One of my biggest regrets (yes, "one of", did you not listen to my podcast episode on #momguilt?) as a new mom was caving to the mommy wars. Either hormones or one too many late night web surfing sessions left my brain as mushy as it could get so I'll blame my poor decisions on that. Meanwhile my Type-A personality wanted to be the best, the most. And so like many of you, I participated in the competition we've bought into that meant I had outdo every other mom on the block. I had to have the baby who slept the best, who nursed like a champ, who never cried. In reality, he was these things at least some of the time but most times we were struggling and muddling through it just like everyone else posting a smiley selfie.
But take a look at what is out there for us to consume on social media. If you're not in the right places, you start to feel 'less than' in a hurry.
I truly feel like buying into this ludicrous competition is a trap too many moms fall into. If we're all hashtagging away about #happiestbaby or #sleptthroughthenight (and #blessed -- of course) while in reality we need support, we're doing all of us a huge disservice. I can't be the only mom who gets a pit in her stomach when she reads about another ten month old who apparently sleeps through the night, changes his own diaper, and writes his name.. in Sanskrit. I immediately feel like, "what am I doing wrong??" But I'm going to let you in on a secret. That kid slept through the night once and mom is riding that high for the next month. Go 'head, girl. But don't play it off like that's the norm at your house. You're making your girlfriends feel like they're failing at this mom thing.
I'm so thankful for movements like #rebuildmamasvillage and #themotherhoodisreal that are allowing us to be REAL about what this craziness looks and feels like. Yes, go and celebrate when your baby does something amazing. I skipped through the halls at my day job and told anyone, anyone who would listen when I slept for nine straight hours (once) last month. But I think if we also reach out and share the nitty gritty days too we're going to build this enormous community of moms who've been there too. And I can't imagine how many fewer heavy hearts we would have scrolling through their newsfeeds.
Think back to those first days at home. You're nursing at 3 am, partner snoring next to you, baby clawing at your nipple with those razor sharp nails (is that the cruelest joke Mother Nature ever played or what?). How good would it have felt to see a post from a mom who also hasn't washed her hair in three days?
Next time around, I plan on keeping it real.