“Is that normal?” was the first, second and probably third question I asked my pediatrician every time I walked into his office. Normal. Young moms are looking for normal but, in truth, we don’t know what it looks like. Enter the internet and Mom bloggers. My kids were born in the 1990s and my access to online information was limited in their early years. Had I been able to consult this tribe of supporters, I would have learned that “normal” looks like a lot of different things and that my kids were fine.
I would have loved to have been part of a global group of young mom bloggers sharing information, trying to make sense of the changes in their lives and bringing humor to the process. I could have used all three, perhaps humor the most.
Mom bloggers would have told me that the exhaustion I felt with three kids, age four and under, was not only normal, but inevitable. A quick consult with moms further along the parenting curve would have allowed me to see the light when stuck midway through a couple of dark tunnels.
When I lost the plot with my children, I might have believed that I was not a bad mother or a bad person and that there was even some value to my kids in learning what happens when you push someone too far.
Experienced mom bloggers would have pulled back the curtain and shown me that other mothers were not perfect, they just looked that way from the outside. Ditto, their kids.
We are all unavoidably products of our upbringing and reading widely (not just from the few bestsellers around at the time) about different parenting experiences would have loosened my enslavement to my own past.
I would have learned that I was not the only mother who sometimes found days with very young children to be dull and repetitive. And I might have realized that it was not forever. Over the course of my sons’ childhoods I have worked outside our home full-time, at home full-time and at home part-time. If I had known that life was going to have so many different stages I would not have panicked when I found myself in the wrong one.
I would have learned much earlier that the mess is worth the memories and you can get a new carpet but you can never rewind the tape.
Mom bloggers would have been able to help cover up some of my failings as a parent. With access to a myriad of mom and kid sites, my children might not have discovered that I am useless at baking or any other creative pursuit. I could have covered my tracks with brilliant ideas that I stole from clever bloggers.
I could have used advice on chicken pox, sibling fights, tween curfews and the best way to tour a college campus. But the good news is that I am pretty sure that someday I will be looking for advice on being the mother of the groom and, hopefully, on becoming a grandmother (starting with Grandma’s Briefs).
Even as my kids and I bid farewell to their childhood, I have found that the community of loving, caring moms and dads, reflecting deeply on how to be better parents, will travel right alongside me on this journey.