i had always hoped that when high school ended that the whole competition thing would end. i had hoped that there wouldnt be the comparison of "you did this? oh, well, alllow me to one up you."
apparently, i was blissfully ignorant to the world of grown up girls. i say girls because i want to show a difference between the girls i encounter and the women i call friends.
becoming a mother was (a defining moment in my life) but an utter blur. i remember very little about lily's infant moments and that hurts. i dont know why i dont remember...i just dont. i remember her first night home...how she cried and cried. how i had no help when it came to feeding her. i was uneducated and so was my husband. we were lost and i had no idea who to turn to. i ache when i think back to those days and what i know now. how i hope no one else will ever be as ignorant as we were. i needed help and i never even asked.
i didnt heed the advice or warnings of anyone. i was burnt out on well wishers and dooms dayers. you encounter a lot of both when you are very visably pregnant.
the second time around, after a loss, i took everyone's advice. i looked for help. i joined groups. i asked questions, i read books. there's no such thing as too much information. i read avidly on different facebook/internet groups of moms and moms to be....and it was there...in those "groups" i had joined that i was introduced to the dark, dark world of mommy hatred.
there are more cliques in mommy world than there are in high school. there's tons of resentment, judgement, smack talk, and so much passive aggressiveness that i truly felt like i had stumbled down a rabbit hole of hatred.
i thought that if you were a mom or a mom to be, that you would be supported- because as i learned the first time around, we ALL need some help...and there's always someone who is willing to give you advice.
but that isnt the case. if you use disposable diapers, you will be judged. if you are a stay at home mom, you will be judged. if you go back to work, you will be judged. if you (for whatever reason) formula feed, you will be judged. if you breast feed (extended-especially) you will be judged. if you breast feed privately only, you will be judged. if you dont feed solids until your baby is 1, you will be judged. if you use cow's milk after the age of 1, you will be judged. if you vaccinate, you will be judged. if you choose to circumsize your son, you will be judged. if you choose public school, you will be judged.
and not only judged...you will be harshly criticized. i read in disbelief the hurtful things these girls were writing. these strangers...who were answering an unknown mother's questions. this poor woman was being berated...and it just-kept-going.
it became a train wreck that i couldnt turn away from. i had to go back and read more. there were so many reasons for moms to hate other moms. i had no idea. i began to look at everyone differently. while i was standing in line at the grocery store, i would silently glance around at other women and wonder if everyone thought like that. is everyone really that hateful and judgemental?
i was guarded before...but now, i'm even more so. i dont trust girls. no matter how friendly they may seem, i keep my distance. i'm kind to everyone, but friends? eh...not so much. i've seen too much comparisons among moms. "oh your 12 month old isnt walking yet? mine was walking at 7 months...maybe there's something wrong with your kid."
i'm wrapped up in a world of home schooling, child rearing, trying to keep the house remotely clean, laundry, and teething babies.
i know friendships are important and it's not that i dont have time. i really dislike when people say those words. there's always time. to me, right now, there are just more important things to tend to that make me happy. maybe i'll make some friends...i'm just not actively searching or seeking them out.
i've learned a few things from these groups.
*dont judge anyone. everyone is walking their own path with their own problems. their choices affect you in no way whatsoever. show kindness and wish them well. sometimes people only need a smile or some friendly words to brighten their day
*every child develops at their own pace. you are the best judge of whether something is developmentally wrong with your child. i've learned that my kids are slow to come around. they are on the other end of the stick...eventually they hit milestones...in the mean time, i enjoy these baby days that dont last long and i dont force them to 'grow up'.
*treat everyone as you would want to be treated. maybe even go so far as to speak to others as if your grandma were sitting beside you. there's no need for meaness.
*give them support. they're on that site...asking for help because they feel lost and they are reaching out. even if you dont understand their situation, try to show support or even just keep your mouth shut.
it's rare that i frequent those sites anymore. i look occassionally...especially when i see potty training advice/picky eaters/feeding large families on a budget. and dont get me wrong, there are some great sites out there and what's even better is when they have great moderators that keep the meaness to a minimum.
bottom line: try to ask real people that you know the questions that you have. ask your mom, your grandma, your aunt, your sister (in law), your dad, your brother.
and even more important: have doctors in your life that you trust. i happen to have 2 extraordinarily awesome doctors in my life whom i trust whole heartedly.
i mean, honestly, who would you take sound advice from? a stranger on the internet, or the doctor whom you see on a regular basis? use your head here, folks...only one of them can actually make you feel better should you catch the flu.