Stop it. Please? Stop it!
Stop comparing your life to everyone else. Stop looking around and assuming that a woman of a different decade to you is rolling her eyes at you or looking at you smugly. Stop it if you happen to be one of the women rolling her eyes or being smug.
Stop assuming that your situation is harder than anyone else. Stop assuming that everyone, but you, fits into the cookie cutter mold of perfection. It doesn’t exist. Along with the assumption that that mother’s of young un’s are in their 30’s. In this era women are having babies younger and older.
No woman’s life is perfect. No decade of anyone’s life is perfect. Every age, every step in your journey will have it’s own unique challenges and rewards.
I am a woman and a mother, in my 40’s. I am the mother of two young children. I do not look down on 30, 20 something mom’s or even teen mom’s. I don’t look at it as the decade I lost myself. I don’t look at my 40’s as the holy grail and I am damn sure I’m not unique. Perhaps my 50’s will be the holy grail because right now, I’m anything but rested, I’m exhausted, as exhausted as all the 20, 30 something mom’s.
I don’t assume that women who have older children than me look at me smugly and you shouldn’t either. Rather look at it as commiseration because those women, they know what it’s like to raise a young child, how exhausting and all consuming it is. But they also know how difficult and challenging and worrisome it is to raise a teenager and to raise a child successfully to adulthood.
When you become a parent, you lose a part of yourself and I don’t believe you will ever get that part back again because that part you lost, it belongs to your children and parenting them, loving them, guiding them, worrying about them, that part of the parenting journey never ends. Irrespective of your age or your children’s age.
Sure, the sleepless nights and the potty training and the weaning and midnight nappy explosions are exhausting, but it’s one tiny portion of the total journey as a parent. And I’m pretty sure staying up and wondering if you teen is going to make curfew or stressing about your young adult child out for a night on the town, can and probably will be as exhausting. So stop.
Embrace each part of your unique journey, it is after all, your journey, unique to only you. Don’t compare. Don’t compete and don’t assume that you are always being judged. Perhaps then, when you look around, you may see a 20 something woman who longs to walk in your shoes, or a 40 something woman who commiserates with the challenges in your particular part of the journey.
This journey of parenthood…. it’s a gift. A challenging gift, but still a gift, to be struggled with, to be challenged by, to stretch and hone your abilities, to grow your inner strength, to increase your ability to love and ultimately to hopefully be successful and raise healthy, happy, well adjusted adults.
We’re all struggling with something, irrespective of our journey or our age. But perhaps our differences and our struggles could unite us instead of dividing us, which is so often the case when we make assumptions and comparisons.
Love & light
A Struggling, Non-Smug, 40 Something Mom of Littlies.
P.S. Just my thoughts and opinions on this topic after seeing this post shared numerous times across social media. We all struggle, we’re all guilty of feeling this way, but perhaps if we could be more mindful of these thoughts and feelings, we may actually get more support for the unique facets of our own journey’s.
Republished with permission: theblessedbarrenness.co.za