Even though it’s so, so sweet, it can still be so hard.
I’m so happy to be the mom of 2 girls, one 2 years, one 2 months. There are so very many magical moments every day; smiles and giggles and imagination, arts and crafts, stories, songs. Cuddles galore.
But, in the haze of sleep deprivation and a toddler adjusting to a new sibling, and thus, attempting to exert power over everything, sometimes everything crashes together at just the right moment that leaves you crying in the library.
This morning I successfully wrangled the kids into the car without screams. I felt chipper. We were headed to story time at our local library. I’m not terribly practiced at getting out with both girls on my own, so I stick to my usual ‘safe zones’; places where I’m likely to have someone around who might give me a hand if i need it. Our library is one such place, as I know some of the parents who come to the events, as well as the staff. They’ve taken a kid off my hands for a few minutes a time or two.
Well, t oday we arrived as baby began to wail to be fed, drowning out the group leader, turning all heads our way. Big sister suddenly had a screaming meltdown about the color of cushion available to sit on (it’s hard to be 2). I attempted to console Pepper while I wrestled with her sister under the nursing cover while the group leader tried to include us in the welcome song while 6 moms and 6 kids turned to stare at us.
Well, I got the big one quiet enough to participate, gave up on the stupid cover, ripped it off (thanks, snaps) and schlepped that crying baby around a corner to a comfy chair where, lo and behold, I was so damn uptight my milk wouldn’t let down.
So I scrambled for a back up bottle and finally got the little one quiet, as I lay my head back, tears in my eyes, feeling judged for being a shit mom.
When a friend and fellow mom walked in, late, but calm, spotted me, she declared, Aw, mama, give me that baby.
Thank goodness for other moms.
In reality, it was just a few moments of sudden screaming madness. But don’t we all hate to have our roughest moments on public display? I realized after a few deep breaths that another baby cried the whole time, another screamed and refused his bottle, the bigger kids all shouted at each other and one mom who had never come before seemed utterly embarrassed that her child seemed to hate every second.
And, I didn’t hold it against any of them. We feel judged all the time, but we judge ourselves the hardest.
When you’re lucky enough to be in a room full of moms who’s kids are all wiping boogers on things, knocking each other’s blocks over and pooping their pants at an embarrassing rate, you’re lucky enough to be in a room full of people who know exactly what you’re going through.
They know that sometimes you want to cry, scream, hide in the bathroom. They know that you’re in demand allllllllllll the time. They know that no matter how much help your spouse may be (mine filed the baby’s nails the other day, my most hated job) that only another mom can truly get it.
And even though she’s stretched thin and in constant demand and desperate for a break in her own life, when she sees the cracks in another, just those tiny little cracks in the public selves we create for display, she sees herself a little maybe, and she’ll reach out and take a little pressure off your hands even for a minute.
To you, other moms. I know we all feel judged, but let’s try to be those people who see someone struggling and slipping and pull them back up on their feet. We’ve all been there, and it’s always best to carry each other a little, if we can, because, sooner or later we need someone to bear our weight just a bit, too