It starts young. We can all remember the group of girls that were mean. They would look you up and down, exclude you from the lunch table, and whisper behind your back. Sometimes they would even pretend to be your friend just to get your help on school work. I am not bitter or anything. It is funny, because we strive for more gender equality between men and women. But, ladies, shouldn’t we stick together and practice what we preach? How can women demand equality with men if we are not even playing on the same team?
Just think if we were more united as a gender, perhaps we could have already experienced seeing the first woman U.S. president shatter the glass ceiling into millions of pieces. Yet the Huffington Post‘s Juilette Frette explains women are quick to judge and compete with other women. Women are mean to other women. Many seem to think they have another woman’s whole story figured out just by her looks, her appearance, or her body type.
I should mention not all women are mean. But, sadly all too often women are mean to women. I have found motherhood seems to change all of this.
Outside of my amazing husband, I owe much of where I am today as a new mother to the women I have met and reconnected with along the way. Social media gave me the vehicle to reconnect with girlfriends from my past. There were nights leading up to the birth that I would message with an old friend in Atlanta for hours — about my most personal worries and hesitations. Or, other days I would drop quick questions to an old neighborhood friend in Boston about the delivery process, natural birth, c-sections, you name it. One of my dearest childhood friends, in which I had sadly had a falling out with and not spoken with in more than 10 years, dropped me a line to congratulate me on my new little man. She even threw in some good advice about enjoying the little moments because they grow up fast.
Regardless of our past or present, us mommies are connected. Just earlier this week, the Huffington Post‘s Avery Stone published the article “30 Strangers Discover They Share The Same Doubts, Pains, and Joys of Motherhood.” After being part of an amazing new moms group here in Howard County, I can believe this. I have quickly learned moms, in general, have very similar experiences. And, frankly, I just don’t have time to judge (let alone eat, sleep, or shower on some days).
As I prepare to go back to work in 2 weeks, yesterday I posted a call out on Facebook for words of advice on how to deal. Since day one, I have been tested on how well I can embrace transition and change. Because children grow, parents changes, and family needs evolve. Nothing stays the same for too long. Going with the flow has never been my strength. I really needed support, and was overwhelmed by the number of comments and personal messages I received. It felt like I was getting a warm, fuzzy hug with each new Facebook notification alert.
The following are only some of the words of wisdom I received:
- “When we struggled, our doctor told us that by going to work we were teaching our children to be strong and responsible adults.”
- “Find a way to turn work off on your drive home and not let your work life interfere with home. Put your phone away and keep strong boundaries.”
- “Keep in mind that you are not doing so for selfish reasons – you are not doing so to seek luxuries or have lots of time for yourself. You are using daycare to help provide necessities – and that is what a responsible, loving parent does.”
- “Bring pics with you to put up at work, and just remember that we’ve all been there and we are there with you!”
- “Anticipation is much worse then just going. I cried the week leading up – but once I got to work it was better – and slowly it becomes easier because it becomes the routine. Also go easy on yourself – it’s a new role being a working mom.”
- “It will be hard at first but you will start to enjoy having a little time to yourself, and coming home to your little one is the best.”
- “I was opposite of most mommies (at first). We decided that fewer reminders rather than more were the way to go or else I wasn’t going to be able to return to work. If I looked at too many pics /videos, I couldn’t focus. If I just threw myself into work, the day passed quickly, suddenly I was home and got to hear about his day & see pics then. Don’t feel guilty. There is no “right way” to feel about returning to work and missing your little guy!”
If you are willing to open up and share, most likely you will discover us moms have much more in common than you might initially perceive. We seem to naturally want to help other moms (hence why I started this blog). Perhaps it is the nurturing gene we inherit that motivates us to want to pay it forward.
How has another mom helped you? Did motherhood reconnect you with an old friend or new one? Do you have an inspiring experience or story to share?