During this past week I had the pleasure of spending my Saturday afternoon enjoying a wonderful baby shower in honor of a couple who I have no doubt will be fantastic parents. Of course much of the shower was spent chatting and catching up with a few friends who I always find inspiring to be around. I was really grateful to have each of these ladies tell me how much they enjoy reading my posts and how interesting and inspiring they are finding my blog. It really meant a lot and always means a lot when anyone takes the time to let me know their thoughts and also that anyone would find time in their busy schedules to sit down and actually read what I am writing is just astounding to me. The most interesting or thought provoking statement that came up time and time again (and is something that many people have said or written to me most recently) is ” I don’t know how you do it, how you find the time, how you are dealing with all of this and you and your husband are just amazing and wonderful parents.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I genuinely appreciate all of these comments and thoughts but the honest truth is, I want to say to almost every single person that says those things to me……I don’t know how you do it either!
I have a lot of different types of friends – some are moms, some aren’t; some work full time, some work part-time and some work as stay at home moms; some have husbands who travel out of town every week, others are single moms, some have one child, others have four or more children. I have friends who live close to their family and others who live across the country with little to no extended support. I have a dear friend who has a 3 year old and two 1 year old twins and quite honestly just typing that statement makes me exhausted for her. My point in saying all of this is that we all have our own challenges, struggles and uphill battles to face and conquer and none of us really has it any easier than the other. I know so many women (and men – because I am lucky enough to know some pretty incredible and hands on dads like my husband and brother) who manage their roles beautifully and to be frank, in no way do I assume that our experience and the challenges we face as parents are really any more difficult than anyone else’s, they are simply different.
It is quite common to see articles everywhere about the “Mommy Wars” and there appears to a significant amount of opinions, advice and judgement surrounding how women (moms or not) choose to live their lives. If you don’t breastfeed you are evil (I tried, it didn’t go too well and I beat myself up for it plenty so I really don’t need anyone else to make me feel bad about it too). Stay at home moms judge and scorn working moms while working moms think those that stay home are unmotivated or boring. This whole “mommy war” thing is such a shame because if we all just realized that no situation is 100% perfect and that everyone is just trying to do what works best for them and their family than we could help and support each other without the need to judge or tear each other down.
I have been a full time working mom with multiple nannies who spent more time with my child than I did. I have traveled on business when my baby was only 4 months old. I have skipped meetings due to sick kids and I have managed our household while my husband traveled out of town. I have double checked to make sure there wasn’t vomit on my suit and participated in conference calls with attending speech therapy sessions for Charlie. At present, I am a stay at home mom and shockingly I am no less busy which is ironic. It is a different type of busy and it has its many benefits and some obvious drawbacks. I get to stay in yoga pants a lot and I have more time to spend with my children but sometimes that business lunch sounds quite appealing as I scarf down my Chobani yogurt or long to design a strategic plan for a client. My point is that each of us have struggles and challenges and highs and lows and regardless of your situation or status, I think we are all just trying to be our best and make it work.
The people I am surrounded by are just some of the best around – I have such an amazing group of female friends as well as strong female role models in my own mother and mother in law and I have the utmost respect for each of them yet they are all very different and live very different lives. It is without a shred of doubt that I can say that each and every single one of these woman would do everything I am doing and more for their children or a loved one if called to do so. We all have something – and we all step up and manage it. I am certainly no better or worse than anyone else, I just do what needs to be done because it is what is in the best interest of my child. And trust me, I am not a perfect mom – far from it. I put the kids to bed early sometimes because frankly I am tired and just need some peace and quiet. I yell, I get frustrated and I have a dance party in my car with NO KIDS on the way to girls night out. And I definitely drink too much wine and let the TV stay on a bit too long on some weekends.
So the bottom line is to all of those wonderfully supportive people who continually say that I have so much to deal with and handle and they have no idea how I do it…..well I feel the exact same way about you. Kudos to all of you for navigating your own path, handling your own challenges and continuing to just try to be your best every day. I am my own worst critic and I am sure you are the same, we all think everyone is doing it better than we are when in fact we are probably all really doing a great job or a pretty good job most of the time.