To the new mom who makes motherhood look so easy, I bumped into you on a Wednesday night at a swanky New York City event. Your hair was perfect, makeup flawless, and luxe outfit enviable. I was a hot mess, sticky and frizzy from a humid storm, just looking for some air conditioning and seriously regretting my shoe choice.
Which is why when we started to chat and you mentioned that you had just given birth two weeks ago, I may have come across as surprised. Although I know that life doesn't completely stop when you have a newborn and that new moms are still human beings who are more than capable of dressing up and heading out for a girls night, your remark did catch me off guard. I admit, I was more than a bit surprised.
But not that you had left your new baby or that your postpartum body already looked better than my child-free frame. Although you might've gotten that reaction (and unnecessary mom shaming) from others that evening, those judgments weren't the source of my astonishment. I was simply shocked over just how easy you made new motherhood look. For that, I applaud you because I know it's not.
Motherhood is many things and you shouldn't be forced to come across a certain way or feel the need to meet everyone else's expectations for how good or bad you're dealing with a particular stage. It's sticky, messy, and tiring but it can also be exhilarating, rewarding, and better than you ever imagined. You didn't gush about your newborn just because you thought that was what was expected as a new mom, rush home to your baby instead of enjoying yourself in the moment, or hide your body because you felt pressure from social norms. You were confident and secure in yourself as well as your role as a mom and you deserve to be complimented for it.
As I got to know you, I learned that this is your second child and despite the chaos at home, you still recognize the importance in taking time for yourself and celebrating what you've created. You are proof that each person's motherhood journey is different and that instead of judging the "perfection" that we see in a moment, we should be supporting you.
As "you do you" and enjoy your first girl's night out since the birth of your second child, I was happy to toast to your baby, instead of internally hating on you as a complete stranger. As women, I know that we need to be there for each other during both the good and bad times - because there will be bad even if I'm only seeing the good in this moment - instead of hating on the choices you're making on behalf of a family that I don't even know.
Another woman joked that she's nervous to have kids someday because of how easy and perfect you make it seem. But I refuse to compare my future self to you or judge you based on how what I think I would be doing two weeks after giving birth. I'm watching you have it both and am finding inspiration in it.
The moms who make it look easy aren't perfect superheroes who are better parents than anyone else - they are just moms. For those who don't get that and judge mamas for their successes, you're just as bad as those who shame parents for their mistakes.