; consequently, open letters serve a mighty purpose. However, we need to stop looking around us to feel better about ourselves. Every mom needs more: more friends, more money, more time, more discipline, more confidence, more energy, more do-overs, and more self-love. You will not find more in an open letter.

Whether you have a mom tribe, or prefer a solo path, keep visualizing more. Remember the dreams of your 20-something self; by now, you’re conquering them, laughing at them, or struggling to recall them. Nevertheless, they’re not even relevant as you aren’t the same person you were. It’s not just the subtle lines which have settled on your face or the gray hairs that stand straight up on your head to taunt you. You are a mom, the reality of which has shaped you in ways you never could have conceived. The goals of your single self, realized or not, hardly fit. Furthermore, as a mom, you likely haven’t taken the time to evoke new ones.

Take time.

Make time.

Dream a little.     

We all dream when we close our eyes, so reflect for a moment or two and hold tight to those dreams as you wake. Share those dreams with others or savor them yourself, but ignite the ones that will fuel your soul.

As the articles you read online will tell you, you’re doing a ‘Good Job, Mama’! And indeed, you are, but you shouldn’t fool yourself into believing it’s enough. I promise you there is always more. It isn’t about having more or juggling more; it’s merely about checking in with yourself more to be sure you are doing what you want to, not solely what you need to. Don’t wait for the kids to empty your nest to wonder where your purpose lies. Carve out time to cross off the items on your list that you have no intention of doing, add a few ambitious wishes in their place, and start checking them off.

So if you enjoy those friend-filled, coffee-fueled mornings or would rather start your days sipping lattes from a travel mug in the comfort of your car, set aside time to ask yourself what it is you want and find ways to spark it. It’s gratifying to read articles on social media that reaffirm your place in life, but nothing you view online can sustain you. Dreams come to fruition in real-time, and at the end of the day, which ones come true depends wholly on you.

 

 

 

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Carol Kerber
Carol is married with four kids, ranging in age from 7 to 17-years-old. She moved to St. Louis when she was 12, and except for four years living in Southern California as a newlywed, she's lived here since. Carol met her husband when they were both in high school in St. Louis. As a Mizzou graduate, Carol began her post-college career in publishing, and then switched gears to teach early elementary. Since having kids, she has been lucky enough to stay home with them. The Kerbers call Castlewood Stables in Ballwin their home. In addition, Carol has always loved to write but had never really given that dream wings until now. She is so inspired to be part of the St. Louis Moms Blog team!