In my eighteen months of experience of motherhood, I can tell you that it has been the most intense struggle of my life. I’m sure that sounds like hyperbole, but it really is the truth.
As a new parent, you are getting input from all angles. The sheer level of expectation leveled at you is astonishing. And it comes from everyone and everything. You have the societal pressures working on you, telling you what kind of parent you should be, and what kind of child your kid should be, what kind of partner/grandparent/aunt you should have.
I’ve struggled with not meeting my own expectations, not meeting my partners expectations (and vice versa, before anyone thinks I’m painting him in a bad light, hah!), and not meeting the expectations of basically every human I encounter.
People think their offhand comments to parents and children are just a cute way to interact with them, but those comments can weigh heavily on the recipients. Is it our responsibility to filter out what they mean, and just let any possible shade roll off our backs? Or should people try to be a bit kinder, a bit more generic in their comments?
As in most situations, I think a bit of both would take us a long way.
I focus on surrounding myself with supportive friends. We don’t all agree on the perfect way of parenting, but we do agree that judgement isn’t welcome here!