Here’s the deal: you have a baby, easy enough. Baby and mom are doing well and you head home. You walk through the doors, there’s utter silence. And then what? Magically you just get thrust into this panicky mother-of-a-newborn life and are expected to seamlessly just know what your infant wants and needs. And then to top it all off, there’s no one you can really talk to about it who doesn’t have some sort of invested interest in someone else besides you.
Newborn, especially first time mom life is rough. And there’s a constant feeling that nobody else really gets it. I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or just a me thing, but there was always this thought with my first son that I was stuck. That I was in this alone and that I had to just figure it all out.
I remember getting home from the hospital with Lincoln, it was just my husband and I. I couldn’t wait to create our little family and figure out life together. And then the fresh baby sleep wore off and he wasn’t sleeping unless we were holding him. I was beyond stressed. I joined this website called BabyCenter and holy hell, was that a mistake.
Let me tell you one quick note about online mom forums that are public. They are hostile and fear-mongering and not a good place to go if you have any sort of anxieties or real questions that are applicable in the real world. I literally saw a first time mother post that she fell asleep with her newborn in her arms and how guilty she had felt.
Instead of the community being like girl, get some rest or telling her to ask for help or to nap in her bed instead or something freaking useful, these people were telling her that she was lucky that her baby didn’t die… yes, you read that right…die. Imagine having some form of post-partum depression and someone blaming you for being sleep deprived and dozing off with a baby in their arms.
I’ll stop because I could go on and on about this toxic forum that touts the fact that they’re a mom group. They’re not. Do not join BabyCenter unless you have a tough skin and just want to lurk. Otherwise, it’s genuinely a dangerous place to be constantly judged in.
But let’s get back to my lack of mom friends. I cannot even count the amount of times I wish I had someone to speak with just to either complain or ask a question to. I have this internal struggle of being perfect and putting out this persona of having it all together. But in reality I feel like so much of my life is winging it and trusting my gut. Thank goodness I have a good gut instinct otherwise I don’t even know where I’d be.
Sometimes family just isn’t enough. I can vent until I’m blue in the face to my husband but he’s too close, if that makes sense. His best interests are always going to be our children and us as a family. If I go to him and tell him that our son is a brat, I don’t think he’s going to just join in and complain with me. There’s just something in my gut that says it needs to be an outside person to vent with.
Here’s how I imagine a mom friendship would go… You’re at the park and this similarly-aged mom walks over and says, oh my goodness your baby is so cute. I’m XYZ let’s be friends. You continue to talk and sure enough she’s super supportive and relates to your silly complaints.
That’s the other thing: I know that when I complain that Lincoln said “hey you” fifty times until I finally snapped and said what do you want that it’s ridiculous. I know this. I know it’s freaking cute and he’s just a little boy and anyone else in the entire world will say well, you should just be happy that you get to spend all of this time with him. Yeah, I know. Trust me, I know.
But my complaints are still valid. It’s annoying as hell. I’m tired as hell. I can be frustrated with the fact that my children touched me too much and wanted too much and bothered me for twenty solid minutes straight. I have that right. And it would sure be nice if someone could just listen and be like hell yeah girl. My kid did the same thing yesterday! I wanted to hide in a closet with a glass of wine and bar of chocolate just to escape their whiney little voices.
And that’s not to say that it’s just negative things either. I remember when Layla had her first sleep through the night, and I’m talking 6-6 level sleeps. Or the first night that the witching hour miraculously stopped. I told my husband and sure, he was happy she had a great night. But did he really feel it? Nah. If I had a mom friend, I’m sure she would’ve said, holy shit! Mine was 4 months before I had a good stretch like that. Go Layla!
There’s so many things that only other moms who are in the thick of it get. You’ve never needed a mom friend more than when you baby has three newborn poops in the middle of the night, you’re breastfeeding and can’t fall back asleep. Especially since The Office is off of Netflix. That show was my saving grace during my newborn stage with Lincoln.
I could go on and on but the friendship of another parent who understands your struggles, no matter how big or small they may be is so important. I only say this because I lack it and wish that I had it. I wish I had an ear to listen to my lame complaints and fake problems. I know that they’re not real life problems, but it doesn’t make it feel any better or worse.