Being a mom is hard. Actually, let me correct that, being a human is hard. Even before becoming a mom, I had plenty of ups and down in life. Life is hard no matter where you are, who you are and what your background is. Sure, there are some ways that things can be made easier, but no one lives a charmed life. However, being a mom feels even more trying because you often feel alone.
I don’t know what it is that’s so lonely about motherhood – maybe it the sleep deprivation, or the weird things your baby or partner does that you think can’t be normal and you must the only one experiencing. Maybe it’s all the weird comments or visuals we see on TV or online – those picture perfect moments where moms and babies just coo at each other and everyone looks happy and well rested, with perfect hair and clean clothes. Instead, so many women struggle with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and painful loneliness. This is why we all need support networks.
Mine is varied, and absolutely wonderful. I have an amazing mixture of friends and family who help me in very different ways. Some can simply swoop in, scoop Harley up in their arms and let me have a few moments to myself. Others let me vent my frustrations and irritations, often offering coffee or wine or both. And some completely ignore the motherhood part, treating me like they always have and letting me feel like I’m still myself, even after Harley has arrived. Of course, some are a combination of all those things.
It’s not just a nice to have, it’s absolutely vital. I wonder sometimes about how people cope without close friends or family. It’s not that family is above all right – I’m estranged from my father, and while that sometimes makes me sad, I also know that after what he’s put me through for the past… decade? 13 years? Even if we were to get back in touch, I simply wouldn’t rely on him, wouldn’t agree with his advice, wouldn’t include him in my support network. But whether your network is composed of mostly family or mostly friends, we all need each other. We need that person who can watch our animals when we go away, who can listen at the end of a hard day, who can make us laugh at the darkest moments and make everything okay again.
And while my husband and I are close and can talk about just about anything, we still both need friends. I need the ladies in my life with whom I can share the womanly or motherly stories, I need those people who can share my outrage, who can encourage me when I feel down, and who can make me feel heard. We are all trapeze artists, swinging and flying as best as we can through life, but there still needs to be someone on the other end to reach out their arms and catch us, or a net below us when we fall.