Thursday, March 15, 2007

Another Mom in the Mirror

Her Bad Mother wrote a post the other day about an encounter (or missed encounter) on the subway: about a young mother and a tiny baby in an umbrella stroller, and the maybe impossible distance of class and age that kept them from speaking to each other. That post broke my heart. I'm hormonal these days, but I have been that young and underfunded parent (to a nephew, in an umbrella stroller or a front carrier) as well as the older richer mom (university professor with a $500 stroller).

Anyhow, it's been making me think. And Mad's post last night about the connections we make in the blogosphere, think kinds of conversations we have here has been making me think, as I sit here at Starbucks reading her post, while sitting on the comfy couch across from two new moms discussing the sleep habits of their six month olds.

Well, I closed the laptop lid and said, "Omigod, I'm so sorry to be eavesdropping, but did you say 'shush-pat'? Are you doing the baby whisperer? I did the baby whisperer with my little girl" (this is where I open the laptop to show them my desktop image of Miss Baby).

I was careful to ask if they wanted to know my experience, and it was all very friendly, and we all had a nice time: me, new mom K and Baby girl M, and other new mom J and Baby boy J. How-do-you-do, nice-to-meet-you. They seemed relieved to benefit from my vaster experience (after all, my baby is nine months old, theirs but six, you see). Our experiences with the sleep training were similar, and I was very happy to see that they were visibly relieved that I could be so open about our decision to finally go to CIO, when Miss Baby was about six and a half months old. We discussed our misgivings, our feelings; fine time all around. They got some advice, or actually, reinforcement of their own intuition, I made some new acquaintances.

Here's the thing: these really are the moms in the mirror. These women are my age, they dress like me, their babies are dressed like my baby, we might be each other. We can assume so much in common (disposable income for lattes, for example) that it's easier to talk to one another.

But still, look at me! Reaching out to other mothers with empathy! Thank you, blogosphere, for giving me the confidence in my own mothering self to feel safe enough to be honest with others who might appreciate it, who might make a real-life circle of mother support. At Starbucks. Still.


NotSoSage said...

Mimi, I've found the same thing, too. It seems as though knowing through (a safer, relatively anonymous sharing exeperience like) blogging, that other mothers have the same questions/thoughts/experiences that I do, has given me the freedom to talk about these things to other "real-life" mothers...and I'm sure it helps them express all this stuff, too...I hope.

Mimi said...

Yes! That's the idea I was aiming at, although I think I wrote this post too fast and not cogently enough to really get it across. *This* forum helps me be a nicer/better person in *that* forum. I hope.

Em said...

Good for you for reaching out... I always like to give a sympathetic knowing smile when I see a kid throwing a tantrum in the supermarket etc. and I've frequently had the same done to me... offering the simple support of a smile can make such a difference.

cinnamon gurl said...

Yes, I have totally found myself talking more to other mothers since becoming part of this blogging community. I think maybe Mad IS right.

Mad Hatter said...

Yes, yes, yes, Mimi. Blogging has given me a vernacular I didn't have before. Posting, cross-posting, commenting...the constant chatter we have here has also taught me the code of parenting etiquette in a way that I would not have picked up elsewhere.

I am by no means smooth as silk and there will always be some awkward barriers, but I feel as if I am, in part, learning to be a slightly better citizen and member of my community.

There's some weird intangible feminist argument here too that I haven't quite nailed down yet but it has to do with making motherhood a comfortable place to be and a comfortable subject to talk about.

Oh, The Joys said...

mimi - i really liked this post. there's been a lot of meta-mamasphere posting lately and my head is starting to spin, but your contribution is so real and down to earth. i loved it.

Her Bad Mother said...

You are so exactly right that *these* connections can strengthen our resolve to reach out ot each other in other ways.

And, as I said in response to my mother's response to the post you mention - just because we're 'privileged' doesn't mean that *we* don't need those connections, too.