I haven’t yet posted about my maternity leave, or as I call it, The Aftermath. I’ve put together the post but it’s even more all over the place than my usual posts, so I’m working on that. But the biggest thing that I really wasn’t prepared for right after A joined that party was the humongous emotional roller coaster that every day life became. Between the raging hormones, the lack of sleep, the transition into having another human completely reliant on me, the saggy, lumpy state of my once perky body and the lack of confidence from having no idea what I was doing, I was a hot mess.
A big struggle for me during that time was that I felt almost a little guilty for having such a hard time transitioning into my new role as a mom. I had a pretty ideal situation. First and foremost, I absolutely adored this perfect little girl that we prayed for and wanted for so long. Our family was so incredibly helpful with everything from day-to-day chores and errands to just being there to take a walk and snuggle with A. J was home for 2 weeks and was completely involved in every aspect of our day-to-day struggles and triumphs, even after he returned to work. He was also completely understanding and emotionally supportive. Even Macie seemed to recognize when I needed some extra puppy snuggles, and boy did she come through.
What I wasn’t expecting was the other moms of young children that I know who reached out to me with kind words of encouragement and understanding. Many of these people are friends that I don’t get to see or talk with frequently; several of whom I am not extremely close with. I was blown away by the amount of people that came out of the wood work, just to let me know that they’re here if I need to talk and that they know what the it’s like. I don’t know how to fully express how helpful this was for me and how much it meant to me.
When I was still pregnant with A and also recently, I read articles like this, this, and this, which address the topics of competitive parenting, judgement and mommy wars. While the articles are against these mommy wars, many of the examples sited within the articles illustrate the very attitudes that tear us down as parents and as people. To say that’s a shame is an understatement. We should be supporting each other and lifting each other up.
I’m not trying to get all mushy on you. All I’m saying is, maybe it’s time for us all to stop competing and start encouraging each other, like these women did for me. It takes 5 minutes to send off an email or message letting another mom (or person for that matter) know that you’re there for them, that you support them. We’re all in this together. Maybe that’s part of what the proverbial “they” are referring to when they say it takes a village.
It doesn’t need to be a situation where we butt in; where we try and tell each other how to do things and why our way is best. But what if we took a minute as parents and as people to stop competing and try to be better and kinder to each other? I know that I certainly have my competitive, judge-y moments. I have many areas of opportunity, where I can be better to other people. Those supportive messages and the outpouring of support from women that have been where I was at the time not only lifted me up, but served as the perfect reminder of how I want to be toward other people. These women never questioned how or why I parent the way I do (it rarely even came up). All they did was say “I’m here for you.” Call it Support without Strings.
So this is me saying, I’m going to be better. I’m going to take this opportunity to be kinder and more generous with my support of other moms and other people. I’m going to reach out to those new moms and let them know that I support them for no reason other than to lift them up. And maybe, just maybe that glow, the feeling that you get when you do something good, will rub off on that person and on the other aspects of my own life. Maybe it will start a chain reaction.
Do you have the courage to join me?