Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chords

Wow. Friends. I am overwhelmed by the responses that I have gotten over the last day on yesterday's post. It was an attempt to fulfill my resolution this year about blogging better, and more authentically. And I guess it did just that. It seems to have really stuck a chord with many of you, in fact it struck many different chords.

Parenting is without a doubt the hardest, most challenging and yet most rewarding and crazy amazing job I have ever had. I am sure that most of you would agree. There is just no other ride quite like it - and I don't mean that at all to say that other jobs aren't as fulfilling - just in a different way.

We all have good days and bad days, and ups and downs. This thing is a roller coaster and we are on a ride. I think as moms (and dads) today we have so much additional pressure that we wouldn't have had before the extreme impact of social media. 



If the bad days didn't exist, we wouldn't be able 
to relate to funnies like this, am I right?


On one hand, I am so glad for the social media experience, because it opens up venues for us to honestly share our experiences and emotions with others - we know we are in it together! And I cannot imagine not being able to Google random stuff going on with my children. Yes, you take everything on the inter webs with a grain of salt (or I hope you do!), but isn't it reassuring to have someone else's similar experiences at hand? Within seconds?

But on the other hand,  all this instant technology spawns social comparison that is just not healthy for anyone. When I was chatting with my friend, Dr. Lisa, about yesterday's post she said, "Funny how women do SO MUCH social comparison...and that it ends up hurting us all really." It's so, so true.

It didn't use to exist, all the media pressure that can make us feel like we are failing as mothers - we're not, by the way - and maybe it was better that you couldn't see the Google results for the 80,000 diseases the symptoms in your children might be. 

One of my own dear friends laughingly admitted to me that in the midst of the night when her own dear newborn babe would not go to sleep, and she hadn't gotten any solid sleep in days, and she was having a rough night - this photo of mine put her into tears. 



My baby was peacefully asleep in his bassinet - why wouldn't hers go to sleep?! As I laughed with her about the recollection I let her know, yes, this was a true moment in time, but 20 minutes after that? My baby was up, crying, ready to eat and be cuddled, just like everyone else's baby.

The simple truth is just as I said yesterday. Mothering is hard. That's why it spawns a hundred posts, just like this one, or this one, or this one
{If you don't have time to read those posts, here are some favorite quotes from them - 
"Of course there are plenty of amazing, beautiful, transformative moments--but those generally take place when you are on the toilet by yourself. The rest of it is messy, both physically and emotionally. You will survive it, but it will not always be pretty. THIS IS NORMAL." - How to Be the Perfect Parent in 5 Easy Steps (or Probably Never) 
"First Born likes Elmo.  Second Born likes Grover.  Daddy likes Oscar The Grouch (because he reminds him of mommy).  Mommy hates the whole lot of them.  How many days in a given month will Mommy have to endure the parade of high-pitched, forced jocularity that is Sesame Street?" - Forget the SAT, LSAT, and GMAT– Take My Parenting Test 
"I might need a break because I want to use the bathroom without someone watching me, or without worrying what might be happening downstairs and yelling, “Mommy is almost done! Are you guys okay?” " - I Need a Break... }
We all have hard moments, tough days and challenging weeks. Most of our experiences are totally normal and sometimes others fall somewhere along a spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The last thing that I would ever want to do is "equate[s] PPD to the baby blues when they're not at all the same thing" (tons of great links on that one, btw) or even equating either of those to just an overwhelming day. But we should all know what is considered normal "new mom stress" and what isn't, and not to sweep any serious feelings under the rug.

Last year, I wrote a post about Mentally Healthy Mommies - because there were things that I had never heard about in all of my prenatal (or perinatal, for that matter) care. The world of social media opened my eyes to things like Post Partum Anxiety, and Weaning Related Depression. 

Just today, I saw this post on Dysphoric Milk Ejection ReflexHormones can do a LOT to your body, so let's recognize that. If you ever feel like things are spinning beyond your control, do not be afraid or ashamed to seek the appropriate help. 

We are all going through stuff, and everyone has a million and a half different dressers in their lives - parents or not. Life is hard.


People process those stressors in different ways, and the best thing we can do is be supportive. I process through writing about both the good and the bad, the easy and the tough, the serious and the funny. My biggest hope has always been that my processing can help. Help start a conversation, a thought, or just help.

Thanks for allowing me to process. Life is different with two, and we are all in transition. Even if no one else had read that post, it allowed me to get those feelings out and move on with my day. But you did, you did read it, and offered your support. 

So this I offer to all of you, please remember that no matter what is going on, "You're still you".



Evelyn Rae is 20 months old, Liam is 6 weeks old

...and this post was written while breastfeeding a few times, being spit up upon, stopping a toddler from eating crayons, and enjoying my morning coffee, baby giggles and coos, and that same toddler's pride in her artwork.

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