Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Not Easy Being "Normal"

Now that we are living a more "normal" life, I've noticed that I don't exactly "fit in" with other moms anymore.  I'm trying hard to be "normal," but it isn't easy.  Let me try to explain.

Scenario 1:
I pick up Brenna from pre-school.  It's a pretty day, so I let Brenna and the twins play outside on the playground.  I talk to the other moms while the kids play.  One mom begins telling us how hard it was when her son was a baby because she had to take him back to the hospital for weekly check-ups for 4 weeks due to an orthotic issue which is now resolved.  What I'm thinking, "I'm sure that was hard for you, but you had your baby at home with you during that whole time.  What's the big deal about going in for 4 little appointments?  Try living without your baby for 16 weeks and going into the hospital daily to visit and crying every day when you have to leave them there. Try going to over 200 appointments in the first year alone."  What I do instead - put on a fake sympathy face and just nod.

Scenario 2:
Jim and I go to a friend's holiday party.  Jim goes to talk to the guys, while I hang out in the kitchen sipping some wine chatting with a couple of friends.  A friend of a friend who doesn't know me or our story comes over to talk.  We begin talking about babies because one of my friends is pregnant.  The friend of the friend reminisces about how tiny her baby was at 4 1/2 pounds.  She goes on and on about how preemie clothes were too big and just how small she was.  What I'm thinking, "4 1/2 pounds is downright big.  By the time my kids got to 4 1/2 pounds, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  When they were allowed to finally wear clothes, a preemie shirt looked like a dress.  I had to order micro-preemie hats off a special website that made size 2-5 pounds, and even then, I had to wait for them to reach 2 pounds to wear them."  What I do instead - put on my fake sympathy face and just nod.

Scenario 3:
We go to a playdate at a petting farm, and I talk with the other moms while the kids play.  A new mom is talking about how her baby is having reflux issues.  She says she is already on some medication, but she doesn't know what else to do.  I tell her Cade had reflux too and thickening the formula with rice cereal really helped.  I told her our GI suggested this too.  She asks me, "Oh, have you seen a specialist?"  Another friend who knows our story just chuckles.  What I'm thinking, "Have we seen a specialist?  We've seen around 14 specialists for almost every body part!  I could tell you about our trips to the cardiologist, opthamologist, otolaryngologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist,etc., but we aren't really talking about all of that."  What I say instead, "Yes, we have seen a GI.  Try the rice cereal; hopefully, it will help."

I don't want to be the person who always has a bigger, better story than someone else, so I usually just let the other mom go on and on about their big problems.  I want to be able to relate to other moms on the same level, but I'm not sure it's possible.  I want to be considerate and compassionate.  I felt a real sympathy for the mom whose baby had reflux because I knew what it was like to have a puking kid who seems to be in constant agony, but I have a hard time listening to moms whose "problems" seem so minor to me.  I want to tell them that their "problems" could be far worse, but I don't want to be preachy.  I also know that we had it so easy compared to others, so I too don't want to burden the world with my "problems". 

We are very much enjoying our new "normal" though.  We have had fewer doctor's dates and more playdates!  Here are some cute pictures of our recent activities:

I met up with a friend at Elephant Lunch.  The circus was in town.  The day of the first show they parade the elephants out and set up a buffet for them.  The babies didn't seem too interested, but Brenna thought it was really cool.

Camdyn found this hat prop at the dance studio and decided she needed to wear it through most of the Music & Movement class.  I do think she looks pretty cute!

Here are some of my students in our Music & Movement class.  Their favorite part of class is the bubbles.

Camdyn and Cade checking out the donkey at the petting farm.

I was quite surprised that Camdyn actually fed the donkey.  I thought she would be too scared, but she squatted right down and fed the donkey the carrot.


Jessi said...

I so relate to this! Usually I just let comments slide and try to zone out when conversations like that happen. It used to get under my skin so much more... or maybe I am getting better at ignoring. Either way, I often feel like I am stuck in my motherhood, never really fitting in.

The Kimmels said...

I definitely relate to how you feel! Once you have been through something like this, it certainly changes your perspective on what is "hard" or "bad". Like you, I don't always want to feel like I have a "one up" story (I wish I had a normal story!). The only solution I can come up with, and it's not that great of one, but is that I just nod and smile and tell myself that I forgive them. I forgive them because they truly don't know, there's no way they could if they haven't been through something so difficult and emotional as we have.

It's nice to know that there are other moms out there who have similar feelings, although I wish we didn't have to!