I find myself actually laughing out loud sometimes when I think back to the things I thought I’d had figured out prior to having kids. We’ve all been there, right; the hypothetical lines in the sand we promised never to cross when becoming a parent? I’ll never let my children scream in a store I’d think to myself while casting a disparaging gaze at the mom whose child had decided the toy isle was the perfect place for a full-blown tantrum of epic proportions.Or There is no way I’ll use food as an incentive I’d often think when watching a mom’s frantic search for a mere cracker from the bowels of her handbag just to buy herself another 5 precious minutes in the car, sans outburst. And never, ever would I be caught dead subjecting others to a screaming child at a restaurant I’d say to myself when witnessing a mom ignore the repetitive wailing of her toddler while she finishes her glass of chardonnay over lunch with a friend. How terribly uncouth… What kind of parenting is that?
Fast-forward several years later while I’m shhh-ing an infant at the table of one of our favorite restaurants while beyond my better judgement, conceding to yet another slice of bread just to appease my 2 1/5 year-old so that mommy can feel like a human being who sometimes leaves the house and on even rarer occasions, wears something other than yoga pants. And it was in this moment that it struck me— and I pledged never again to judge another mother’s adaptive behavior. Do we always make the choices we’d theoretically make when given the option? No, of course not! But that’s just not how things play out in real life. We’re often left choosing from a subset of options that range from bad to worse, and out of necessity, we choose the one that creates the least amount of conflict for all parties involved. Motherhood ain’t always what you make it out to be in your mind, especially when you’re looking from the outside, in. It both exceeds and undermines your expectations, giving way to the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming moments you could ever imagine. It’s better and harder. It’s more exhausting and more fulfilling. It’s more damning and more rewarding. It’s an intoxicating love that’s not for the faint of heart.
And this, ladies, is why you need your tribe, your people, your inner circle of comrades. The old saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is truly not that far off the mark. We need to feel that there’s an outlet for us to discuss, vent, and share stories of the craziness that is motherhood. It’s important to feel normal and validated, and beyond all else, we need to know that there are others out there going through the same trials and tribulations that are part and parcel with being a parent. Let’s be honest: how many times have you encountered another mom whose child is also throwing a tantrum while at the grocery story, only to give her the I-know-it-happens-to-all-of-us-look-lets-hope-wine-is-on-your-list look, and all of the sudden, you immediately you feel slightly better? That’s the power of a mother’s relatability. That’s the power of a tribe.
[bctt tweet=”And this, ladies, is why you need your tribe, your people, your inner circle of comrades. #losethecape #motherhood” username=”losethecape”]
One of the most poignant things I’ve learned about being a mom, is that those who appear the happiest, are the ones who actually ask for help, that delegate out responsibilities, and rely on their support systems for social and emotional support. And contrary to popular belief, trying to do it all is simply impossible, leading only to the grave feelings of inadequacy due to unrealistic expectations. It’s downright counterproductive. Motherhood is so all-consuming, that we can’t possibly be expected to do it all, so let us all simply stop trying.
The good news, is that I’ve seen a dramatic shift within the last few years from the outdated, unrealistic vantage point that moms should in fact, assume all the responsibility —and with a perfectly poised smile to boot — giving way to a much more authentic idea of what parenting actually looks like, normalizing the conversation towards a more attainable happiness. So whether it be for an emotional pickup, physical help, or a much-needed mental break, call upon your tribe, your family, your network of supporters to help you to weather the storm. And like my mom always reminds me: there’s absolutely no medal at the end of the day for attempting to do it all on your own, rather, the outcome just further perpetuates an impractical notion that we all know to be false. Embrace the imperfections, accept offers of help, and live and parent in accordance to what makes you and your family intrinsically happy. Everything else can wait…except your 3 year old who needs to GO NOW!
Karsson Hevia is a mother to two little dudes working as a Content Writer, Blogger & Social Media Strategist in the Bay Area (while maintaining her deep Midwest roots). Karsson writes about the excruciatingly beautiful juxtaposition of motherhood and her continual desire to find the so-called balance of life on her blog: 2ManyOpenTabs.