This post about motherhood is sponsored by Similac. I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.
The sisterhood of motherhood, isn’t it a beautiful thing? When I first became a mom, it was the single most amazing and simultaneously most isolating thing that had ever happened to me. There is just something about bringing life into the world that takes a woman and elevates her expectations of the world. My first decision was to stay huddled in our home, safely away from any and all germs, until I absolutely had to leave the house; six weeks later for my check up.
Immediately, I began to hold everything to a higher standard, including myself. My mission in life became to not break the baby; the perfect, amazing, beautiful creature whom I had just brought into the world. It’s a lot of pressure.
Suddenly, I was fully aware that I was the keeper of this miracle. She was given to us perfect and any defects from here on out, was strictly on us. I was responsible for what kind of human being this sweet smelling, cooing, and loving little soul would become. It was overwhelming.
My first responsibility was to my child but once we left our bubble and went out into the real world, I realized that there are a million different ways to be a mom and how could I know for sure that my way was the best way? Keep the baby alive. That was my mantra.
Those first few years of motherhood felt like a constant “do I cut the red wire or the blue wire?” situation.
Only the ramifications were much worse than a simple explosion, I could ruin an entire human being’s life by making the wrong choice.
Okay, who thought it was a good idea to let me leave the hospital with this baby? I want to see some credentials because, clearly, they had no idea what they were doing giving a baby to me. Breathe!
I didn’t get much sleep in those days. It took a lot of time and effort doing the best I could and even more time comparing myself to other moms, not because I thought I was right but because I was sure I was doing it wrong.
By the time we started Kindermusik classes at 9-months, because a mom at the pediatrician’s office gave me a crazed look when I told her that my baby wasn’t taking any classes, I couldn’t get enough of what other mother’s had to say about the subject of motherhood. I wanted to be the best that I could be for my daughter so I was open to anything but there were so many conflicting parenting techniques. Every mom I met seemed to have a handle on parenting her child and still I felt like I was floundering, now more than ever.
I took mental checklists in those days. Breastfed. Check. Tried to anyways. Had problems producing and used an SNS to help. Check. Drank all the Fenugreek. Failed miserably. Check. Formula. Check. Bad mom. Double Check.
I used disposable diapers. Check. Never used a binky but she could not be parted from her lovie. (Still can’t.)Check. Co-slept. Check. Never stopped. Double check. Rolled over at 3-months. Check. Rolled right off the bed. Double Check. Bad mom. Check. Sat up at 5-months. Check. Started crawling at 7-months. Check. Crawled backwards. Check minus. Started talking at 6-months. Check. Started walking at 10-months. Check. Never wanted to leave my side. Check. Frequently woke up during the night while teething and demanded the Wiggles. Double check. I let her because the crying at 3 a.m. was killing me. Bad mom. Check again.
But every mom I met seemed to do everything just a little bit better with a little more ease and looked a lot better doing it. I met several moms who went back to work and had amazing careers and parenting seemed effortless while I, on the other hand, was completely overwhelmed, always tired and looked the part. The only thing I knew was that I adored my daughter and there was nothing I wouldn’t do to be the best parent possible to her. Really, I think that is how every mother feels.
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We’re just scared to let the other mothers know that we don’t know everything, it’s not all easy and some parts we don’t like or even understand. We pretend it’s easy because we don’t want to be labeled the “bad mom” the one who doesn’t know what she’s doing or worse, the one who is breaking her perfect child. It’s our biggest fear.
I’d like to think in times of true need, we would all rush to one another’s rescue. As I’ve moved past the new mother stage to the mom of elementary school aged children, I realized the truth and that was that we are all exactly the same. We’re all just trying to do our best and it’s hard for all of us at times. Some parts are easy for others and some parts are harder but in the end we all just really love our babies more than we know how to handle. We all just need to give one another a break because if we helped one another out rather than compared ourselves or judged each other, we’d all be happier and better moms. You’re not alone. We all make mistakes. Just keep loving your baby and doing your best.
When is a time that you felt at the end of your mommy rope and another mom came in with a kind word or action and made your day better?