Have you ever sat around a table of other moms, discussing sleep training methods or what your kids are eating and thought, "I would give anything for us to keep it a little bit more real. No filters, no holds bar. Let's talk about what motherhood is really like." Sometimes we are lucky enough to have another mom (or, if you're really lucky, moms) with whom you can lower the Perfect Mom mask. But, based on my conversation with countless parents, it seem like there's usually at least one thing they wish they heard from their mom friends.
The internet has, in my opinion, been the best and worst thing to happen to moms and motherhood in the last 20 years. Let's start with the bad news: self-selected social media have often portrayed only the aspects of motherhood that are "post-worthy." The relative anonymity of online culture, that enables people not to have to face the people they're interacting with, can often add fuel to "the Mommy Wars" and get everyone all riled up. A million websites can provide so much information, often contradictory, that we don't know what to think. Ugh.
Now for the good news: even if there's a lot of bad information at your fingertips, that doesn't change the fact that there is also a wealth of good information at your fingertips, too. Social media, overly-rosy though it may sometimes be, can provide a community for otherwise isolated moms (and a lot of moms can often be quiet isolated). And that same anonymity/reality barrier that emboldens obnoxious behavior can free people of the social restraints that make us hold our tongues in "polite conversation," usually due to a fear that we'll be judged. Sometimes those are just the things we all really want to hear. So I went to the internet to ask some of my mom friends what they want to hear from one another.
"'It's OK!' when having to cancel, no matter how last minute. It doesn't matter if it is one month in or five years in: the last thing you need on top of mom guilt is friend guilt. Sometimes putting on pants and leaving the house really is asking too much, and a friend who gets that is priceless."
"Something one of my best friends actually told me just last week when I messaged her weird questions: 'Fake friends talk about sex. Real friends talk about poop.' It made me laugh out loud. Best thing for a worried mommy."
That it's f*cking hard, and that's OK. You're not failing if you think it's hard.
"'Me too. Trust me, that's normal.' Like, for anything and everything."
"Nursing can be really hard and it might take a long time until you both learn what you are doing. And that's OK."
Most of us don't have it together. Screw Pinterest! You just do the best you can do and that will be enough.
"That the whole working versus stay-at-home mom thing is dumb and all of our middle class kids in the us are going to be spoiled as hell anyway, so instead of worrying about whether picking up my kid at 5:00 versus 5:30 will scar them for life, I should find a real problem — like how to save up money to hire a babysitter for as many girls' nights as possible."
"'I always love my child, but I don't always like my child.' I can't be the only one, right?"
I'm coming over to see the baby ... and I'm bringing a bottle of vodka.
"'Pretty much everyone pees a little when they sneeze.' I know it's true, I just want to hear it. In person!"
"I tell new moms not to lose their identity. I wish someone told me to not just be so-and-so's mom, but still know my own self, what I like, what I don't like, and do things for myself without guilt. Don't sell yourself short, you are doing a good job if you are trying your best. So take that weekend away or the trip to the grocery store alone and enjoy it."
"I didn't love my baby right away, either. But that doesn't mean I don't love them now or that I'm not a good mom."
"'I haven't done my dishes in a week.' Ahhh... judgement free friends!"
'Let's all agree not to worry about losing the baby weight.' Could we all make a pact?!
"Nobody is going to fit the cookie cutter idea of what makes a good mom and nobody actually wants to. It's just another way we're trained to judge one another."