I have officially entered the “baby boom” phase of life, and I am loving it.
We were blessed to have the sweetest and funniest little girl 7 months ago, and it has been an amazing experience. Sure, parts were not so enjoyable – hello, pregnancy nausea and heartburn! – but the overwhelming majority of the experience has been something to really cherish and appreciate.
On top of having this crazy and amazing journey of our own take place, we are surrounded by family and friends who have welcomed (or are anxiously awaiting the arrival of) their own little peanuts. Cousins, friends from middle/high school, friends from college, friends from grad school, coworkers.. so many of those close to us have been able to share our joys, concerns, frustrations, and moments of awe with one another. Facebook and Instagram are flooded with photos of tiny toes, baby bumps, and gummy/toothless smiles.
All these babies mean lots of baby showers. I really do love being able to go to baby showers for friends and family and help them prepare to enter the crazy whirlwind that comes with adding a little one to the family. Of course, seeing all the adorable gifts and decorations aren’t bad either! I got to do that a few weeks ago for a dear friend of mine (who is now a mama to the most adorable little man!).
The gorgeous mama-to-be!
The hostesses made the most adorable personalized onesies to decorate the shower – so cute!!
On a more serious note, throughout the past year or so, I’ve been able to talk with other mamas and realize that my fears are not bizarre or irrational – just part of mommyhood. That I’m not the only one who couldn’t sleep because I was too busy trying to make sure I could hear Peanut breathing during those first nights. That I was n’t the only one freaking out about what I could or couldn’t eat while pregnant. That what worked for someone else may be the best advice you’ve ever received – OR it might not work at all for you and your baby.
I think that is the most important thing I’ve realized – that we need to talk to each other about the lows as well as the highs. That it’s ok to be waiting by the door, keys in hand, for your husband to get home so that you can get out of the house for an hour after a day full of trying to calm a crying little one. That it doesn’t make you any less of a mama, much less a bad one. That it simply makes you human. And it makes you a better mama when you get back home with your sanity intact.
I think there has always been pressure to be a perfect mama, but in the days of Pinterest and social media overwhelming us with images of what that “perfection” should look like, it is so so sooooo easy to fall into the trap of comparison or feeling like we aren’t enough. We need to stop that. Seriously. Let go of that ideal, and just embrace your reality. Yes, I think striving to always be your own version of the best mama (or daddy) you can be is important. Our children deserve us working at this. But we shouldn’t get so caught up in it that we start to doubt our abilities as parents. We shouldn’t feel like a failure for needing to step away for a moment, or for not getting the bed made, or the dishes done. We shouldn’t feel like a failure if we do things differently – as long as they are with the best intentions, aren’t harming anyone, and work for you and your family – go for it and be proud of the parent you are!
So get out there and be honest about this experience – the good and the tough. And be supportive of other mamas and daddies. This isn’t a competition! And in the spirit of support, what’s the best moment you’ve had with a fellow parent? What did they say/do that made an impact on you? How have you paid that forward?