Don't get me wrong. I was (and still am) exceptionally grateful for the chance to be a Mom. Here is the thing, though. Being a mom is exhausting and challenging work and it is okay to acknowledge those challenges.
I spent the first year of my motherhood feeling isolated. I didn't share that my daughter wasn't a great sleeper. She fought sleep like it was her only mission. I didn't acknowledge my anxiety over my daughter's health issues and I definitely didn't share my challenges with the learning curve of becoming a Mom. I didn't want anyone's advice because it felt like judgement. I was scared to admit that motherhood was challenging. I was terrified of 'Mommy Wars'. I didn't want to have someone tell me that my way of parenting was horribly wrong.
Fast forward (almost) four years and I am here to tell you that you need your village. You need people who are going to nod in agreement when you express your exasperation. You need people who will laugh with you about the silly things your kids do. You need people who will say 'my kid does that too!'. (Seriously. That phrase lifts my soul. Every. Single. Time.)
I honestly don't know many people who engage in 'Mommy Wars'. No one parents exactly the same way. We are all in the trenches doing the best we can. Sure, I meet one of those 'know-it-all' moms (and dads!) every once in a while. Here's a little secret about that mom: she has parenting insecurities, too. I take those people with a grain of salt. I will choose connection over pretending to be perfect. Always.
Being a parent is easily the most vulnerable thing I have ever done in my life. Embrace the vulnerability. Embrace the discomfort. Lean on your girlfriends. Let them lean on you. Your village doesn't have to be huge. It just has to be present. I seriously have 3 girlfriends that I talk to the most about parenting. My village is tiny, but it has done miraculous things for my journey in motherhood.
Building a village can be tough, but it is essential. I have some tips to help you in your quest:
1.) Join a mom group. Libraries, churches, and community groups often host mom groups. Force yourself out of the house. It can be tough in those first few months, but do your best. Show up and meet people who are going through motherhood at the same time as you.
2.) Be supportive. This is the biggest thing. How people parent their children is up to them. How you parent your children is up to you. Barring anything extreme, it doesn't really matter if someone makes different decisions than you. It doesn't mean that they think what your doing is 'wrong'. It just means that they are doing thing differently. Different is not a big deal. I breastfeed and cloth diaper. I actually don't personally know anyone else who cloth diapers. I have plenty of friends who bottle their children. I am completely supportive of my friend's choices and they are supportive of mine.
3.) Be vulnerable. Admit that it's hard. Acknowledge that you have challenges. Everyone does. Vulnerability leads to connection. It takes courage, but it is worth it.
Don't go through motherhood in isolation. Your friendships are more important than ever. We weren't ever meant to go through it alone. Find your village, mama.