I am part of a local mom’s group in town, where we get together on Thursday mornings and just talk. We have a lactation consultant who fields breastfeeding questions, and we sometimes have specific speakers and topics (fertility, slings, cooking, crafts, etc) but really one of the goals of the group is just to provide community and support to what can sometimes feel like the loneliest job in the world.
Last week we met a new member who is struggling with what I think all of us have felt at some point – she doesn’t feel valued by her partner, she misses her old friends and lifestyle, she is second guessing her parenting abilities… so basically, she is a mom. The conversation evolved into what one member dubbed “The dark side of motherhood” – that sometimes we are angry at our children; that we are insecure and anxious; that we buy into the “Clorox mom” standard of motherhood; that we sometimes have to lower our standards to save our sanity. But mostly we just talked about what a shock it is to the system when you realize that you are not a perfect mom, and that you never will be. Some people find that out in the first week home with a newborn who won’t stop crying; some of us are not hit with that 2×4 until the kid is a toddler and is a poop Picasso. But is is humbling, and if you don’t know it is normal, it can be crippling.
Even when we don’t feel like our job is valued by others, we know it is probably the most important thing we will ever do to raise another human being to be self confident, humble, giving, funny, creative… and damn it, we want to get it right. So, we all fumble our way through the day, hoping we are at least not doing any harm. Or that we can make up for it tomorrow. And if we are lucky, we have a group of friends that we can turn to and admit that this? Is hard.
All of this is to say: You are doing a great job. And yes, I will need you to remind me of this next week.