Community in Mommy-hood

How fortunate my family is to have a great community of friends and family who contributed to my mental health in the last weeks when I posted I Have Lied to You. I received phone calls, comments, and texts to share that I was not alone, that these feelings were common for every mom, and that these feelings were only temporary. These past few weeks have taught me that isolation is the enemy and community is however you make it.

There’s a common trend during the Coronavirus of 2020 that many of us feel like we are so very alone. And the demands of both children and work at home are disproportionately affecting women (sources: NPR & CBS Sunday Morning). It’s a trend that women felt acutely and almost immediately. It’s just taking the rest of the world to listen to moms screaming out in frustration for help.

As I am learning, these feelings among mothers are not new. Covid has only made the inequities more blatantly obvious with the numbers of women leaving the workspace at a ratio of 4:1 to their father counterparts. That’s garbage.

In regards to this being nothing new? Women have been creating communities of motherhood since the dawn of time:

  • It takes a village
  • Church groups
  • Mommy groups on social media
  • Mommy exercise groups like Stroller Strides
  • Mommies reaching out to other Mommies to pass on toys/clothes/stuff their baby has outgrown

I felt like I had absolutely nobody in my Mommy circle. Covid made it so:

  • I was not going to church
  • I couldn’t see my friends and family like I normally would
  • I didn’t search for any local or community-oriented groups
  • I didn’t use the resources I potentially had around me

Thank you to the Mommies who reached out to me in my isolation. Thank you to the Mommies who DM’d me, who commented on my posts, who texted me, or even the Mommies who read my thoughts and say to themselves ‘yep, I’ve been there, Mama.’ You don’t need to reach out to me to be a part of our Mommy Community. Just hearing me by reading these posts in enough.

Here’s a sample of the kind of response I received from Mommies just like us:

It really doesn’t get easier but you learn and adapt and rise up to the task. Many many nights I sat rocking and humming to a screaming baby in tears myself.

Arlene

I remember all of this….I hear you. I know where you are. One day you’ll wake up and realize that your baby can sleep through the night, because neither of you woke up with her…. The “heart bursting, rainbows and unicorns” early motherhood is just not everyone’s reality and that’s ok.

Corrine

See? I’m still a Mama. I can even still be a good Mama while not feeling joy and even hating the crap parts of motherhood. The total realness of “it really doesn’t get easier” actually allows me to stop trying to make fetch happen. Stop trying to make it easier on myself. Stop looking for the ways to “process improve” motherhood. Some phases of Ellie’s life will feel like ‘rainbows and unicorns’ and some won’t because all of us Mommies are different.

Modern parenting in America places completely unreasonable expectations on the nuclear family unit…. Why can’t I do this???? Simply put, we weren’t ever meant to.

KB

It’s not supposed to be this hard. I learned this from parenting in isolation away from resources and friends for many years…. Families were not meant to be nuclear…. It will make you a better parent not to go it alone!

Janessa

Isolation. There’s a great interpretation of the Bible creation stories by John Milton in Book 8 of Paradise Lost. He looks at how many times God says “and it was good” and focuses on the first time God says something is not good.

God said, “it is not good for Man to be alone.”

So after all that good stuff that God creates and says, “yeah, that was gooooooood,” God sees that he has created that Adam guy and says, “eine Minute Bitte. This Adam dude needs others. Being alone is NOT good.”

Therefore, isolation has as much significance to our Christian mythology as Pandora’s Hope has to Greek mythology. There is something intrinsic to our humanity in our quest to interpret our feelings while in isolation and our feelings of hope. Enough to create entire stories around those feelings.

The good news is that it is temporary and as your baby starts to show more personality, sleep through the night, etc., it becomes way more fun. And you start to get more slivers of your old self back when you can have some time to yourself or as a couple without the baby.

Allison

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day… is reminding myself “Everything is Temporary”.

Andrea

Nothing lasts. “/Everything is only for now/” says the finale of Avenue Q. This can be a sad realization (such as in last week’s Babies Don’t Keep poem). This can also be a “when you’re going through hell, keep going” version of the Winston Churchill quote. Just because things suck right now, they won’t stay this way – like it or not.

You are both being the best moms you can be in any given moment…. You learn what your new level of awesomeness is.

Erin

Mental health is so important, and I find it linked to health more and more. I see you modeling a healthy way to manage … for Ellie.

Kristin

Your pep talk is absolutely correct! It does get better even though it’s hard to believe…

Diana

We aren’t alone. We never have been. I think it’s easy to forget that we aren’t alone while working at Motherhood. I think it’s almost impossible to remember while in lockdown from Covid-19. I don’t think that makes us unique. With new babies, there is a tendency to cocoon to try to figure things out. That’s normal, but there is a bad side to it. We start to feel like we are the only ones who hate parts of parenthood. We don’t talk about it (like infertility or loss or other taboo topics).

Therefore, it is imperative that we spend our time seeking community, creating community, fighting our isolation both now and beyond the world-changing virus of 2020. Thank you for those of you helping me and my family within this created Mommy Community.

Published by @electrickduckdesigns

Eight days into motherhood, I needed a place to be myself again. Follow me as I grow into this new role.

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