It has dawned on me lately that as a new mother there are a lot of things that have changed for me.
I’m not talking about all the things that I knew were coming – my time is not my own, I am not my top concern any more…
The thing that has been smacking me in the face these past few days is that, as a mother and as my own woman, I will be judged for everything I do, every decision I make. I will never be safe from others’ opinions. I can’t even pretend any more.
In the past there were things I shied away from sharing with people because I was afraid of judgment, but it’s harder to do that with a baby.
People see me preparing formula for her, they see me changing her diaper, they see the way I let her play, they see how I hold her and how I speak to her.
People see that I dress my baby girl in blue and don’t think twice when people call her ‘him.’ They’re going to see that I forgot to take her hat to the arena last week, or that I left her socks off when we ran around yesterday.
They’re going to wonder how my daughter is going to handle growing up with a mom that has tattoos and doesn’t wear make-up or high heels very often.
People are going to know that I’ve gone back to work and put her in daycare. They’re going to know that I want to go back – that I want something that’s mine, that I want to be in a place where I can have intelligent conversations about things that I care about and that I am of the opinion that an unhappy mother means an unhappy family.
Every move I make will be the wrong one in some one’s opinion, and some of them will say it out loud, if not necessarily directly to me. People will make off the cuff remarks not realizing that they are making me feel judged, and I know that I will do the same thing, inadvertently.
Though I try my best to listen and learn from all the mothers I’m meeting, I know that my comments can sound as hurtful to them as theirs can to me – without any of us meaning harm.
As a mother I am defensive, mostly because I only do what seems right and I am terrified that I will unknowingly make the wrong choice. Anything I do could hurt my kid and maybe other moms know better than me, but maybe we just all have different kids.