Mom chat on the beach

I met up with some summer cottage friends this weekend who both became moms recently – one has a 6 month old, the other a 2 month old. We chatted about birth stories, life, and our babies while Avery played in the sand and the other babies slept or cuddled on their moms. It was nice to be surrounded by other fresh moms. I felt like I was among kindred spirits, in a tight group who shared a common understanding of just how hard motherhood can be.

But then our differences in experience started to make itself known. One of the new moms (with the 6 month old) talked about how there’s so much free time with a baby – she had just been reading a good book while her baby laid next to her on the beach. She had been able to take up baking and had been making all kinds of bread. She takes care of herself, and has leisurely showers in the afternoon. The other mom, with the 2 month old, said her baby sleeps a lot, in his own room since birth, sometimes all night without even a single feeding.

I started to feel alienated. I tried to nod and pretend like I knew what they were talking about, but I’m not good at keeping feelings bottled up. I declared that I was so happy for them, but that wasn’t my experience at all. I told them I felt like the first 6 months almost killed me, that I sometimes went 5 days without showering. They were great about it and said that every baby is different, but I still felt like shit.

Was it me? Was it my baby? What was wrong with us to make our experience so hard (on both of us)?

The next day I saw the newest mother on the beach while Avery and I built sandcastles and dipped our toes in the water, thoroughly enjoying everything toddlerhood has to offer. She tried to tell me about her night and she broke down crying. Before I could offer her support, she left in a hurry, apologizing that she was just really emotional right now.

I felt for her – SO HARD. And I also felt better. Even if your baby sleeps well or will happily bounce in a bouncer for hours on end, motherhood is still hard. The emotions are always going to be intense. The responsibility crushing.

I suppose I feel fortunate that (I believe) the hardest is behind me. Sure, the tantrums in public places sometimes give me a run for my money now, but since those first 6 (maybe 12) months were so hard for me, it just keeps getting better and better and better. And I’m also fortunate that I have that group of moms who really get my experiences here in the blog world. With that, I can’t feel alone. 😉

8 thoughts on “Mom chat on the beach

  1. Ugh yes I understand that. For me it’s when other moms talk about wanting a second and I just flash back to those awful first six months. Then I wonder if I was just weak but no – she was just that hard. It’s not in our heads.

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  2. I think that everyone has their own part of motherhood that causes them to break. For some it’s the first six months or breastfeeding or sleep training. I think no matter how perfect a lot of women want to portray motherhood as, we all have our breaking points and there will be tears guaranteed. It’s hard to not compare experiences and wonder why our own is so different. For me, the toddler times are the hardest. It could be that I’m back at work and always exhausted from that, so dealing with toddler tantrums pushes me to the brink. But then yesterday I talked to a few other mothers of toddlers and none of them seemed to have the same issues. However, when our kids were babies, I was the one who was able to shower every day, slept semi-decently and didn’t have massive sleep deprivation like these mothers who are having an easy time with their toddlers. The one thing I do know though is that no matter when our most challenging parenthood moments happen, we are pretty tough frickin ladies to get through it!

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  3. This is not meant to sound negative or judgmental but my theory is that some moms choose to parent their children (e.g. stick to more natural and biologically friendly parenting- Breastfeeding, cosleeping) and other moms go for the modern convenience model of parenting. And most moms are someplace in between. I never had time to read with baby #1 because she never slept more than a few hours and I could not hold a book and nurse simultaneously. If I loaded her up on baby cereal or formula before bed, maybe it would have been easier for me. My point is that parenting and being available and present is exhausting at times. Any mom who verbally suggests parenting is easy or not time consuming is LYING, or maybe she has a nanny.

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  4. You are doing great! Don’t judge your experience against others. ❤️ p.s. I got a shower about every third day and was covered in breast milk and sweat for at least the first 4 months… not kidding. I was a hot mess, walked around top-less, and was very tired. 🤪

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  5. Every baby is different. Even with identical twins. But what you really saw was social media mom on day 1 and real mom on day 2. Social Media Mom is outsides only, Never compare that outside image to your inside one. You will go nuts. AND IT IS UNFAIR TO YOU.

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