Insecurity doesn't make you a mess. It makes you human. It can also make you one insufferable mum bitch friend from hell.
Insecurity, as you embark on your journey of motherhood, is going to run rife. No one needs to know this more than a first-time mum. As we navigate the minefield of first time motherhood one thing becomes apparent. There are two types of mum friends. Those that will support, nurture and encourage. Then there are those who will criticise, throw self-doubt around like it's confetti and make you question every decision you ever made.
Here are five things that were said to me during my first few months of motherhood. I can recall feeling upset upon hearing them as self-doubt welled up inside me.
- "You've named her WHAT? That's so common right now!" Take a deep breath. She needs to criticise your choice of baby name because she chose to call her baby Leo, and now there are three of those at play group. She's regretting her decision and projecting that regret onto you. Just smile sweetly and say "How cute are all those little Leos?"
- "You're STILL breastfeeding?" Your baby is only three months old and she's riddled with resentment and regret at having not persevered with her breastfeeding journey. She's making that your problem. Be kind and simply ask how that seventh formula she's now trying is working out for her.
- "You're not pureeing?" She's desperate to jump on what she thinks is the baby led weaning bandwagon but is gripped by terror. She wishes she could just hand her baby a cucumber but her inability to differentiate a gag from a choke is at the root of her fears. Just suggest a good power blender and leave it at that. Looks like she'll be getting good use out of it. For the next ten years.
- "You're going back to work already? You should get your priorities in check! They're only little once." She hasn't realised yet that parenting is a lifelong responsibility and doesn't end when they are no longer "little". She never had a career before and doesn't believe she has a chance of one now so raining on your parade is all she can do. Suggest a local creative writing or photography course to help her keep busy.
- "He sleeps alone already! That is cruel! He will grow up feeling so unloved." She hasn't had a good night's sleep in over a year. The idea of you not suffering six wakes a night and are sleeping eight hours straight fills her with fury. Simply nod sympathetically and tell her it will all be over soon and remind her how much she adores those endless cuddles. Apparently.
So to the mother that can't seem to go a day without inflicting her own insecurities on other mums. Look, we get it. You're having a hard time. This motherhood thing hasn't turned out to be all you'd hoped. It's not been a walk in the park for you and it hasn't been for us either. Having a hard time does not give you the right to dish out disdain at our choices and decisions.
Motherhood is hard. We're all dealing with our own demons. The last thing we need is to be burdened with everyone else's. We're all just trying to get by. If you can't say anything nice, then with all due respect, piss off.