Before I started my own blog, I read blogs. Lots of them. Since girlfriend never wanted to sleep and only ever wanted to nurse all hours of the night, mommy blogs were my rescue. I would giggle at the funny ones or feel relief when I read an authentic, let’s get real post. When I’d read about all the reasons someone else’s toddler was crying I’d die with laughter (quietly of course so as not to wake the nursing baby that was now drooling asleep on my boob). Then I’d read about another mom out there in the universe who also felt like the newborn stage was slowly killing her one second of non-sleep at a time and tears would stream down my face. I didn’t know these women. I’d never met them, but somehow their words saved me. They made it easier when times were hard and they gave me a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging in the make you feel every single fucking emotion rollercoaster ride of motherhood.
During that dark stage in my life I was inspired to create my own forum. A space where I could let the rollercoaster of motherhood live somewhere other than in my brain and hopefully reach some other mama out there desperately seeking belonging, even if just through silly words on a computer screen. And so Mrs. Mombie was born. It’s been an interesting experience being so vulnerable and open. I’m already a pretty open book, but most people out there don’t like to ask the hard questions. Life face to face is generally pretty surface level. How are you? I’m fine. The end. But writing doesn’t limit me, it allows me the freedom to be completely authentic and speak from the heart. Unfortunately, authenticity sometimes comes with a price and it’s called internet trolls. My stepmom likes to call it going down the rabbit hole. I’m talking about the comment section of any post and that shit is fucking scary.
I don’t remember experiencing internet trolls back in my days as just a reader, but now that I’ve joined the world of baring your soul on the internet, I pick up on the haters a lot easier. And actually it’s not even just the comment section, bloggers are getting harsher themselves. More defensive. Instead of writing from experience, it seems some posts are really just a passive aggressive way to say fuck you to some other mommy blogger out there that pissed them off. Don’t get me wrong, many a post has made me angry or defensive, but that’s also just being human. We all do that. Or feel it I should say. What I’ve come to realize though is a shift in the blogosphere that is ultimately tearing mothers apart instead of uniting us. Instead of creating a sense of belonging, we feel a need to compete. But in this competition there never seems to be a winner.
All of this got me to thinking about motherhood and the ways it defines us. Being a mother, just like any other part of our being, is one piece of ourselves that makes the rest whole. Every human is built with a unique set of roles that define everything they are and everything they do. If someone were to ask all the mothers in the world to define what motherhood is to her, the responses would be endless. Some similar to others, some drastically different from another. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is tranquil. Motherhood is a blessing. Motherhood is a job. Motherhood is a privilege. Motherhood is consuming. Motherhood is unexpected. Motherhood is overwhelming. Motherhood is fulfilling. You get the drift. And really I’m sure most mothers would agree, defining motherhood isn’t that simple. It changes over time. There are so many stages to navigate and I truly believe each step of the way transforms us is into someone completely different. One thing motherhood is not is stagnant.
My current struggle is with the ongoing battle us mothers are fighting. It’s a constant back and forth on what is “right” and who is doing it better. The more I think about it, the more I realize it is in fact a natural response. Most humans have an inherent sense to defend who they are so why would that be any different when the way we mother is put under the microscope. We will defend that and our children till the end of time, but like I said before, ultimately the longer this battle continues, the further apart we will feel. The lonelier our journey will become and the harder it will be to find our village. So I challenge all of us to think about our own definition and journey to and through motherhood and to recognize that while it may be drastically different from your neighbor, that doesn’t mean we aren’t also drastically the same. Instead of thinking of only one way of doing things, why not honor them all? It shouldn’t matter if a mother’s journey involves natural birth or cesarean birth. Or breast or bottle. Or cloth or disposable. Ultimately, birthing is birthing. Feeding is feeding. Diapering is diapering. They may look completely different, but they are mostly the same. Because no matter how many times we try to define it, mothering is mothering. And that’s a beautiful thing.