The other day, I decided to take my rambunctious 3-year-old and my squishy 6-month-old to the park by myself. It was quite a feat for me as I’d been working non-stop for the past few months and to tear myself away from my passion was difficult for me. So I was incredibly proud of myself for making time for my children.
We arrived at the park after stopping by QT to get me a Diet Pepsi, naturally, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, as it always is during springtime in Arizona. I approached the little park near our house, hefting my baby’s car seat along, while yelling behind me, “Pearl! This way! Nope. This way!”
As I struggled my way to a bench, I noticed another bench full of mom’s at various points in their life. One was standing, rocking a toddler, one was breastfeeding, and all were chatting happily with each other while their children played. I unloaded my belongings nearby, removed my bouncy girl’s shoes and sent her off to play.
I sat with my calm baby, watched my daughter run around, and occasionally checked my phone for any work-related issues. At first, I thought, “What a fun group of friends with kids all the same age.” My initial instinct was to wish I was part of their little clique. Then, I had an epiphany.
I realized I didn’t need these women to validate me. I was fine sitting there by myself. I have talents that plenty of other people love and appreciate, and I suddenly didn’t care about what these women thought of me. They had their own lives, and I had mine.
I’m a good mom in my own way, even if I don’t breastfeed or I only sporadically take my children to the park. I know that I am honestly doing the best I can at this moment in my life and I didn’t care if these women knew that or not.
I suddenly felt confident as a mother. I used to automatically assume that if I didn’t have a gaggle of women surrounding me that I was somehow less than those who did. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I surprisingly didn’t feel it anymore.
The pressure was taken off and I was able to just sit and enjoy my children, the weather, and the small break I was getting. I wasn’t planning on staying very long, and I was completely fine with arriving after them and leaving before they did, when I would usually feel insecure about that decision.
After we gathered our things to leave, I was able to walk past this group of women confidently, without worrying about what they thought of me or my children. It was amazing to be able to feel good about myself in a situation where I would normally feel enormously inadequate.
So, thank you, Mom Clique at the Park, for helping me find my motherly chi and allowing me break a dangerously self-destructive behavior of comparing myself to other moms. Even if I’m not doing what you are doing, it doesn’t make me worse than you, it just makes me different.
And I am 100% ok with that.