I am surrounded by non parents, in friendships and among my siblings. Sometimes I get asked “hey, how is the whole mom thing going?”… I’m usually stumped for an immediate answer, because what sounds like an innocent enough question actually holds a vastness of answers.
Parenthood. Is. Everything.
It’s so cliche to say, but I think most parents would identify with that. It is so wonderfully magical and incredibly difficult. It holds the widest array of emotions I have ever experienced in my life. The short answer, however, is that motherhood, while wonderfully magical is damn hard. But it’s not hard for the reasons we parents like to joke and vent about on the internet. Sure being a mom makes you tired. It means sleepless nights and days that are sometimes filled with frustration (as well, of course, as those magic moments I will continue to refer to). No I think what actually makes the whole parent thing hard is the fear of doing everything wrong. This fear follows me every. single. day. Every move I make, every step I take… it’s watching me.
There is nothing quite so relatable in parenthood as the fear of totally screwing up your kids. That’s why its so easy to be sensitive when other people give you advice that may or may not be coming from the right place, because we parents are doubting just about every choice we make anyway. We are literally just doing the best we can with the limited knowledge we have. I say limited because yes we have access to so much information but at the end of the day we don’t know who these little people are going to grow up to be. Yes we know what not to feed them or what doctors say to do for their health and safety but we don’t know what will stay with them emotionally, mentally… forever. What will influence them in ways we can’t even imagine, that will dictate in many ways who they will become. IT IS TERRIFYING.
I don’t know a single mother that doesn’t think she is just the worst parent ever sometimes. Many of us go to bed at night replaying the day and analyzing what we could have done better. For me, that is by far the most tiresome part or parenthood. Was I too hard on them? Too soft? Was I enough fun? Not structured enough? Should I be more involved in play or let them be more independent? I’m either being a helicopter mom or I am too unattached and I just constantly ping pong between the two.
This, my friends, is why having mom friends (ahem, non-JUDGING mom friends) is SO important. I can tell when it’s been too long since I had a drink with other moms when everything I do feels like a big deal. When the weight of decision making becomes stressful I know I need a realty check and that comes in the form of a couple of beers with a couple of like minded mommas. It’s easy to forget that most parents are feeling what you are feeling until you sit and vent together and we all need that. I have never had friends quite like my mom friends. It can be hard sometimes to find those parent friends who you can gel with, but once you do nothing quite compares to how much better you feel once you’ve hung out with them. It’s like parenthood’s best medicine!
So how is the whole mom thing going? Great question. I have no f-ing idea! But it seems like I’m doing alright. The clues are there. It’s in the happy moments. It’s when a stranger tells me at Starbucks that my kids are so well behaved. It’s when the babysitter looks at me with surprise when I crack a joke about how horrible bedtime is just to respond “they are always great for me!” At least they are good for someone. So maybe I’m not screwing them up after all!