I was “that” mom today.
The type of mom that society deems “unfit”. The mom that other moms whisper about behind her back. The mom who’s judged by others wondering if she should have been a parent at all.
I was “that” mom that stuck her baby in a crib to let him “cry it out”. I was that mom who put her baby in front of an iPad for 40 minutes because she needed a break. I was that mom that let her baby muddle around on the living room floor while she took a 10 minute break on Instagram. I was “that” mom.
So, I ask: Are you judging yet? Are you whispering under your breath, or rolling your eyes? Are you silently cheering yourself on for being a “better” mom than I am? Are you proud of yourself cause you’re not “that” mom?
It’s ok. You can judge. I judge me, too. But what you don’t see is why I did those things with my baby today. What you’ll probably never understand is how that “free time” or “me time” helped save me a little bit today; how I needed those ten minutes. And yes, maybe even 40.
What people don’t see, is this: I was having panic attacks all day while I was home alone with the baby. No one saw my internal struggle of trying to sooth my baby while I had my own tears dripping down my face. No one saw the mental torment that my mental illness was inflicting on me while I sat on the floor and cried while my baby fiddled with his toys on his playmate. No one watched as I paced the house, sweaty and hands shaking, while my baby screamed in the crib for “mama”. No one realizes while my baby was preoccupied with mumbling lullabies along with the iPad that I was in the bathroom, stomach sick and trying not to throw up. No one saw the mental and emotional torment I endured today.
No, others would only see that I was “that” mom.
A mom who has no extra help. A mom who doesn’t have relatives that live nearby that can take the baby for an hour or two. A mom who doesn’t have a babysitter or a nanny to help ease the burden of being a mom or housewife. A mom who doesn’t have a spouse who can just jump and leave his work on a dime. A mom who has a baby that doesn’t nap, ever, and has eight hours of playtime to fill in the run of the day instead of four hours. A mom who is suffering with not only postpartum depression, but PTSD and general anxiety as well – who beats herself up everyday for being a bad mom and comparing herself to the “perfect” moms she knows – You know the ones. The ones who are living their extra best lives on Instagram and act like parenting isn’t hard.
They don’t see a mom who wants to bang her head against the wall some days because she is struggling really hard to keep herself together. They don’t see a mom who doesn’t have anyone she can reach out to and ask “Help me.” They don’t see a mom that cries herself to sleep some night because she wanted to be a mom so bad, but she feels like she’s failing; she feels like she doesn’t deserve to be a mom.
So, she lets the baby scream in the crib. She lets the baby mindlessly watch the iPad. She let her baby muddle around on the floor. She’s “that” mom some days because she doesn’t have a choice. She has no other options. Because her pain is a heavy burden to carry. She has to suffer some days while also carrying for an infant. No matter how much she wants to mentally break, she has to “shove it down”, and push forward, without help. She’s “that” mom because she’s a mother, and she’s sick.
And she will do anything that works because her pain is hard to carry. Her pain is hard to show on the outside. And she will do everything she can to stop her baby from experiencing that pain, for as long as she can. Because someday the weight of the her burdens will fall to her child. Her child will watch while his mother suffers silently, so he’ll take the iPad and be quiet, because he’s a good boy, and he wants to help his mommy.
But, until that day comes, she will do whatever she can to survive; To parent, even on the days where all she wants to do is curl into bed and cry her heart out. Even on the days her anxiety is tearing her to pieces and all she feels is physical and mental pain. She’s “that” mom because she’s surviving. She’s “that” mom because she deserves to be that mom.
So, I ask again: Are you judging yet?
And as always,
Fight the good fight.