Dear Mom: I See You
I see you. You’re sitting at home, watching Disney. The toddler, who really should be napping right now, is singing instead. The baby is screaming/crying, she still can’t decide if she wants to be a banshee or a velociraptor. You have a long list of stuff that really needs to be done today ( for some reason the tiny humans still expect food every day). You take a break and see all of these posts on Facebook talking about girls night out or date night. Then you realize you can’t remember the last time you had a night out.
I see you. You’re at the store trying to get in and out between meltdowns. The meltdowns lead to judgemental looks, which have really never helped anyone nor stopped a child from having a meltdown. Instead, they succeed in making you feel more like a failure than you already do. You politely smile, hang your head and try whatever you can to get out immediately.
I see you. You’ve been trying to conceive for what feels like forever. Maybe this month. Maybe there was extra baby dust sprinkled your way. After all, it seems all of your friends are announcing their pregnancies. You’ve been drinking the same water. Plus-you’re late this time. Maybe this is it.
Even though as moms, we’re rarely alone it can still feel lonely. We can still feel like nobody understands what we’re going through. Before kids it was so easy to hang out whenever you wanted, as long as you wanted. You didn’t have to worry about a sitter, bed time or if the house was an absolute mess. Now, going out seems to be a daunting task. You have to have someone you trust watch the kids, or make sure that it’s ok if you take them with you on your excursion (which can be interesting in and of itself).You could have people over to your house, but it’s got toys strewn all over the living room and by the time you clean it up it’ll happen in less time than the original mess.
Oh dear sweet, stressed out mama I promise you are seen. You are heard. You are understood. Even in the times you don’t believe it, someone understands exactly what you are going through. I guarantee someone else is either dealing with these same issues themselves or they have dealt with them previously.
I equate making new mom friends (or keeping mom friends) to my son learning/doing something new or something simple he’s too shy to do. It takes a lot to build him up to go for it. I have to keep reassuring him, he can do it and everything is going to be fine. This back and forth can go on for while. Whenever he finally takes the step to do whatever it may be, he excitedly runs back to me and says “ I did it!”. I give him a high five, tell him I knew he could and tell him how proud I am. To me, making/keeping mom friends works very similarly. You have to work up the courage to ask them for a play date, then hope it all works out. You hope that nap time doesn’t interfere, your kid behaves and things go smooth. At the end of it, you want to give yourself a high five and smile because you did it.However, that may seem to be daunting itself. You feel like nobody understands your struggles. Nobody else is going to fully understand you were late to the park because you accidently grabbed the red Mickey sippy, when you promised the yellow robot cup. Or-you need to cancel because your child is sick again. Or you’re trying to have another baby, but discovered this isn’t your month and you just want to be with your child and hug them. Or you can’t have people over due to the shape your house is in.
You are not alone mama. While you may not want to admit any of this to a mom you are “courting” in person, or sometimes even to one you have known for a while-there is someone who completely understands.
Even in the times when you feel all alone, like nobody cares or like nobody understands whatever your circumstance-there are people who understand. There are people who care, even if you don’t know them in person.
One of the greatest (and at times the worst) inventions recently is Facebook. I know this may sound absolutely crazy, but bare with me. I’ve come to the completely unscientific conclusion that there is a group for almost (ok strike almost) everything. This means there are also mom groups, there may even be some that are local to you. I have seen/experienced the power of these groups. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to hang out and meet some great local moms, who understood what I was going through. They understood I couldn’t make it or I was late due to something with my child. When I need to vent about my toddler crying because I handed him something he asked for (true story, happens a lot) they understand and accept what I’m saying. On more than one occasion, I have witnessed strangers build each other up; support each other through the loss of a loved one. I’ve heard of someone traveling to help a mom prepare their house for the birth of their new child. The one thing all of these women had in common is their moms. I’m sure at one point in time they thought nobody understood what they were going through. I also would think they probably felt alone at one time.
No matter what you are going through, you are seen. You are loved. You are heard. You are not alone. Despite what you are thinking, in case nobody else has told you, you’re doing a great job at this mom thing.