I am feeling great this Monday morning because I finally roped in Suchitra a.k.a. The PhD Mama (@ThePhDMama) to write a guest post for Mixed Bag. Imagine my excitement when she agreed, because when a published author of three books (click here to see her work), a super-mom of two (she really is, I’ve seen her in action) and a prolific blogger writes a guest post for your blog, clapping hands in glee is a natural reaction!
The PhD Mama is her space where she writes about her adventures raising multicultural children. She contributes to The Huffington Post and she has been named among the Top 100 Mommy bloggers by BabySpot, Canada. Read her post, you’ll know why!
So without further ado, over to you, Suchitra!
Once you become a mother and, in fact, since the time you announce you are having a baby, regardless of how, you gain membership into an elite members-only club. There are some rules but mostly, you have a free reign on how and to what extent you choose to follow them. Your initiation process begins by been-there-done-that moms who just short of handing you pamphlets on what or what not to do as a new mom, are always ready to volunteer advice from their own experiences.
This can turn sour real soon depending on who is giving the advice, your own attitude toward actively seeking or receiving unsolicited “words of wisdom”, the manner in which that wisdom is communicated, your professional experiences that may have made you a theoretic expert (e.g., OB doctors, pediatric nurses, medical librarians), and so on.
Depending on your own approach, you may or may not actually want anything to do with that sisterhood. Regardless, it is seldom your choice. You are just automatically inducted into the club once you become a mother (or father or primary caregiver, but I’ll stick to mother).
Members are known to flood new members with advice, instructions, and guides on how-tos. And how not-tos.
Members are known to judge every parenting/mothering decision you make.
Members are known to wear a sanctimonious air and believe in their ways being the best.
Members are known to undermine your confidence and abilities as a mom.
Members are known to know better than you about everything and at all times, no matter the situation.
Members are known to believe that their own cherub is better than your child/children on their best behavior on any day.
For everyone who has had their share of interactions with such members, there are others – other members of this sisterhood. This second kind are the kind of members you should be hanging out with. These…
Members will offer you advice only and if you solicit them.
Members will be there to hold you, comfort you, and simply listen to you if that’s what you need.
Members will let you rant away without judging you because they too have been there.
Members will understand when you reveal that you sometimes can’t stand the idea of being in the same room as your husband and kids
Members will also understand that you love your husband and kids so much that you hate yourself for ever saying that you didn’t want to be in the same room as them.
Members will let you scream into their pillow when you just need a release and won’t send you the dry-cleaning bill.
Members will not judge your indulgence of chocolate or wine. Heck, they’ll bring you a box and a bottle every time they visit you or you visit them.
Members will volunteer to take your child/children away for a while just so you can get a break.
Members will go grocery shopping for you or bring you food or cake when you just don’t have the energy to do anything yourself.
Members will tell you that you look good even when you feel your crappiest and they genuinely mean it or even if they don’t, they are so good at pretending that you believe them and honestly, I will take good pretense over meanness any day.
Members will do things for you even when you don’t realize you needed them done in the first place (e.g., hold the door for you, play with your older child while you tend to your other child).
There are many other ways these members show you they care because they know you are doing your best everyday, that you may feel all alone in your parenting journey and that sometimes all you need is a hug, and that only you know your child and that no one else except the people you choose have a say in how you raise her/him/them. Their appreciation for you in everything you do and don’t as a mother and as a human is not based on any selfish motivation but based on the fact that they are or have been in your shoes – perhaps a different brand of shoes but when newly worn, they pinched just as much.
I have been truly fortunate to have gained membership into this latter club of members. Just some of the things other moms have done for me –
It was another mom who tied my shoelaces when I was wearing my baby girl and couldn’t bend to tie them myself.
It was another mom who tried to calm my older kid who was about to go into tantrum mode when my baby was crying at the same time and needed more of my attention.
It was another mom who helped me frantically look for a library book that my son had brought in from home to the library and lost before officially returning it.
It was another mom who watched my son and my baby who was in her stroller at the time that, that other mom and I looked for the lost library book in the library.
It was another mom who held my baby while I strapped on the Ergobaby.
It was another mom who brought me food on the day I was having a really tough time managing my son, being 36 weeks pregnant, and the husband was out of town.
It was another mom who helped my son reach the basket where I had asked him to put the musical instruments that had gone into my baby’s mouth when I was busy with the baby on the class floor.
It was another mom who held my hand, comforted me, and stood by me and promised me her unconditional support no matter what decision I was to make regarding breastfeeding vs. formula.
It was another mom/s who understood what I was going through as a mother-in-progress and wrote to tell me her own struggle with yelling. Even more moms have helped me put things in perspective, suggested strategies that worked for them, and definitely made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
To all those moms and to the sisterhood of moms that believes in being there for other moms in the spirit of community, a larger family, and a village, thank you. I might have started on this journey of motherhood alone but I definitely don’t feel lonely.