I just posted the following status update on my Facebook page:
Here is what I wish someone had said to me when I was a new mother:
Parenthood is, without question, the hardest thing you will ever do. It will kick your a** every single day, in a hundred different ways. Learning how to take care of a baby is important, but you also need to learn new ways to take care of yourself. Figure out how to get sleep. Find family members and friends (old and new) who will support you emotionally and materially. Most importantly, practice cutting yourself some slack. Learn how to laugh and let go. Otherwise, you’ll go insane.
I’ve been a mother for almost 5 years, and I still struggle with every single one of these things. And yes, I do feel a little insane most days.
The comments popping up are absolutely amazing. Folks of all different ages and stages of parenting are sharing their stories of feeling overwhelmed by newborns and confused by teens. Perhaps most touching, though, is the way in which complete strangers are offering support to each other. These individuals may have nothing in common–perhaps they would never be friends in real life–but in this virtual moment, they are finding compassion for each other, and hopefully, a little compassion for themselves.
As for me, I’m siting on my couch, with my beloved cat by my side and tears streaming down my face. I’m crying from exhaustion (I slept poorly last night) and anxiety (What the hell am I going to feed my kids tonight? How am I going to get all of my work done?), but mostly gratitude for my community, both in real life and online, that keeps me smiling and laughing when parenting feels so hard.
The only way we can get through all of this is together.