Becoming a parent changes you and inevitably, it changes your relationships. As a stay at home mom, I can honestly say that it gets difficult and lonely at times. I love my daughter, but there are times that I long for conversation with another adult and though I am not alone, it feels as though I am. I still keep in touch with my single and childless friends, but things are different now. I can’t take spontaneous trips or hang out with a friend all day at the mall because I have nowhere else to be. Leaving the house takes a lot longer than it did before and requires more planning. My schedule now revolves around my baby’s schedule. And that’s okay, but not everyone understands.
I am learning the importance of finding my ‘mom tribe’ if you will. I think a lot of mothers are in the same boat and have experienced similar feelings. Being a mom isn’t the easiest thing in the world and I think we underestimate ourselves sometimes. We need to surround ourselves with other moms and be there to support one another. Finding these friends isn’t as simple as going to a Mommy and Me class, either. As if we aren’t already under enough pressure, mothers seem to be quick to pass judgement on one another. Mom shaming is real, y’all, and it drives me absolutely insane.
Breastfeeding, formula feeding, working moms, stay at home moms, vaccinating, anti-vaccination, co-sleeping, anti co-sleeping, natural birth, medicated birth; if people can compare one another and argue about it, they will. Someone I hardly even know said something that really hurt me a few weeks back. She asked how my delivery was and I briefly told her that it ended in an emergency C section. She decided an appropriate response was, “well maybe if you were at a birthing center instead of a hospital, that wouldn’t have happened.” Now if you know my story or have read my previous blog post, I’m sure you can imagine how hurtful that was to me. Thank God we were at a hospital or things could’ve ended horribly.
Every child and every family is different so we don’t all parent the same way and there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you aren’t abusing or endangering your child, I’m not going to judge you or make you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Being a parent is something that you just learn to roll with. You can read all of the books and do all of the research, but when it comes down to it, making religion of parenthood is useless.
I’ve been fortunate to have my aunt who has a one year old and a three year old to hang out with. She has been my rescue a few times when Charlie would start getting fussy in public and my anxiety would spike. She has helped me realize that it’s normal and okay when she cries in public when she’s hungry, despite the dirty looks other people may pass me. It’s okay to not have it all together all the time. It’s okay to look like a hot mess when your kid has been spitting up or drooling all over you and you haven’t showered in days. It’s healthy for us to understand these things are absolutely normal despite what we see on social media, and having our mom tribe there to walk through it with us is what will help us remember that.
I’m still searching for my tribe. But before we can come together and support one another, we must stop the comparison and the judgment and learn to accept that none of us really know what we are doing and we are just taking each day as it comes. Don’t be so hard on yourself, mama. You’re doing a great job.