I'm new to mom world. I don't have that "scare the monsters away - pack school lunches - fight with a teenager - wine in a coffee cup soccer mom kind of experience yet. I have a 7 month old little boy. No pets, no other kids, just Owen. And sometimes I feel a little weird about talking about this subject because I feel so inexperienced compared to other moms. I feel like someone will read what I have to say and say "She's still new at this, she has no idea what else is ahead." And yeah, that's true. I really don't know what lies ahead. Will I walk through parenthood with grace? Or will I stumble through like a walk down Broadway at 2am? But I really need to stop getting in my own head and worrying about what other people think, ya know? Just because I don't have 4 kids and a minivan doesn't mean I don't have struggles of my own.
It's actually kind of ridiculous how much mom-shaming I've already experienced. I can't imagine what these mom's with multiple kids or an older child have gone through. I'm only 7 months in and I've already experienced more shaming than I'd like to admit. It's not always the blunt, rude comments either. Sometimes it's a rude look, or an eye roll at something I do in public. Once, John and I were even called "typical teen parents" for "using our child as a prop" all because we were taking a picture together while visiting daddy at work. I'm 26 years old. And yeah, I may look a lot younger than that, but that comment was so offensive in SO many ways. First of all, I have met some INCREDIBLE teen parents, so to use the phrase "typical teen parents" is extremely disrespectful. And second, since when are we using our children as "props" because we want to take a picture of them (or with them)? I take a ton of pictures, so I have definitely experienced the this-generation-is-ridiculous eye roll on more than once occasion when I whip out my iPhone in the middle of dinner or wherever I feel like taking a picture. I get it, some people don't feel like they need to capture EVERY moment through a lens, but if I feel like taking 27 photos of my child eating a lemon, or posing us in cute matching outfits WHO CARES.
I have to admit, I'm guilty of letting other people's opinions effect me when they shouldn't. When someone says something about you that isn't true, you don't have to let it hurt you, but when someone implies in ANY way that you are acting like a "bad mom" it feels different. Because for .02 seconds you think about what they said because that's how much you care about your child. I think as moms we are programmed to care what others think for a split second, because we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything perfect for our children. Sometimes we feel like we are being judged even when we're not, because truthfully we judge ourselves. We want to be perfect, but perfect doesn't exist. The best way to be perfect for our kids is to give them unconditional love and provide health and happiness in the best way we can. We're gonna fail sometimes. We're gonna get some things wrong. But we have to accept that in order to grow and be the best moms we can be. We need to support each other. Whether you have one baby (like me), or lots of kids, everyone struggles with something and every momma needs support.
I actually debated on posting this for quite awhile because I don't want to sound "preachy" about something that I've only been experiencing for 7 months, but then I thought, NO. I'm still a mom. I have had meltdowns. I have made strides. I have cried. I have smiled and laughed. I have grown. I have made mistakes. And I have learned lessons. I have still experienced something completely new, and I want other first time mommies to know that they are not alone in this roller coaster. It's not an easy job, but it's the BEST job. My life has changed and definitely strayed from the path I drew out my head, but God's plan was much better. He gave me the biggest blessing when He made me a mother. I'm thankful for a little baby boy that loves me even through the mistakes and still looks at me like a hero. You don't have to be "perfect on paper" to be perfect to your children.