A couple articles across the interwebs have got me thinking lately.
Deep in the trenches of Toddler motherhood it seems every day I’m faced with new challenges (like the need to THROW ALL THE THINGS AT MY HEAD), frustrating whining fits and tantrums, and several “ah-ha” moments when I realize that HOLY CRAP HE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I’M SAYING!!! And those same days I question if I’m doing the right thing…setting enough boundaries, reading him enough books, making enough animal sounds. So to ease my stress and worry I turn to the internet…naturally.
Like a lot of new moms I’m drawn to those bloggers that make me feel right at home…that I’m not alone and that
sometimes half the time having kids is NOT all butterflies and rainbows. So called “Bad Mommy” bloggers. The ones that aren’t afraid to be honest and tell us how it really is…to get peed on, the unexplainable crying, nonstop whining, food throwing, biting…all before 8am. Sometimes I’m left terrified of what’s yet to come (terrible 2’s, troublesome 3’s…having multiple children to care for (deep breath in)) but often I find myself nodding my head thinking YES OMG YES THAT IS EXACTLY IT!!
So when I came across this article I surprisingly agreed. As my co-mother friends can attest…I will be the first one to admit my shortcomings or mistakes as a mother…(yep we turned Jack’s car seat forward already…and this one time he fell out of the cart at Target b/c I failed to strap him in)…but I often wonder if this comes off as a competition?! Like some warped competition of being the “worst mom ever” which makes everyone else feel better about what they do. If I’m not perfect…am I also not Bad Enough either?! I love how Elissa ends the article:
“This isn’t to say we didn’t gain anything from the bad mother. The spirit of confession she brought, the invitation to reveal our deepest doubts and frustrations, has surely benefited many women who felt suffocated by the mother mystique. But now we need to take that slightly selfish, sometimes bored and occasionally uncaring woman and just call her a mother. Not good, not bad, just mom.”
I’m not perfect, and I’m not bad…I’m just a Mom.
Along the same lines…when I was pregnant these “bad mommy” blogs were totally foreign to me. I lived in a blissful fog of “omg my baby is going to be AMAZING!!!.” I read weekly pregnancy updates of fellow bloggers, and birth story after birth story. So when my life was flipped upside down during those first months…I wondered WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS?!
Turns out…the internet tried to. At the time I turned a blind eye but it seems like now the “Things no one told me about having a baby” and “What I wish I knew…” or “What I would tell my Pre-Pregnant Self” posts are littered across the internet and fill my facebook feed…thanks to a lot of my new mom friends. So it’s not exactly new news…having a baby is hard and life changing. I’ve even made it my unofficial “job” to tell people this before they have children themselves. I don’t want to be blamed for not giving fair warning.
As an example…a few weeks ago I was guilty of doing the head-tilt “awwwww” look at another couple with a newborn at the liquor store. After I realized I was probably making them uncomfortable with my wide-eyed stare and huge grin, I asked how old their son was and if he was their first. When they both replied yes…and had that all-to-familiar tired look of “please don’t say how amazing this time is” I quickly replied with “it’s hard huh?!”. Now thankfully they must have agreed because instead of cursing me they gave me agreeing looks…and even bigger smiles. It felt good. Maybe that is what they needed to hear. Being me…I also threw in a quick “well that’s why we’re here buying booze right?! (awkward laugh)”
While I wholeheartedly agree that as friends and Moms is it our duty to let our fellow moms, especially our closest friends, know that they are not alone during those hard times…that they are doing great…and yes you can admit it is hard you can tell me your deepest honest feelings without the “but it’s the best decision ever and i wouldn’t trade it for anything” end comment…. (I KNOW. Trust me…I know. My days are filled with ups/downs and yet my love for my son is unquestionable and deep and scary strong** ) I also worry that by pushing too much negativity about what becoming a parent is “really like” in the faces of those friends of ours who do not have kids yet (or ever), or even our pregnant friends can be a bit much…and even make them question why we did this in the first place?!
Like most things…you can’t fully grasp it until you experience it. You can tell someone how hard it is and try to explain just how evil sleep deprivation can make you…they won’t get it until they are deep in it themselves. So I’m torn. I inhale articles and blog posts that talk about how hard motherhood is and the daily challenges we experience before we even have our morning cup of coffee. But on the other end, I don’t want to be so negative that those around me question even for one second my choice to become a mother.
It was our choice. We don’t regret it. My marriage has changed, my free time has changed, my workout schedule has changed (if we can even say it exists), my view on what matters has changed, but most importantly my role in this world has changed. I’m a Mom. My son deserves whatever I can give him…whether it’s “bad” or “good” in the eyes of the internet.
** I’ve been thinking a lot about how negative posts must affect those who are unable to have kids or those who experience miscarriage and unthinkable loss. A beautiful blogger friend recently lost her daughter at 37 weeks and it just breaks me inside to think of the pain she and her husband must be going through. PLEASE please please send her and her husband your thoughts and prayers.