Mothers try their very best to appear to be in control of their lives. They are warriors confronting all the challenges of their new role and showing confidence in spite of insecurity. They deal with contradictions and manifest skills and capabilities they never ever thought possible. They try to breastfeed as if they had been doing it forever, and reassure everyone that they “have everything under control.” Moms are negotiators, peace-makers, cooks, and counselors. They can create a reasonably edible dinner out of 3 ingredients and single handedly perform 7 complex tasks at once. Four hours’ sleep? No problem!
From the outside, it all looks so easy and efficient. Moms however often hide true feelings of frustration for their baby and sit awake at night writing imaginary letters to their baby, apologizing for all the mistakes they make in a typical day. “Everything’s going to be alright,” is their mantra. It is amazing how moms come up with innovative ways to cope with the most bizarre and embarrassing situations. They become crisis management experts and constantly deal with inexplicable baby crying and often unexplainable toddler bad behavior. To the world, family and even partners, they are the manifestation of grace and reassurance.
They know however who really understands what’s on their mind and that is another mom. So, when two moms get together, what do they really talk about? We reached out to our Medela Facebook community and asked our 15,000 members this question. Their answers were refreshing and, well, to be honest, somewhat predictable. Are you discussing any of these topics with your other mom friends?
Keeping a Sense of Humor and Perspective
When moms get together with other moms, the true depth of emotion released in being a mother surfaces and conversations get very close to the heart. They reveal insecurities, fears, worries and concerns. And yes, talking about funny, awkward and often embarrassing things that their children have done recently helps to keep things in perspective.
Sharing Embarrassing Stories
Moms like to share funny kid stories that didn’t seem so funny at the time. Children have no filters and do and say the most incredible things. Whether it’s an embarrassing moment in a department store or a comment blurted out full volume in a quiet café, moms tell each other these stories with a kind of affection. She will say things like “Ah, Isabella was so cute when she yelled out “Mommy why do dogs poop?” Somehow these stories and events seem less dramatic and embarrassing when shared with another mom. Most young kids have no social charms (until moms teach them their please and thank you’s) and that is what makes our own children excruciatingly amazing and amusing!
Discussing Common Challenges
Several women commented that the theme of their conversations with other moms often settles on how on earth to find time to shower with a baby and a toddler. Or how to go the bathroom with the door closed for longer than 3 seconds. Mothers look to each other for creative ideas and in many ways sharing the challenge and plotting ways to relax by going to the shops alone for one hour on a Tuesday is almost as good as enjoying a spa day in Bali. Common challenges are reduced in intensity when you know you aren’t the only one experiencing them.
Multitasking with a Large Family
If a mom has been an independent woman or lived alone or with just a partner for many years before having a baby, even 3 people is a large family. However, many women have 2 or 3 children, so often conversations between moms focus on simple survival skills. They talk about getting babies to sleep and logistically managing the household tasks and school events, doctor visits, food shopping – the whole psychological profile of multitasking without burning out. This is where conversations with other moms really help. Tips and tricks for shortcutting complex problems and making the most out of a little is a big conversation starter. Recipes, where to buy baby equipment, which breast pump or feeding solution to buy, what accessories really matter are top of the list. Single or double pumping and exclusive breast pumping are also topics moms discuss.
Establishing Sleep Routines and Getting Babies to Sleep
Many moms talk about the most stressful part of being a mom – sleep and the lack of it in the first few months. There is no normal when it comes to baby sleeping habits but unless a mother is very lucky, sleep deprivation is a common theme for one to one conversations. Even though this is an expected outcome of bringing a child into the world, moms often love to share the unusual and irrational sleeping habits of little ones and how one mother said, “we talk about our babies’ sleep going wacko suddenly around 4-5 months”. Can you relate?
Sharing Personal Breastfeeding Experiences
Every mother’s breastfeeding experience is different and a lot of the conversations between moms focus on the most efficient breastfeeding positions. There is no end to the creativity that mothers come up with for remaining as close to horizontal while breastfeeding. They also discuss solutions for dry cracked nipples and the breastfeeding products that they use to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Sharing does help and you will find lots of conversations on the Medela Breastfeeding Tips site.
Moms laugh together, cry together and hold each other up. They reassure one another that making mistakes is all part of the experience and that everything really IS going to be ok. There is a sweet kindness and solid bond created between new moms and this may explain why so many mothers end up being friends for life.