What Moms Really Need
Being a mother is like riding a roller coaster. You experience amazing highs of indescribable love and joy and the lowest lows of helplessness, guilt, and loneliness.
When your child is first put in your arms, something happens; you change. Your world shifts. You are no longer number one. And this is beautiful. Those first few months are incredibly joyful, some of the happiest days of life. And this is mostly what you hear when someone describes motherhood. “It’s wonderful. It’s incredible.” Yes, yes, it is! But it is also hard, oh so hard. In fact, it just might be the hardest thing you’ll ever do.
“[Motherhood] just might be the hardest thing you’ll ever do”
In a world with a constant stream of accessible connections through social media, it’s amazing that motherhood can still feel so lonely. Scrolling through Facebook or Instagram to see a picture of your friend and her happy, smiling baby in sunglasses at the park (so cute!) while you are struggling to function after being up all night with your screaming child—who’s still screaming—doesn’t make you feel connected and supported. It makes you feel like a failure.
Moms need support. They need good friends who won’t judge. They need family, given or chosen. Cliche, I know, but it does take a village. This is why I feel so passionate about connecting moms in a safe community and providing resources to them. Sure, everyone loves to read a blog post about the funny things our kids say, but what about that scared mom in the middle of the night who is reading about the challenges of breastfeeding, how to connect with a toddler during a tantrum, or how to decrease separation anxiety on the first day of school. That mom is searching for someone who just might know exactly what she is going through.
We need to support women on this journey.
If I could tell new moms to stop doing the following two things right now, motherhood would become so much easier. Yet, as I write, this is a friendly reminder to myself because not doing these two things is very challenging.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Do you work, or do you stay home? Do you breastfeed, or do you bottle feed? Does your child sleep through the night? Her child does. Can your child read yet? STOP. It doesn’t matter what someone else is doing. What you are doing and the choices you’ve made for your child is what matters most. You are doing your best, and if something isn’t working, get help. Who cares if your sister-in-law raised four kids on her own. If you need a nanny, a therapist, a parenting book, coffee with a friend, go get it. Reach out.
- Stop feeling guilty. Ah, the mom guilt. This never goes away, but it is something we can all work on. When my son was first born, I worked part-time outside the house. I felt guilty at work when I wasn’t with him. I felt guilty at home because I wasn’t working. Now, as a work-from-home mom, I feel guilty when I forget to pack his snack, when I forget to wash his favorite shirt, when I can’t volunteer at his school even though I did last week, when I need to work, when I can’t pick him up, when I spend time with my other child, when I get my nails done, when I go on a date with my husband. This could go on forever. STOP. Stop feeling guilty. I truly am a better mom when I step back, when I am not at my kid’s beck and call 24/7, when I am HUMAN. Making mistakes and owning up to them actually teaches your kids a lot. Showing your kids that you have responsibilities and that you have self worth and take time to care for yourself teaches them even more.
Let’s, for one minute, acknowledge the courage and strength that is needed to ride this rollercoaster of motherhood.
My husband joked the other day to a friend who is getting ready to have her first baby. He described these inconceivable superpowers that I developed when I became a mom, and he told our friend, “You’ll get them too!” He was joking, but he was right. Sensing a fever by kissing a little forehead, powering through a work meeting on no sleep, differentiating a tired cry from a hungry cry, “sleeping” on the floor in your scared child’s room, developing immunity to every kid illness, seeing and preventing a fall from across the room, and multitasking to the max.
We are amazing!
We all have superpowers. But even superheroes have their sidekicks.
Written by Kelly Arditi
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About the Author
Kelly is the founder of San Francisco Moms Blog and Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog and part of the City Moms Blog Network. She leads a team of 30 local moms from all stages of motherhood to help support and encourage moms in San Francisco and on the SF Peninsula. She first migrated to San Francisco in 2009 after living in Chicago, Florida, and growing up in Texas. Kelly has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Medical Science, and previously worked as a Physician Assistant in OBGYN and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
With the support of her husband and college sweetheart, Rob, she took a break from medicine to do something more creative! In addition to running San Francisco Moms Blog and Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog, Kelly is mommy to Mr. Gavin and Mr. Byron. She is happy to be the princess of the house! When she is not working or chasing her boys, she loves baking, college football, and spending time and traveling with her family.
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