Transitioning into motherhood was more difficult than I’d expected. The greatest challenge came not so much in mothering, per se, but dealing with other young moms.
Prior to being a mom, I’d been plugged in with colleagues and a community. This was my place and these were my people. It was comfortable and reliable. I knew my stuff and enjoyed a good challenge.
No one warned me about how things would change once I left the workplace. I had to start over, essentially, and I wasn’t prepared. I was too busy figuring out what was wrong with my child. She cried and didn’t sleep through the night.
Right. Normal stuff. But, no one told me that. Based on the playground chatter, everyone else’s child had been sleeping through the night since he or she was four-days-old.
Motherhood is a new playground with new rules and new stuff. The competition's fierce, complicated, and messy. You’re tired. Tired and worn to the bare. I wasn’t prepared for the isolation.
But, as in the wild, it’s survival of the fittest. The playground’s brutal. I get flashbacks every time I drive past a jungle gym:
See her over there?
Yeah. She’s new.
Heels and skinny jeans. Three o’clock and headed this way.
Oh, good grief.
And just like that, it’s a scene from Animal Planet, and I’m the limping gazelle.
Confidence plastered, I assure myself. Shades on, coffee in hand. I’ve totally got this.
“What a sweetie,” she says.
The other one asks, “Is she sleeping through the night?”
And, then, the barrage: Do you work? Still breastfeeding? Oh, bottles. Huh. Back or tummy? Don't you just love being home? Trying for another? Walking yet? So, are you thinking 3-year-old preschool ?
I think to myself, She's 7 months old.
Run. For the love of mercy, just run!
Thinking back on those years, I shudder. Please don't say "playdate.” It scares me. Maybe your experience was, is, or will be different, but for me those "young mom years" rank as the toughest. The loneliest. We're all so vulnerable because we’re swimming in unchartered, frightening, exhausting territory. No one knows the answers.
But, we don't say that. We revert and launch into middle-school, hierarchy mode. The leader, the led, and the outcast. We're just older and push strollers.
This isn’t okay. These attitudes are driven by pride and motivated by selfishness. We know our Father. We know it’s all about grace. Our Savior drew in, comforted, and encouraged. He found no satisfaction in isolating or cutting. And we are called to be His reflections on earth.
We moms need each other. We need honesty, humility, and courage to come alongside, be quiet, and invite each other to breathe Him in our presence. We must quiet our pride and open ourselves to receive and express His words.
Let’s revamp the playground, moms.
Let’s open to His mercy and grace, and let it flow freely through ourselves spilling onto others around us. It’s holy work we’re engaged in. Let’s refuse the devil territory and claim the playground in the name of Jesus.
Word of the Day:
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up … (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Prayer: Father, you know my heart. You know my pride and failings. You know my insecurities and shortcomings. Forgive me. Fill me with Your Spirit that I may spill Your grace to those around me. Quiet my mouth and let Your words flow. Encourage me, Father, as I seek to do Your will right where you’ve placed me, so I might encourage others. .In Christ's Name, Amen.
Author: Melissa Bronson