So, I didn’t get selected for the show. BUT. But. I did it and for that, I am proud. Here’s the piece. ❤
Yesterday when we were at the pediatrician for the 2-for-1 head-cold and earache special, I was joking to the mom next to me about how my two boys (ages 2 and 4) were both excitedly jumping on the couch right before we came here– real sick yah, hehe, wink wink nudge nudge– she said, “they’re probably just excited you’re home with them.” And with that, the weight of the mommy wars settled over the waiting area. And my heart twisted in a knot. Was she right? Am I ok? Are they ok? What am I doing with 2 kids if I can’t stay home and raise them myself? I was so sure in that moment that she was so much better than me. I felt smaller than small. And bad. Really bad. I started to make all of these super irrational leaps in my head: like, I bet she actually makes the crap she pins on Pinterest. And I am sure her kids wear cloth diapers that she wove herself on her loom made of reclaimed barn doors. And her toddler probably speaks 4 languages (that wasn’t a huge leap: she did actually use sign language with them. She signed. While I begged my two to stop licking the waiting room fish tank.).
And she was cool too– she had tattoos, and an asymmetrical haircut. I hated her. Loved her.
This interaction really got me thinking…
By far the worst mommy war I face is the one I wage against myself every single day of my life. I know the talking points (the ones tossed at each other over polite playground conversation)– that I am providing for them, that I’m giving them a great example of what women can achieve, they’re being “socialized” in daycare, blah blah blah. But in reality? It sucks so much to drop them off and know that their whole day, filled with learning moments, the 736 questions they ask, the cool new things they encounter, the boo-boos that I can’t kiss, the firsts I am not seeing; that all that is happening without me and, in fact, I am almost living a parallel existence for those 10 hours. (TEN HOURS, my heart just skipped a beat.)
And yet. I also know that when I spend too much time home with them, I am longing for my office, my job, adult conversation and the work that comes with a successful career. I really love my job and I don’t think that’s a bad thing to feel. I know that I am probably not cut out for the stay at home mom gig and also, that it’s not even an option. Mostly, I just don’t go there.
So why the wars? Why is this even a thing? Can we please just raise our very tired arms (ok- arm, singular: the one that’s not holding a baby, a laptop, a sippy cup and walking the dog all at the same time) and salute each other for making it through another day?
I mean, we all know the real deal here: none of us knows what the hell we’re doing. We’re just hoping to make it through the day without misplacing a kid. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but that’s sort of what it feels like. I will never forget the moment I knew I had crossed over into Motherhood, with a capital M: my first baby was 8 weeks old and we all had a head cold and the baby and I hadn’t slept in days (though somehow my husband was snoring away through it all) and it was the middle of the night and my sore breasts were out and the baby was crying cause he couldn’t eat and breathe at the same time– and I was crying and I just kept saying through sobs “I am. So. Tired.” But we made it. And I know that I am the 7 million-th woman on earth to have that moment; and if you’ve had that moment (or any of the other similarly humiliating, painful-and-yet-beautiful wrapped-in-one type moments), you are soooo in the club, no doubt.
I firmly believe that we are all in this together and I don’t find fault with those stay at home wonders; in fact, I am in awe of them. And by the same token, I hope they look at me and wonder how I manage it all. Not because of my title at work, or my title at home, but because really, we’re all on the same side of this so-called war.
Right here and now, I am laying down my weapons and surrendering– or just getting over it. So, can we please stop lobbing the co-sleep/crib-sleep, breast/formula, wearing/strollering, homeschool/public school, cloth/disposable, organic/non, raised eyebrow-judgey looks… and just agree to support each other? Can you imagine what THAT would be like? All the mamas in all the land focused on supporting each other and her kids? Unstoppable.