I’ve been thinking about this little corner of the internet for awhile now. About a year and a half to be exact, right around the time my daughter, Naomi, was born.
Motherhood is an extremely beautiful, heartwarming, humanizing, humbling, terrifying, paralyzing and awe inspiring experience. You get an up close and personal opportunity to see what you are and are not made of on a daily basis. Sometimes over and over and over and over and over again. You learn to adjust your definition of “wearable” and “enough sleep” and join a league of pioneers relearning how to approach their lives with a nifty filter that squarely knocks them (us) out of the center of the universe.
We’re all a part of Team Parenthood. We have matching caps and jerseys, show up to most of the same games… but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s much of a team.
There are a few reasons for this.
For one, here in North America new parents (and since women are generally the primary caregiver, notably moms) spend the vast majority of their time at home, alone with their beautiful babes. Most of us go from working in an office with daily adult human interaction and a regular scenery change (even if it is just the drive from home to office and back again) to sitting on the couch gazing/staring at a 7 1/2 lb ball of wonder. This complete lifestyle change would be a shock to anyone, let alone someone who hurts and leaks all over and whose hormonal composition has taken a torrential 180. In the (many, many) weeks it took Naomi and I to learn how to breastfeed I would find myself awkwardly slumped in the armchair in our front room for hours, staring out the window at a blossoming magnolia tree:
This sucks. I am lonely. I am hungry. I want to live in a yurt that is in a circle of other yurts where there are PEOPLE around. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Love her, but this kid is a terrible conversationalist. Yurts… internet connection would probably suck but at least I could go to the toilet without a babe in my lap…
Let me assure you, I have no interest in living in a yurt. But I had a lot of time on my hands and I stand by my observation: We aren’t meant to sit at home all day by ourselves with our babes. We need extra hands to help with bouncing and food serving and the just general support of a well-timed thumbs-up, “You’re doing great mamma! Keep it up! Don’t worry, you’re supposed to feel just a little bit crazy!” Being a part of Team Parenthood doesn’t feel like much of a team when you don’t see any of your team members. You can’t do a special handshake by yourself.
Team Parenthood also doesn’t necessarily get nominated for any Most Sportsmanlike awards. At times it’s a warzone where soothers and breastmilk and cribs stand in as the weapons and no one is declared winner. Tongues click at the sight of a bottle, eyes roll when a wrap is pulled out, lips purse when mom goes back to work. If we think about it we know that each and every one of us wants what is best for our kids… but we don’t think about it. Instead we focus on our own insecurities and pretend that the judgement we wear as a cloak is going to protect us from the fear of making the wrong decision for our babies.
And so momsunitingmoms.com (“m.u.m.”- neat, right?) is born.
Before momsunitingmoms.com I started a Facebook group for moms in my area with babes born in 2012. I wanted it to be a very specific group so that as our kids grew, we would have the chance to grow together as parents as well. Keeping the group very specific had the added benefit of keeping us honest and respectful- I figured if there was a high chance for us to run into each other on a regular basis there would be a low chance that “mommy warring” would occur. The “About” section stated as much:
This is a SAFE place to share your ideas and questions- some of us cosleep, some don’t, some of us work outside of the home, some are SAHMs… for all our differences 100% of us want the very best for our babes. This is a Judge-Free Zone.
And here we are. I’m not exactly sure what momsunitingmoms.com will develop into. A broader community? A broader conversation? Whatever comes of it I wish for you a community of support. I wish that when you look down at your beautiful babe and have a holy-crap-what-is-going-on moment you have a community of moms to turn to who will hold you for a minute while you get your druthers.
I also wish you a yurt. If you get one could you please invite me? I really want to check one of those things out…
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