Becoming a mom is undeniably a gift. A blessing, that unfortunately many women cannot experience in their lives. However, after two kids each, me and my co-writer have come to the conclusion that – like one of the funniest mama writers out there would say – motherhood is the scariest hood. And because no one should ever navigate throughout a scary neighbourhood alone, we wanted to start this new parenting section on the blog with some tips for partners about what it feels like to be a mom.
Number one: breastfeeding sucks (the energy out of you)
Literally. Breastfeeding might be a great bonding moment; some women really enjoy it (count us out of that group please). But it can also feel like your child is sucking up all your energy. Which is already at its lowest by the way, given that you have brought life to this world. Honestly, do you guys even realize what that means?
That was a rhetorical question. I perfectly know men do not understand what it means to carry a little human for 9 months, bring it to life and then breastfeed it. Agreed, it is very hard to know what that means when you cannot experience it for yourself (even if, let’s be honest, you could try a little harder to understand). But I gave up on male empathy years ago already, and that’s why we are here on a mission to help you get it.
It means that you have to function at your best in order to ensure that the little monkey stays alive; but you have to do it with the lowest physical and emotional resources and very little help (hold on that thought please, becasue we’ll get there in the coming weeks!). This goes without mentioning the pressure our society is still putting on moms about breastfeeding. Yes, everyone is free to choose the feeding method they prefer. On paper. In reality though, all you get in most hospitals is judging looks whenever you choose not to breastfeed. And probably, the most judging look comes from your husband, who knows that with breastfeeding he will not risk to wake up in the middle of the night to handle a crying hungry baby.
When a mom chooses to breastfeed, first of all be proud of her! Because it’s a sacrifice. Another one, yes. Second of all, be supportive and understanding, especially when she loses her shit on you. Because she will, oh she will. It is just a matter of time. Finally, do not even dare thinking that if your woman decides not to breastfeed you are safer! The bottle is as tiring (only without the hormones), especially in the first months when the baby needs to get used to the day/night rythm. And no, the “natural mother instinct” excuse will not work here. We all have survival instincts and women and men should equally play on those to survive in the scariest hoods.
Number two: self-esteem is at its lowest (little lies welcomed!)
Of course, we can see them too. The hanging belly, the dark circles under the eyes… they are totally something we’d be better off, too. Especially when our lack of energy is already bringing our mood down. But hey – you can lie! Believe it or not, you are not the only ones who suffer from watching their sex life go away.
We understand, it’s hard, but where is the team spirit here? Please, do not hesitate to throw in a compliment every now and then. We are already doing the same anyways – even though YOUR hanging belly is due to a beer addition, honey. Couple goals!
Also, please. Do not guilt trip us when we always feel hungry. It is not something we can control (hormones again – and/or a little buddy who is sucking out our calories, sometimes literally or just metaphorically). So, there is no need to point that out really. Unless you wanna risk it coming back to you like a boomerang. You do not want mama to get angry at you, do you?
Number three: empathy is a luxury we cannot afford at all times
When you are constantly trying to understand and anticipate your baby’s needs, it becomes super hard to feel empathetic for another human being (aka hubbies, wifies, kids, and we’re not even talking about parents or in-laws if we’re “lucky” enough to have them around). A mom’s brain literally shuts down when she hears her baby crying – which, in case you had not noticed, happens quite often.
So I guess it is fair to say that moms are allowed to feel no empathy at all for some of your daily drama. Like when you are feeling overwhelmed because you have not peed for the past two hours. Did you know that moms can be so focused on putting the baby’s needs first, that they forget to pee for a whole day?! To be fair, I have also heard this pee story from a newly dad, who has immediately become my new hero for that! So I want to say that there are exceptions, yes. Nevertheless, as I feel we are talking to the larger crowd of “non-mind-readers” here, may I just insist on the fact that taking care of the laundry has never killed anyone?
I can see how you might think we are totally crazy. Society taught you that women are empathetic by nature, and it’s just so natural for them to be, that you can expect that kind of compassion every damn time. Well, my friends. IT’S A BIG LIE! But hey, we warned you right at the beginning of this post: motherhood is the scariest hood, and not just for mothers.
I hope we have scared you enough for today. This is the beginning of a long, rollercoaster journey, so I’d stay tuned for more if I were you. Fun awaits!