How do you even begin to talk about the seismic shift that occurs when you become a parent? Everyone told me that my life would change after having a baby but I didn’t think that I would change so drastically. Let me preface this whole post by saying that I’m not an expert in anything. There’s are approximately 5.5 gazillion “mummy blogs” out there and this just happens to be another one.
I recently posted on a Facebook group that I’m in (which is amazing in and of itself as I’m a hermit even online). I asked whether the old adage “sleep when baby sleeps” was something that most mums abided by or whether it was just another little idealist remark such as “get all the sleep you can while pregnant!”
I received a pretty overwhelming response that was damn humbling. Over 350 women took time out of their day to reply back with messages of encouragement. What spurred on my question was my constant struggle with my perception of “normal”.
See, I follow a lot of women on social media, mostly on Youtube and Facebook. I see carefully curated DITL’s* and gushing, raw posts on Facebook about motherhood. I’m wondering what is expected of me from society. The mums I see running about in activewear in my neighbourhood, are they the majority? Is this what real people do? Should my 4-month-old baby be enrolled in both Mums n Bubs pilates and yoga or is that overkill?
Going right back to what I said earlier about seismic shifts; I was NEVER a social person. Since having my daughter, almost immediately that “mummy guilt” threw my calender planning into overdrive for fear of stunting her development with my perpetual sloth. Every day is accounted for, which frankly is both a blessing and a curse**. How do you find a balance between doing too much and too little? I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got an “easy baby” and most days I can take her out into the world with no struggle for either of us. Then I wonder are we doing too much? I feel the pressure to interact with the mum’s group I met through the CHN, to make those friendships that’ll last the years. I feel I have to keep reading the latest baby or parenting article as though absorbing it will elevate my status to “good mum”. Every morning I get a pang of guilt if I don’t feel like going out for a walk, as it’s touted as the best thing ever for both bonding, maintaining mental clarity and of course “losing the baby weight” (which is an entire other post).
Through social media I’ve also learned that there’s another group of mums entirely, the “bad mums” who reject the outdated ideal of the Stepford Wife trope, embrace their messy houses, debunk parenting myths and sometimes perpetuate mummy wine culture.
But where the hell do I fit it? Only since becoming a mother did I learn I have SO MANY OPINIONS. It’s good to know where you stand on subjects that are important to you but there’s got to be some give. It’s a basic societal directive “You don’t have to agree with everyone”. And that is my current struggle, finding my ~tribe~ whilst remaining open-minded and simultaneously respecting my values. Does that sound tiring because it feels tiring?
So that’s where I am. Where are you?
This Anxious Mum
*Day In The Life videos, something I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams actually making as I don’t think there’s much of a market for 14 minutes of condensed footage of a kettle boiling/nappy changes
**I’m well aware of the first-world-problemness of it all, don’t worry 🙂