I've been following a friend on Twitter as she navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She tweets at all hours because her adorable newborn is up at all hours. For some reason, I can't stop reading and many times replying to her tweets. What's even more strange is that Erin and I have met in person just once, many years ago. She mostly knows me from my TV work, I know her from Twitter. In this era of social media, that's how friendships happen.
Motherhood and Twitter
Her tweets go from how lovely it feels to have her baby girl sleeping on her chest at 11AM to how frustrating it is that her baby girl will only sleep on her chest at 2AM. I'm happy for her when her daughter sleeps for 4 consecutive hours and I feel for her when her bundle of joy fights exhaustion with every ounce of her small body.
Yesterday, this tweet really got to me:
"And now I am someone who whines about their kid's 'schedule' because now I am someone with a kid who will bring the pain for hours on end."
I ask myself: Does motherhood make us a bunch of whiners? As I replied to Erin, I wouldn't call it whining; I call it venting. Talking to others about how hard it is to take care of a newborn saved me during those tough, often torturous first three-six months (sorry but Amelia is not a great sleeper either). Reading and listening to other mothers and their stories of survival was beyond comforting. It validated my feelings and gave me hope that my baby's behavior was normal and would eventually pass.
Like Erin, I'm blessed with a supportive spouse, family and life long friends but I can't vent with them at 2AM, especially when said spouse's snoring and his child's crying are keeping me awake. I can't call my girlfriend at midnight when I worry about my girl's cough. I would kill my poor Mom of a heart attack with an after hours phone call to Puerto Rico to vent.
That is the beauty of social media, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I can find someone out there who cares for me (or at least likes me on TV) to sympathize with the fact that after 3 and half years, my daughter still wakes up at 1:30AM so I can "rock her a little bit". Last time I posted that status on Facebook, I had 7 immediate replies of women in the same sleepless boat.
Maybe that's the reason I feel like I should be Erin's Twitter cheerleader through new motherhood. I know how lonely and scary it feels when you can't soothe your newborn to sleep and you are all alone in your house. Your friends and family are at work and you've lost the instruction manual. Oh wait, there is NO instruction book for the kid.
So I say vent away ladies, your friends and family on and off the web know you adore your baby, your toddler, your child, your teenager but whining about her/him will help both of you survive and thrive in this motherhood journey. Oh, wine also helps, in moderation of course. Ay Mama!