If you’re a mom hanging out on the interwebs recently, you’ve probably seen the recent TIME article about Motherhood. If you haven’t – treat yourself for a moment and take a read, because if you’re already on this site, you’re gonna like what you’re reading there (and you’ll feel way smarter reading from TIME than BoozyMommy).
Okay, you back with me?
The thing about this article that I find so relevant – is that exactly what she’s discussing there is the reason the BoozyMommy is even here! The fact that there are so many of us out there feeling judged and misunderstood because the Goddess myth is being shoved down our throats so heavily, and why? Motherhood is hard to get wrong, and more than that – how would you even know that you’re doing it wrong? Well – the short answer is that social media is doing its fair share of helping. When I scroll through my instagram feed amidst a pile of laundry in my leggings with my hair in a bun (or at least it was when the day started – now it’s living its own life somewhere on the side of my head), I see all kinds of moms: the snarky ones with memes about booze and needing some me time (double tap to my tribe), the #blessed ones where everyone is in perfectly pristine white, the budding bumpies (as I like to call them) sporting their mom glow looking serene AF cradling their perfect bellies that you wouldn’t know they had if they turned around, the hot mess express ones where their kids (in various states of dishevelment a la JK) are crying/picking noses/fighting/screaming/etc and mom (if pictured) is just out of focus hiding her sweats, and the fashionista moms who definitely have a child (according to their tag) but they also have their style game on point, etc etc. Like I could seriously just go on – because there are SO many different mom tribes/clubs/groups and each is VERY distinct.
But why? Why are we separating ourselves into these groups to fit some sort of ideal/standard? I remember being pregnant with JL and deciding against doing a maternity shoot because all of my pregnant friends who had done them before were in such great shape while pregnant that they actually looked like goddesses, and I felt I couldn’t compete. They had the perfect round belly and a beachside/meadow/field to frolic in while the sun shone on their gorgeously long pregnancy hair and their maxi dresses (or sheets or whatever) blew playfully behind them. My bump was a bit more lump, I chopped off most of my hair in month 5, and I could barely frolic through my baby shower, let alone a field. And now, of course, we all swap stories and texts about the same poop horrors and “normal or not?” inquiries. Because motherhood is actually the great equalizer. You just have to get there to recognize it.
I recently attended a friend’s baby shower, and she too could pull off this goddess thing. People oohed and aaahed at her looking so gorgeous (in heels!), and she did. But I also knew that she had carried a lot of anxiety about the fact that her perfect bump took it’s sweet time showing up. Of course, I was excited for her to show it off, but even she compared herself to her sister and her friends who had their bumps. What struck me as the most odd, is that this is a brilliant woman with multiple degrees (in medicine!) who was feeling out of place and unsure. (Note: I am aware that we are all insecure beings – I just am always stymied at how little credit we give ourselves. (and yes, pot meet kettle)) She felt this insecurity though because of the myth that has been thrust upon us all. That pregnancy comes in one form and it looks like xyz. Period. The end. No matter the fact that no two women can give you the same pregnancy story – we are all fed the same crock of crap. We google. We research. We study. We will be the best mothers and will pass the test! Except — motherhood isn’t a test (except of your patience). You can’t prepare yourself for motherhood because there is no class or book that can teach you what the correct response is because there is no one response. Some women have been “momming” their entire lives, and then it turns around and they find themselves crying on the bathroom floor dealing with post-partum depression when it comes to their own child. Some women abhor all children and then have their own and are transformed into a baby-wearing co-sleeping fiend. The point is, we don’t know what kind of mother we will be… we just “know” that we are getting it wrong.
The last paragraph of the article (can you tell that I really enjoyed it?) really resonated with me:
Motherhood in the connected era doesn’t have to be dominated by any myth. Social media can just as easily help celebrate our individual experience and create community through contrast. Moms have to stick together even as we walk our separate paths. We have to spot the templates and realize there are no templates. We have to talk about our failures and realize there are no failures.
We are failing without actually failing. We are following a non-existent path into uncharted territory. There isn’t any logical reason that we so inherently doubt ourselves, but we do. And we need to cut it out. Before I mentioned how we find our people, and I listed all the various mommy stereotypes I see on my social media… They may not define themselves the same way, and they may not share the same ideals or goals I do, but every single one of them gets the double tap/like because I’d have them in my #momtribe. Because every single one of them is living their truth as a mom, and that is really the only truth there is in motherhood.
And I’m so glad to have you “goddesses” in my tribe.