A few weeks ago, I was chatting with one of my favorite mom friends when a mutual friend (who recently had her first baby) approached us for some advice. She was leaving in a few days for a destination wedding and was nervous about traveling with a baby.
It’s completely understandable — between the stroller and the car seat and the breast-pumping supplies, packing to fly with a baby feels like trying to cram all your worldly possessions into a Mini Cooper.
Sure enough, we both had different (and sometimes conflicting) advice. Some of it was big-picture stuff, like “So what if you feed her formula for a few days?” Most of it was logistical. “Buy the diapers there,” my friend said. “Bring Ziploc bags for ice to keep your pumped milk cold,” I said.
We both agreed that the most important thing was to do whatever was necessary so she could enjoy herself.
As we bombarded her with all these tips, I got the sense that while we helped her with the practical side of packing, we didn’t necessarily do much to alleviate her stress level or uncertainty.
It got me thinking about the early days of baby-ing — you know, the parts that you’re too sleep-deprived to really enjoy. And I recalled something that always made me feel better: It was thinking, “This isn’t just me. It’s hard for everyone.” This notion of “being in this parenting thing together” was oddly comforting to me.
While it’s hard in different ways (some of us have it easier than others), motherhood doesn’t discriminate. It changes your identify. It humbles you. It makes you feel like every decision is the most important thing in the world. Without a good support system, the pressure can crush you. But through all that, just being able to be vulnerable with my girlfriends was such a gift. I wanted to return the favor to my friend.
Now, this woman is one of the most put-together, articulate, and “with it” people I’ve ever met. To me she seems unflappable, and I was pretty surprised when she confided in me.
For days, I couldn’t get our conversation out of my head, so I sent her an email the day of her trip to tell her to ignore any advice that didn’t work for her and, most importantly, to remind her that “You’ve got this.”
Her response? “Thank you so much, Sam! Means more than you know. We made it in one piece, the baby was a total trooper, and we’ve been having a great trip so far.”
It stuck with me. I do my best in my professional life to make lives a little easier and better for moms. (It’s one of the reasons I’m creating a breast pump!). It’s my company’s mission to do everything we can to support women on their parenting journeys.
This exchange with my friend reminded me that I have a huge opportunity to step up in my “real life.” I’ve challenged myself to tell at least one mom every single day that she’s got this. That she’s enough. And that she’s absolutely crushing this parenting thing.
So to all the mamas out there: You’ve got this!
Now, pass it on.