In the midst of all the new responsibilities that come with becoming a parent, it is important that we find a network of like-minded people to help, encourage and support us through the good times and the bad. Who better to do that than other moms, but how do we find them to begin with?
That’s one of the questions that we’ve set out to answer in this Summer Self-Care Series with Beaugen. We’ve put together a series of interviews with other fellow moms and experts in their fields in hopes of shining light on what it means to be a mom today, ditch the mom guilt and enjoy our parenting journey.
For our third interview we connected with Tu-Hien Le, mom, entrepreneur and founder of @beaugenmom and @themamaverse to help us understand the importance of being able to connect with other moms on how that can help us have a more positive parenting journey.
Many moms feel alone and isolated once they have a baby. Why do we feel that way as moms and how can we overcome that?
I feel that a lot of women put pressure on themselves to be everything and do everything. Not only are we supposed to be this wonderful mom, who is doing everything for the baby– diapers, breastfeeding and breastfeeding in itself is so emotionally and physically time consuming and taxing– and we’re also trying to keep the house clean, organize all the social events, and making it seem like we can snap back to our pre-braby bodies in a couple of months, which is totally unrealistic. So a lot of it is us putting pressure on ourselves based on what we think society wants us to do.
On The Mamaverse we bring in experts to talk about these types of topics, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Many of them talk about giving yourself grace, every mom, person, woman has different needs and we need to be clear about our needs and boundaries. The loneliness comes from sacrificing our own needs for our babies and families, and not being able to connect with other people.
It’s true that we are up at all hours of the night, we sleep at random times if we get to sleep at all… so having a social life is almost nearly impossible. And moms sacrifice that for our families and babies, so when you are able to connect with other women who are going through the same thing, it feels like “ok, I’m not the only one who feels this way or feels guilty that I’m not enjoying this. I’m tired and need a break.” All those feelings are valid and it’s totally ok.
We want to encourage women to connect with one another, to share these feelings and experiences. Sometimes we don’t really need a solution, sometimes we only need to talk about it and feel seen and validated.
They say it takes a village, where do I find this village? How do we come together and find that support from other moms?
A lot of women tend to go to their friends and family first, because if they are nearby they can physically come in and help and support with things like cleaning dishes or rocking the baby while you take a nap, simple things like that.
When you go online, I connected with women through Facebook groups. There’s a huge Facebook group community that support one another, it can be really specific, for example with breastfeeding or general mommying and parenting, and that’s what we want to do at The Mamaverse. We want to reach those moms who are looking for those communities, where you don’t have to be a mom, but you can find that sense of community and support.
Offline doing things like going to the library to connect with other moms and families, or joining any of those mommy and me playgroups, and things like that where you can connect when you have the time can really help.
Finding the time can be a challenge as a mom, but a good place to start is with your friends and family who’ve already had kids and then move online to find a group that you identify with. Each group has its own vibe and priorities so really you need to find the one that resonates and connects with you best.
How can we as moms be there for other moms?
The biggest thing that we can do for one another as moms is to not judge one another. Everybody is on their own mommying journey, whether they are a first time mom or you’ve had two or three babies, your experience is just totally different, and if we can show empathy and compassion towards one another and not judge, that can help alleviate all the societal pressure, especially on social media.
Social media is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Life is different now than when our parents had us, because they didn’t have the whole world to compare with how they were mommying to their own parenting. So if we could just be more empathetic and compassionate towards one another it would totally just help the moms going though it just feel better.
Just showing that compassion and help lift the pressure and allow moms to really open up about what they are struggling with, and it can be anything from trying to find a doctor, to your mental and physical health, whatever it may be, and let people know that we’re here.
As a mom you need to become more compassionate with yourself, and not be too hard on yourself.
As moms, as we try to understand our children, we begin to better understand ourselves and we realize that what works with one child can be completely different to what works with another child (even if they are both our own). As we look inward and understand ourselves better, we give ourselves more grace and compassion as moms, we become more compassionate towards our children and other moms as well. We learn to forgive and not be so hard on ourselves, we are not perfect, we are on our own journey, and it’s ok. There’s really no room for judgment.
