The Crunchy mom. The Pinterest Mom. The PTA mom. The Mom Expert. The Hot Mess... My mom friends in California all represented one of these hilariously and seemingly accurate stereotypes... The truth is no mom is one sided or perfect.
Motherhood Is A Trip: Everything I Learned from Becoming A Mom
While some moms just exude confidence and seem like they were born to raise children, motherhood was a hat that didn’t seem to fit me. As much as I enjoyed being with my daughter, I was terrified of screwing up. Early on whenever I went to visit family and friends, my daughter Pearl would not stop crying. I would feel so powerless and embarrassed for disturbing the peace. Since I was self-conscious about breastfeeding in public to soothe her, I would mainly keep to myself and stay at home.
It wasn’t until Pearl was about 6 months old that I decided to seek out mom groups and find friends that I could relate to. Even though the meetup was at a park location literally at the end of my street, I was usually the one showing up 45 minutes late because let’s be honest, I love my sleep. Once there I would subconsciously wall myself off from the other mothers because: One, I was a ball of anxiety and too preoccupied hovering over my daughter and Two, my struggles were my own and I didn’t know how to communicate them to these “Perfect Moms”.
I couldn’t help but make comparisons when confronted with other moms… For example, while one mom was feeding her child fresh fruit and granola, my daughter was eating Pringles and microwaveable breakfast sandwiches. Or while one daughter was a social butterfly and excelling at ballet, I couldn’t even get my daughter to complete a swim lesson because she was terrified of the water and had “Stranger Danger” primarily with any and all males including ALL dads at practice.
Once I began letting go of the perceived “Norm”, things would come together in due time on their own and when SHE was ready. Another improvement that came with more experience was I became more mindful of my decisions and how my energy and behavior would influence her actions. But above all, I would learn to enjoy the present and precious moments since they are all so fleeting.
One aspect of mom life that doesn’t seem to get discussed enough (Google: Sad cake, Pump and Dump) is the grief you feel for trading your previous life for your life now as a mother. Similar instances of mixed emotions would include selling your first car, starting a new job, moving out of state… the list goes on. It is completely normal to mourn the life you previously had when you were able to go out with girlfriends after work at the drop of a hat or the many date nights you were able to embark on with your significant other. As much as you love your little(s), it is very important not to lose all of yourself when becoming a mom. Make time to do the things that brought you joy and happiness prior to having kids whether it be painting, jogging, reading a new book, catching up on the new Netflix documentary, unwinding with a glass of wine or the occasional joint (no judgments here mamas), or getting that much needed exercise that’s good for mind, body, and spirit . Another good suggestion is stepping out of your comfort zone and enjoying the occasional mom’s night out. This is prime time to discuss all the tedious and mundane struggles us moms have to face and have a laugh about it because we have all been there before.
Self-care is not selfish. It is mandatory so that we can be the best version of ourselves…whole and happy to take on the day and whatever is thrown at us. As mothers we take on so much and carry the proverbial load in the household (don’t @ me). Look up “Dad Confesses the Hilarious Truth About Hardworking Moms”. Make sure that you find yourself a partner that is understanding and sees the value in letting you take that hour long bath, that solo shopping trip, or as many mom night outs as you so desire. Mom, dad, and babies all benefit.
The best comparison I could make to motherhood is that it is like a roller coaster with highs and lows. Good times and bad times… Sometimes you get a good night’s sleep, and sometimes your kid stays up WAY past their bedtime. Sometimes your kid eats all their dinner, and sometimes you put baby cereal in your coffee instead of creamer. You just have to keep at it and see where the next day takes you. There’s nothing more tiresome, crazy, loving, and fulfilling, as being a mother. You are doing a wonderful job mama. Spread some love and understanding to the next mom you see struggling because we’ve all been there before and Stella eventually gets her groove back.