I’m going to be honest here for a second: I have no clue what I’m doing.
Did I just say that? Yep– big confession there. I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to being a mom. I’m learning day by day just like tons of other first time moms (and even moms of multiples, because we know that every kid is different). It’s like that scene from the office where Michael Scott says this:
That’s parenting. Google is my best friend and my worst enemy. When I’m freaking out over a weird cough that my little man has, Google gives me great advice about natural remedies for taking care of that. However, like a double edged sword, Google comes right back and suggests all of the wildly terrifying things that could be causing the cough. Cue mom brain freak out! Maybe that’s a little dramatic but that’s what happens, right?
I think there’s something a little deeper that we all need to admit though: no one knows what they’re doing. Sure, people write blogs and give good advice (I know that’s what we try to do), but we’re just going off of what we’ve experienced and what (by some miracle) worked for us. That by no means makes us experts. I think it’s easy to feel inferior with all of the mommy blogs and fabulous mom instagrammers– they seem like they have all of the answers AND a flawless wardrobe. But I try to remind myself that no one knows what they’re doing.
It seems to be true of life that once you think you’ve got something figured out, things change. You think you’ve got this whole sleep thing figured out and then BAM– sleep regression… just when you thought sleep was happening. You think you’re rocking your job and then BOOM– new way of filing paperwork is sent out in a memo… as soon as you mastered the old way.
Parenting is learning as you go, improvising when needed, and keeping your head above water when you think you’re in too deep. I say all of that to say this: We need to support each other more. We’re supposed to be living in this time where women are so supportive and aligned on so many issues, but many days it feels like we’re more divided than ever. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Co-sleeping or crib from day one? Stay at home or go back to work? Which one is better? If you really love your child, you’ll make the right choice.
Division when what we really need is support. We’re all aware that we don’t know what in the world we’re really doing, so why scrutinize the decisions of another mom who’s just trying her best?
How can YOU support other moms out there? Here are a few ideas…
First, support your working moms. One thing I like to do when a friend is going back to work after having a baby is send them a little note in the mail with a gift card to Starbucks or Chick-fil-a. A little pick me up to make their reintroduction to work a teeny bit easier. Leaving your little babe with someone else isn’t an easy task so don’t bash a mom for doing that. Instead, encourage them with a little bit of love.
Second, support your stay at home mommas. Running a household is a hard job and I’m sure those moms need a little break from time to time. Take a mom out of coffee (or bring some to her!). Offer to babysit while they run to Target for an hour or get some laundry done in peace. As moms, we’re a proud bunch and won’t ask for help, but we’ll gladly take it if you offer! (Truth: this works with the working moms, too!)
Last, be encouragers. Don’t spit advice at moms who are venting about their non-sleeping child or the difficulties with breastfeeding (unless they ask). Just nod your head and give a heartfelt “that sucks” as you listen. Tell your mom friends how awesome they are and give them all the praise.
Momming is hard in this time of social media and know-it-all mom bloggers. Just remember: None of us has a clue what’s going on and that’s ok. Hold your head up, mom.