Purposeful Parent Tip: Having a REAL support system is critical for parents.
I have met a lot of moms over the course of the past three years due to my baby gift business, Frittabello. And here’s what I have found. Despite the oodles of online channels that are available to connect all of us, moms are more disconnected than ever. Yes, we share lots of things online, but those real, true, face-to-face connections are disappearing.
You might disagree and note that because of the Internet, a new mom can get immediate answers and expertise on how to properly swaddle her newborn or soothe a tummy-ache at 3:00 a.m. and I would agree with you. The amount of information available today for moms is unfathomable – even from just a few years ago. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest posts abound and yes, many are successful in bringing moms together…virtually, but here’s what I have seen.
Despite the boatloads of information and online “support”, moms (and dads too) are struggling…daily. They struggle with their parenting skills, the economy, work-life balance, and the ever-rising bar on how to be a good parent. With the continual barrage in the media about celebrities losing their baby weight in 8 hours after birth (ok, an exaggeration but you get my point) to parenting experts claiming that some new approach is the best, parents are in a continual whiplash of how to cope and in their overwhelm, they retreat.
I see guilt on mother’s faces when they feel they are not doing enough for their child, spouse, and family. I see lack of self-care as they put everyone else’s need first. I see overwhelm for those who are trying to balance career and home. I see loneliness as they attempt to navigate their parenting journey.
Here’s what I don’t see. Joy. Happiness. Acceptance. Peace. I don’t see moms enjoying being a parent. After the newborn “honeymoon stage” is over, reality sets in as sleepless nights and endless diaper changes begin. Wait a minute…is this what I signed up for?
You might be saying that there are lots of moms out there who are happy and balanced and at peace. I’m sure there are – and I do see one or two from time to time. Ok. That’s just not true. I see moms wanting you to THINK that they are in this blissful state, but the eyes are the window to the soul and I can always tell when someone is not being truthful.
These moms want you to think that all is well and that they are perfectly fine but in reality, they are quietly suffering, but won’t admit if for fear of being judged an unfit mother. They don’t want anyone to know that yes, they did let their child ‘cry it out’ so they could get some sleep or they did forget to buckle their child in their car seat because they had 100 things on their mind that day. Or, they did sit alone in the dark night after night wondering how they would manage to get through another day.
Maybe this isn’t the majority. Maybe it’s even the minority and I’m off base. But I’ve met and spoken to hundreds of women and with only an exception or two, most are as I described. While I’m no statistician, I do know that a small sample can depict the entire population.
Are you one of them? Are you secretly portraying an “all is well” persona when you are crying inside and need help? If you refer to my very rudimentary research, you are not alone. I’ll bet if you dared to open up to another mom about your struggles, she’d be relieved to find out there was someone just like her. But this takes courage and letting go of your ego so that you can begin to share your struggles and get real support from other moms just like you.
Instead of posting updates on Facebook, meet another mom for coffee and have a real conversation. Share your troubles and your joys. Build your live person support network so that when you do have those not so great days, you can pick up the phone, call a friend, and say, “I need help.”
That loving friend who answered your call for help is so much better than the latest Twitter post on how to be a better parent.
Go on. Pick up the phone right now.