Earlier this week I had a conversation with a friend about family dynamics and the challenge she was having with her boyfriend’s family expectations. He comes from a very traditional family where there are clear, defined and strong expectations for how one should live, work, spend money, spend (lots of) time with family, date, marry, have and raise children and much more. He is the first in his family to integrate more into western culture and date a western woman.
My sister is pregnant (yay!) and I’m getting to see this whole journey through her eyes. I’m the older sister so my instinct is to guide, protect and shelter her from hardships that I faced. And when you’re talking about pregnancy and early motherhood - there’s about a million! However I’m getting the internal memo very loud and clear that I need to back off and that this is her journey.
I have always loved complimenting people. I do it in the grocery store, at work, at happy hour...really wherever I am. I compliment their sweater, boots, jacket, hair style, jewelry, watch, whatever it is that I appreciate and think is interesting, beautiful and/or unique. I love the smile it brings to their face and the joy it brings them to feel acknowledged.
Let’s finally release the pressure we all put on ourselves and acknowledge that it is a false premise that we ever get anything ‘back’ after we have a baby (or go through any major life event for that matter). We never get our body back, our lives back, or relationships back. How can one get something ‘back’ when everything is new and different?
Sometimes I get down on myself, think I’m not in the shape I was pre-baby, I dress frumpy (thank God athleisure is a thing), I haven’t fixed my hair in months, my son is eating sand, those other toddlers his age aren’t eating sand, he’s fussy, those other toddlers are just sitting there contentedly playing, am I a bad mom, wait that kid is dressed totally sloppy, that mom just yelled at her kid, shouldn't that kid be out of diapers by now??
Motherhood is the most vulnerable time ever. You have been given charge of another helpless tiny weak human being. Their whole life is your responsibility. And you are doing this on little to no sleep, with likely little to no experience, and hormones ramped to the max. But you should be perfect. Or at least that’s the story you need to tell.