You’re journey to try to understand your kid also helps you to understand yourself. This is really helpful with our kids, because when they are struggling through things, and they can’t communicate it or don’t have the vocabulary to articulate what they are thinking/feeling, it's the same with other moms. Sometimes as moms we can help other moms recognize the whirlwind of emotions that they are going through because we went through it at some point, as well.
Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is amazing, it’s great, and it’s really fun to have a group of moms that you can connect with, bond with and have fun with, because motherhood is great, but it’s also challenging, and it’s worth it.
Compassion with yourself is a huge first step.
Compassion is so important. When you manage to be compassionate with yourself, you can give and share that with other people, too.
Going back to our interview with mom coach, Dionna Chambers, sometimes it’s about knowing what you need and knowing that sometimes when we snap at our kids or judge others, it’s more about how we are feeling and how our own needs are not being met, than about others. Sometimes you just need a minute to feel and recognize your own feelings, and notice if maybe you are not feeling balanced, or you don’t feel good about something that happened, or you don’t feel centered and you just need to recognize that and remember to have compassion and self-forgiveness of what you're going through and what you can do to feel better. And you can always go back and apologize to your children or someone else.
It’s totally ok to say, “mommy didn’t mean that and it’s not your fault. Let’s work together to try to fix things.”
Sometimes when we do snap and we don’t put our best selves forward, because it happens to all of us at some point, it’s not usually because of our kids, it’s because we are being too hard on ourselves, or haven’t really taken the time to ask ourselves what we need to be the best version of ourselves that day. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make a difference, like breathing or eating something other than leftover sandwich crusts.
Mom friends are great to help us see what we need, which goes back to why it’s so important to get that sense of connection and community with other moms. Because they are going through similar situations, and they can see, based on their own experiences, what might be happening with us.
As adults we sometimes take kids for granted and think that because they are little they don’t know or understand what can be going on with us as parents. Actually kids are pretty smart and they understand what we are going through as parents, so if we can show up and show our kids that we are not perfect and that we can make mistakes, and we don’t expect them to be perfect,, but that we show up always trying to put out best foot forward, it helps them become a better people, who in turn can have compassion with themselves and others. As they grow older, we can start having more conversations with them and it’s truly beautiful and powerful when you can work on yourself and learn to apologize and come to an understanding with your children.
How did you come up with The Mamaverse and why did you see the need to help moms connect with other moms?
When I created Beaugen, for pumping moms, I realized that breastfeeding and being a mom in general was a much more mental and emotional journey than just the physical aspects.
I had to ask a lot of people, mom groups and Facebook groups, how to manage the different emotions and feelings. Even weaning was really emotional for me. I hated pumping and I wanted to quit, but when it was time for me to quit, it was hard for me to quit, too. So I asked people how to do it, and there are tricks on how to wean, but how do you get through it emotionally and not feel guilty? That’s when I realized motherhood is much more than physical changes and pain, there’s much more to it.
In building Beaugen, I solved a physical aspect of breastfeeding, but I still wanted to create an emotionally safe place where we can support and connect with one another and show up for each other to help us become better physically, emotionally and spiritually. So I created The Mamaverse to create a space for that.
We bring in different wellness experts in all these different spaces, like therapists, personal trainers, spiritual healers, we talk about all that. The idea is that each one of these wellness experts have their own small communities of women and moms they work with, so someone may come in looking for information on one topic, but then they come across something else that they are interested in and we bring all these communities together and The Mamaverse is just a space to connect with all of these experts where you can find all that you need. Because your mind, body and soul are all connected and you really need to pay attention to all the different aspects and this is a gift to yourself in that way, and show up as your best and be the mom, partner, professional, that you want to be.
The Mamaverse can be that space that helps you build that person that you want to be.
That’s something that people don’t really talk about how to become a mom, people just kind of prepare for the delivery and maybe the first year, but the whole journey and how you need to keep growing as a person mentally and all the things attached so that you can show up for your baby, your partner, your family. And as you evolve new challenges come up and you have to grow even more to navigate those new challenges.
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