This post was really hard for me to write this morning; I could feel my head pounding and a knot in my stomach while I wrote it. I ran it by a friend before posting to make sure I stuck to my intentions of processing the issue, learning from it, helping other moms, and moving on. I certainly had my own part in the story. I’m still not very good about speaking up for myself. I’m sure a lot of moms feel that way at times.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with as a mom is not being valued by others as a mom who has lots of little ones. Even though I have a 16 year old son and I’m 44, I’m still in the season of physical labor, lots of supervision, and very little time to myself. As an introvert who needs alone time to recharge, I’m already running on empty a lot of days which is why my time spent running and writing is so important to me.
At the same time, I’ve found myself needing more adult interaction as I get older. Relationships are important to me. It takes face time to build relationships. Talking to other adults during school pickup with little ones hanging on me or causing issues with bigger kids makes it that much more difficult to talk without interruption. More difficult to have “adult” conversations. When my mom treated me to a haircut last week and hung out with me, I loved our mother/daughter time together without the kids.
Blogging didn’t start out as a way of connecting with other moms, but it turned into one. When I first started blogging in 2007, my goal was to have a central place to share photos and stories of my family without deluging relatives’ email with pictures. Then, I started writing about other topics important to me, and today, I write and connect with moms via Facebook and Twitter, and in person at local workshops and conferences. We still talk about mom stuff, and we have conversations about other topics. My brain is fully engaged.
Unfortunately, I don’t find that engagement in real life with many of my family relationships. I do have an intellectual, adult relationship with my mom and sister which we’ve all worked on over the years, and I value it so much. We share books we’ve read, we visit museums together, we occasionally go out to eat. However, that’s the exception rather than the rule.
This past weekend, we celebrated my niece’s graduation from high school with a big gathering of relatives. Shortly after the party, several of us got together to spend some time one on one while the kids played in a pool. At least that was my expectation. The reality was the other adults spent time talking together while I was stuck inside watching all the kids. While the afternoon started with chatting by the pool and watching the kids together, after lunch, everything changed.
To this day, I am still angry and hurt about the incident. None of the adults said anything to me about having social time outside after lunch. No one checked on their older kids to make sure they were jumping on my young kids. They simply left me and my niece alone with the kids in the pool for 1.5 hours. No one said anything to me when they came inside. They could see I was upset, and yet they ignored the situation for another 1.5 hours. Honestly, it was one of the worst 3 hours of my life to feel so ignored, abandoned, and marginalized by relatives. It’s 5 days later, and no one has asked me anything about Monday afternoon.
As a mom, my 1st responsibility is the care and safety of my kids. I have to make my choices of what to do and how and when to socialize based on where my kids will be and what they’re doing. I felt my need to watch my kids at the pool wasn’t recognized and valued by the other adults present. Moms of little ones have to be physically present with their kids when there’s a pool. Even with me present, my 4 year old slipped and fell on the floor while running away from an older child grabbing at him. He needs me to be there to scoop him up.
Please recognize that moms of littles have a hunger to socialize too, though our options are limited when we have our children with us. Be considerate and accommodate yourself to their needs. Recognize their value as another adult. Offer them a hand if they appear to be struggling with a door or a stroller. Help them feel like they aren’t alone as moms. Value them as a mom.
What lessons have you learned about being a mom?
Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to: