At my mom's club meeting last week, there were two moms with 6 week old babies. Their boys were even born on the same day.
I mean, really, they were just asking to be a metaphor. Seriously.
The first came in and looked around awkwardly. She was nervous, both about meeting all these new people and about going out with her tiny baby. She kept checking him in the stroller, apologized for his crying every time he whimpered (which honestly I couldn't even hear), and picked at the food on her plate. She confessed that he had his days and nights confused still, and that she has only slept 2 hours the night before. She confided to me that she wanted to go back to work but had checked daycares and couldn't bring herself to leave him anywhere. She looked shaken, scared, confused, and tired.
The other mom was completely comfortable in her own skin. She introduced herself to everyone, shared her (hilarious) birth story immediately, played with other people's children. Her little 8 pound boy was draped casually over her arm, not making a sound, but she was still able to eat, take notes, and gesticulate wildly. She told us that he slept 11 hours a night and fell asleep completly on his own, soothing himself by rubbing his face on a burpcloth. She had an answer for everything, seemed so competent and confident that I, the mother of a 9 month old, was cowed in comparison.
It's clearly no secret which mom I feel for. At 6 weeks, I was a wreck. I was up ALL night (as opposed to MOST of the night, like I am again now). I had no idea how to be a mom. I didn't take Baby Girl anywhere by myself. I look back on myself then with a certain kind of fondness, wanting to tell her she was doing just fine.
Which was what I told this mom. And I invited her over for coffee. And a hug. Although she doesn't know that part yet.
But. But. Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe super-cool-together mom needs a hug too. Did I look scared and shaky at 6 weeks? I mean, I know I was never cool and sociable and confident. But I think I seemed okay. I seemed to know what I was doing. I certainly wasn't confessing my failings.
And even if she really does have it together? I mean, that doesn't mean we can't be friends, right? (...Right....?) If I don't want people to judge me for being a mess, is it fair of me to judge other moms for not being a mess? Can't I just be happy for her that she is having such an easy time of it? Glad that he sleeps so well, that she knows what she wants, that she's so good at making friends?
In truth? I look back on those early sleepless days and there are moments of joy that I didn't expect to look back on fondly. I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night and playing with the baby on the living room floor so we didn't wake my husband. I remember taking lovely naps in the middle of the day. I remember how much I genuinely enjoyed the 3 hours of sleep I got after my husband left for work - even when they were the only hours of sleep I got all day. And I remember how in awe I was of this precious little baby, how amazing it was for her to be in my life. And really? I wouldn't change a thing.
So, what do I have to be jealous of? I can forgive supermom her successes. You know, just this one time.