I’m going to embrace genuine humility here and say it: I’m doing great.
I say this not because I’m not tired and not because things are smooth and not because I’ve managed the best routine and structure and patterns and meals for my family. Because I haven’t. I say this because I am doing it. I am freaking doing it. My pace, my way, mine.
Here’s the thing about motherhood. No, here’s the thing about being a woman: we are encouraged for being minimized, sacrificing quietly, and plowing and fighting through silently. Victory seems to be those who have managed to endure the difficult seasons and stay quiet about it. It’s just how it is for women, right?
In a world of comparisons and blaming and entitlements and competitions, we almost want to stay quiet about our struggles and our accomplishments, lest someone else jumps in with something worse or something better.
“My baby only slept 5 hours last night”
“Oh? Wait until you have 2”.
“My baby starting eating solids today!”
“Oh good for you! Mine started two months ago, let me know if you need advice.”
The essence of these quick retorts is that we take so little time to honor and validate ourselves, we look for moments to do it in dialogue with others. To remind ourselves that our struggles are as big as we believe them to be and our victories are as awesome as we want them to be. We only seem to embrace that when it’s in comparison to someone else. But the more I hear these quips boomeranging back at me, the more I feel that dry itching coughing feeling in my throat to give one of these responses back to others. The more minimized I feel, the more I feel justified and maximized (is that a legit term) in doing it to others.
Instead I want to take more moments to validate my sleepy nights whether someone else got less sleep than me or not. I want to celebrate the milestones – whether they are early, on time, or going at a special pace my baby is adapting to – each step of the way. I don’t want to mentally debate who has it harder – a working mom or a stay at home mom. I don’t want to be panicked by the idea that if I can barely endure life with one child, that I won’t ever be able to manage 2, or 3, or 8 (just kidding honey – maybe).
And when I can stop doing that… I can validate your sleepy night. I can empathize, not patronize, whatever wall you have bumped into. I can cheer and toast your milestones instead of feeling bitter that your milestone seems faster than mine or gleeful that mine is faster than yours.
Because I’m doing it. It’s hard and it’s at my pace, but I’m doing it. And I’m doing great.