I remember when I had my son. I had decided I was going to breastfeed. What no one told me was that making the decision to breastfeed was the easy part, (which, also turns out is indicative to all other decisions you end up making as a parent). I had a hard time. I remember day 3 with a newborn, struggling to give my baby the best by breastfeeding, and having girlfriends who were saying, “oh breastfeeding is going great! Fantastic, couldn’t be better!!!” and there I was, truly suffering and struggling. But here is the thing. When I had those same breastfeeding champions over, during their first few weeks of motherhood things weren’t the gloriously, easy, bonding experience I was envisioning them having.
I can recall them struggling, trying to feed their screaming newborns fifteen times in the span of an hour just like me. I was truly struggling to understand why they were so reluctant to admit that they too, were struggling and probably also felt like they would rather take a run down a sandpaper slip-and-slide in the backyard than have their beautiful new little being latch on for the umpteenth time that day. Or was it possible, that this was truly what success looked and felt like? Either way I was at a loss.
I have always been open and honest with my struggles, with the goal of learning from others the things I was failing miserably at, and vice versa. But with this new status of mother, was I missing something? Was the woman-to-woman pact we always held no longer valid when we entered into the glorious phenomenon we call motherhood? Was that no longer the deal? I help you, you help me? Why was this so much different from telling your girlfriend about a raved about restaurant or a favorite travel destination? It felt as though the rules changed. That, average height, weight, milestones, play dates, and prestigious childcare was where the buck stopped and I was really at a loss as to why this was. Should we line all our babies up and have an all out, anything goes, race to the finish line to crown the winner? But here is the interesting part. I don’t think that winning is any good mom’s real goal.
We have built a world on being the best, instead of wanting the best for everyone. So why would this be any different? As my son gets older, I realize that there are birthday parties that he is left out of, friendships that blossomed in preschool that are just no longer. And as a parent, this is in fact a hard pill to swallow. Not because we want our child to be the best, we just want them to be happy and excel at being, well, themselves.
I made a decision right around the time I was dealing with the breastfeeding dilemma. That decision was that I was just going to be honest, no matter where that left me in the motherhood hierarchy I was going be 100% authentically me. Sometimes that has made me the most popular momma at the playground, arena or field, and sometimes, not so much!
This is something I have also vowed to do with my son. I always tell him the truth. Of course, this means the age appropriate truth, but it sets the stage that if he has a question, he will get a truthful answer from me. It also set a precedent with the other moms in my life. I am going to give you the low down, the good, the bad and the ugly. I realize that not everyone is going to delve into the nitty gritty side of their mom-hood experiences, and that is ok, but I have exactly zero issue with admitting to my Pinterest level life fails if it is going to help someone else in anyway, shape or form because we all need a little help, and most importantly a sympathetic and empathetic support system. I truly believe honesty kindness, (and tequila) are all best served straight up!!!
xo Guest Blogger Erin