Bromance, chillax, frenemy, mamcoaster and now momfession, I love smushing 2 words together. I named the blog mamacoaster after all. I found out that those kind of words are called portmanteau words. Guys, click the link and find out more about portmanteau words... Who knew? Thank you, Oxford Dictionary.
Back to my momfession. So I signed up for mommy and me yoga last Friday. When I was pregnant, this is just the type of thing I always planned on doing with my baby. Yet when postpartum depression came knocking and I felt like I couldn't get out of bed, the thought of going to a yoga class with Mary Clare seemed like it would never be possible. So going to this class was a huge step for me as a mom.
I arrived right on time, rolled out my mat, chatted with the other moms and proudly held my happy little baby on my hip. Class started and I laid Mary Clare down on the mat. She was cooing and giggling and smiling. "Wow look at me" I thought to myself, "I am such a superstar." A few other babies were fussing but not mine! Then I looked over and saw a few of the moms nursing their babies. They were comforting their babies in a way I couldn't anymore. It looked so natural and beautiful. I felt some uncomfortable feelings course through my body.
Guilt. Jealousy. Shame.
I quickly ignored that and tried to focus on my yoga pose. After about 10 minutes, Mary Clare started to fuss but I thought, "no big deal, I've got this." I popped a paci in her mouth but no dice, she spit it out and began to scream. I frantically grabbed her bottle and stuffed it in her mouth, she wasn't interested. I walked, I bounced, I shushed but she kept crying. I looked at the other mom's nursing and I felt like such a failure.
"See, you can't even soothe your baby like these other moms...and all because you didn't WANT to breastfeed anymore."
The instructor came over to me and kindly gave me some pointers. This was even more embarrassing to me. "Uh oh," I thought, "these women are going to realize I am a total imposter. I'm not a good mother, I'm faking it. I'm just not mom enough." Then all the women had their babies laying on their chests but my baby had no interest in me at all. She was screaming and wouldn't settle down. I felt like crap about myself but we made our way through the rest of the class. I plastered on that fake smile I was using far more regularly back in October, thanked the instructor and as quickly as possible without looking too crazy... I got the F outta there. What a bust! What an idiot! What a failure!
On the drive home, it occurred to me that I was being really shitty to myself. I was judging myself, hard, and demanding way too much of myself and of Mary Clare. The truth is, Mary Clare was tired. She needed her evening cat nap and we weren't home. ((I hate to type this and put it out in the universe in fear of jinxing myself but...)) She's a good sleeper. She's an independent baby who likes her crib. I don't expect I will need to sleep train her, maybe for overnight waking but she goes down for naps and at nighttime easily. I am so lucky in this regard. She has such a laid-back temperament. Plus I was taught to put her down while still awake when she was only 3 weeks old. The baby nurse practically forbid me to rock her to sleep. This has paid off in spades. I have a baby who soothes herself and is good at putting herself to sleep. These are things I should be thrilled with yet I somehow found a way to turn it into something negative. In yoga, in that moment, I felt like my baby didn't need me or I wasn't good enough for her. This isn't true but it sure felt that way.
I think that no matter how good we have it, us moms seem to find a way to judge and shame ourselves. Somehow, we think we are not "mom enough" if we do this or don't do that. So I have to remind myself that I wouldn't be this hard on anyone else. I have to give myself a break. I am doing my very best and honestly, that's more than enough.
I need to be sure that Im calling out that judgey voice inside that seems to think I am not "mom enough." If I call it out, the judgment loses it's power over me and I can be kinder to myself. I hope you will remind yourself today that you are more than enough, in fact to someone quite small, you are just about everything.