Before I had any babies of my own I had it all figured out. I knew exactly how I was going to raise my kids. From breastfeeding to sleeping routines to dealing with family; I had it all figured out.
Like every parent before me I learned the hard way how to eat my words. The moment my first baby entered my life he shook all of those ideas right out of my head.
I was one of the first people in my social circle to have children. That left me the guinea pig. I didn’t have many recent parents to look to for guidance and reassurance. I was hoping for someone to turn to me and tell me it was all normal. Instead when I looked around for reassurance all I saw was the same lost look that I know I had in my eyes.
It was inevitable. My relationships with my friends changed. We were walking different paths and we struggled to relate to each other.
I desperately needed to find people who were living the same experience. I searched out other mothers and found new friends in unexpected places. I re-connected with friends I hadn’t seen in years because we were now bonded through new motherhood.
Fast forward 7 years and I no longer have babies. They have grown into little human beings; actual people with their own little personalities. Their own strengths and weaknesses. Their own demanding little schedules.
Many of my pre-baby friends are just beginning to grow their families and I ridiculously thought that once these friends started having their own babies our relationship would magically go back to the way it once was.
Yet again, I was wrong!
Fact is, though these friends have joined the parenting world, we still aren’t in the same stage. I no longer have babies. Diapers are a thing of the past for me and I don’t have to worry about warming bottles or scheduling around nap times.
My life now revolves around soccer practice, birthday parties and homework.
We are walking in the same direction but remain on different paths.
Truth is, I don’t know where we fit in each others lives anymore.
My heart has a hard time letting go of the judgement I faced when I was a new mother. Even though my head knows that judgment came from an innocent place where you think you have it all figured it out. Even though I was once that person who sat in judgment.
I don’t want to be that friend giving unsolicited advice but at the same time my instinct as a friend and as a mother is to offer a shoulder when I see another mother struggling.
I have been through the baby stage. Twice. Yet not all babies and not all mothers are the same. We have all chosen different ways of doing things. There is no right way, we are each just trying to figure out what is the best way for us.
Being the first to have babies came with so many unique struggles. I was on my own trying to work through those very overwhelming and confusing first years of parenthood. Yet somehow I made it to the other side. I am now facing very different challenges and overwhelming moments; I am entering a whole new territory and again I want to make sure that I have supportive people around me.
While I can’t go back and change the fact that I entered this journey alone, I can make sure that all the new parents in my life know they aren’t alone.
If I could send one message to all my new parent friends it would be to keep doing what you’re doing because you’re doing great!
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