Before entering motherhood I had a preconceived notion of what was in store for me. According to my friends, parenthood was the most amazing thing one could ever experience, which is only partially true. Parenthood is quite rewarding, but it is also one of the most challenging tasks I have ever known.
When my first son was born I read every book published regarding newborns and how one should parent to have a happy, healthy baby. Of course, most of the information I attained was forgotten shortly after his birth, so once he arrived I felt like I was in another dimension. Where was this little angel everyone told me about? I thought there was supposed to be a honeymoon phase? As he grew older and more independent it became even harder. I found my patience being tested daily. There were times I lost my cool and then would wallow in the guilt. I hated raising my voice, putting him in time-out or hearing him cry. I often questioned if I was cut out for this new role I once was so excited to take on. I cried a lot and I judged myself.
In public, my friends raved about how their babies slept through the night, ate well and hardly ever cried. They bragged about how they couldn’t wait to have another one and that being a mother was so amazing. I, on the other hand, would just listen intently as I didn’t want to say what I was really thinking: My baby is a nightmare most of the time and apparently I’m not good at this mom thing.
On the verge of a Mommy breakdown, I turned to the Internet. I had struggled with trying to be the perfect mom long enough. It was time to dissolve that image and stop holding myself hostage. I couldn’t be the only one who struggled with managing these little minions, right? I started reading Mommy blogs and joined a few online parenting groups who shared their stories, gave advice and encouragement, but most importantly they told the truth. Parenting is difficult and unfortunately there are days you want a reset button. As much as you love your kids, there will be days you don’t like them too – and that’s normal. Having thousands of other parents at my disposable online was truly a lifesaver.
What women did before the Internet is beyond me. Whatever it was, I’m pretty sure there was a lot of wine involved. My advice to mothers, especially new ones, is don’t listen to your parents or friends if all they do is marvel in the greatness of parenthood. They are speaking through the rose-colored glasses of hindsight.
Parents tend to only remember the good times, which would explain why they are willing to have more children. Turn to your virtual friends for the real advice. It’s amazing how truthful people are when their computer screen conceals them. In this age of over-sharing the Internet will be your greatest resource and support system, be sure to take advantage of it.
I don’t know how I would have made it through the last three years if it weren’t for my virtual friends, blogs and parenting groups on Facebook. Throughout my journey they have made me laugh, helped me potty train, warned me about the normal behaviors of a toddler, but most importantly they made me realize – maybe I am not such a bad mom after all.
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