Swirling Around In The Mom Toilet (or: Dammit girl! Put on some pants, and go get some friends!)
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Being a new mom is hard. You don't realize how hard it is until you do it yourself. All those jokes about whole weeks spent wearing the same yoga pants and smelling like spit-up and crying into your decaf coffee (because your baby stays up all night when you drink regular and it infects your boob-juice with caffeine.) Those aren't jokes. That shit is real.
And for some weird reason, when you do it the second time over, people think you've got it all figured out. Like, "Hey, you've mommed before. You know what's up. You're practically a pro!" Whaaaaaaat? No, you're not! You still have no idea what you're doing.
All it means, when you've already had a baby before and you're doing it again, is that now you have ANOTHER KID at home with you all the time. It does not make you an expert. All it does is make you busier and more sleep-deprived. So the baby that cries a lot at 4 am and craps up their back into their own hair and randomly decides not to sleep for 3 days at a time? Well now, in addition to that baby, you also have another kid (who was there first) that needs you all the time. Another kid that needs a whole bunch of your attention and energy, along with an endless supply of snacks they're going to feed to the dog, and drinks they're going to spill on the carpet.
And that other kid? (The one you made first) They probably won't take their naps at the same time as the baby, so you'll never get a minute's peace. And they'll probably have days when they need A LOT of your time and attention and affection (because who doesn't have those days?) So you'll wring yourself dry trying to meet the needs of two little people with opposing sleep schedules and varying levels of non-communication. And whatever you have to give, some days it won't be enough.
Plus, there's the fact that whatever your first kid is like, your second kid won't be anything like that at all. For real. First kid spoke early? Second kid won't say a word until they're almost four. First kid loves playing outside? Second kid hates grass and cries every time they touch it. First kid took hour long naps? Second kid gives up sleeping for lent at 6 months of age and NEVER RESUMES THE HABIT!
So when people tell you you'll be fine, don't believe them. It's a lie we tell ourselves so we don't pack our bags and run screaming into the night. (Ha ha… no seriously.)
If you're anything like I was, you'll probably find that your second baby presents you with a whole new world of challenges that you couldn't begin to imagine when you were dealing with that first baby. And that's where other moms come in.
When my second daughter was about 6 months old, my already fragile mind cracked open like an egg, and I watched the last scraps of my sanity ooze away like a broken yolk. It wasn't pretty. I felt like I was drowning. Swirling around in the mom toilet my little world had become. Complete with lots of poop. I needed friends, and emotional support, and people who understood what I was going through. I needed other moms. (I just didn't know it yet...)
I called my sister (the one who has kids) and ugly-cried on the phone to her about how sad and lonely I was. It was pretty pathetic. And she told me I needed to take a shower and put on some clean pants and join a mom group. Which I totally didn't want to do because it sounded LAME.
I wanted to dig my skinny teenage body out of the closet, dust it off, and take it clubbing. (Even although I never really liked clubbing). I wanted to go to the bar and not have to care about anyone else's needs (I never really liked the bar very much either, but go figure.) I wanted to be a different person with a different life and the ability to look down and see my own toes. I did not want to join a mom group.
So I took a shower and put on some pants and arrived the next Tuesday morning at my sister's mom group. And those ladies saved my life. They welcomed me and validated me and made me feel like a person. They were kind and understanding, and exactly what I needed at that time.
These are some of the moms I met in that group and I loved them all! They were magnificent human beings, and I totally stole these pictures of them off Facebook. Because I can (I hope...).
I made friends there that I will treasure for the rest of my life. But more than that, I was able to surround myself with people who knew exactly what my life was like in that season. People without kids just don't get it. No offense to those folks who aren't parents, but it's like anything else in life - battling cancer, adopting a rescue pet, writing your doctorate, becoming a parent - they're all things you can only really understand when you've viewed the experience from the inside.
And life is wild. So you're going to need friends you can talk to who won't judge you and will understand where you're at, even if what you're going through is unique to you. We cried and laughed and ate our way through all kinds of issues in that group - Autism, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, suicidal teens, unfaithful husbands, and all sorts of other mama-drama. And I doubt I could have done it as well, or as fiercely, without them.
The point here is this: don't try to deal with all that momming-nonsense alone. Get yourself some friends. And make sure they're friends that get it. Go get yourself some moms. Because you're going to need some ladies who understand why you have to leave early because nap time is currently under construction. Friends who won't think less of you because you look like you're supporting a three-year crack habit on account of your adorable little munchkin who refuses to sleep for more than TWO. HOURS. AT. A. TIME! Friends who won't judge when you pop your boob out on their sofa, or talk about your vagina, or cry about a book that you've been reading for eight months that you're afraid you'll never have a chance to finish.
Those kind of friends.
Because I shit you not, no one else is going to understand. And what you desperately need right now is someone who understands. You might think that what you need is more wine, or a solid night of sleep, or another life. (And who could blame you!) Sure, those things would be lovely. But what you really need is mom friends. So go get some. Those chicks will save your life.
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