Someone close to me had her first baby a few weeks after I had my third (under 3). It occurred to me that at one point in my mama journey I would have thought: she does not know how easy she has it. Lately, though I’ve found myself reflecting on the fact that I don’t want any first-time mom to ever look at me and wonder why she feels like she’s drowning with 1 baby while I’m surviving with 3.
I had an “easy” first baby and being a first-time mom was the hardest thing I had done. Today when I have the opportunity to have one-on-one time with any of my littles I luxuriate in how peaceful it is. But that doesn’t change my past experiences when being responsible for just one tiny human often felt impossible. I’ve stopped telling myself I had it so easy back then and instead accepted that what feels easy now doesn’t negate what felt hard then.
I can relate to many different kinds of moms. I’ve been a mom of one little, a mom of 2 under 2, and a mom of 3 under 3. I’ve been a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve been a pregnant mom caring for babies and toddlers. I’ve been a breastfeeding mom, a pumping mom, and a formula-feeding mom. I feel fairly qualified when I declare: it’s all hard.
It’s All Hard
“Hard” is not a finite concept.
For my struggles to be “really hard” everyone else’s doesn’t have to be “less hard” to make up for it. Invalidating the feelings of other moms doesn’t actually make me feel any better, gain me anything, or change what another mom is experiencing. I don’t hold the monopoly on hard and just because my motherhood experience may look like it should be more difficult than someone else’s doesn’t make their struggles any less valid.
Accepting this reality has changed how I treat myself as a mother and how I treat other moms. I’ve tried to stop focusing on how hard I have it and started focusing on how to thrive where I’m at.
I’ve tried to stop focusing on how other moms’ experiences were easier or harder than mine and started looking for ways I can support other moms. I don’t want to judge other moms for how full or empty their plates are or how they look from my perspective. Instead, I try to validate other mom’s feelings. Can you join me in that? “Yes, what you are walking through is hard. How can I help?”
Being a mom is hard enough without comparing yourself to other moms!
Lauren is a stay-at-home mom of 3 littles–Eliza (3), Nora (1), and Benjamin (2 mos.) living in Marshalltown. She spends a lot of time filling sippy cups, changing diapers, and refereeing toddler cuddle sessions turned wrestling matches. While she (usually) doesn’t mind any of those things, she truly loves crafting solo or with the toddlers, playing board games with her husband, and going on any adventure. She survives in a fairly constant state of chaos with the help of an endless amount of lists. You can find her chronicling her life and offering encouragement, survival tips, and realism on Instagram @raisinglittlecyclones.