Should Moms Give Up Their Social Lives? It Depends On The Mom.
Every mother has their own strategy. They pop out a baby and then they have to decide how its going to effect them. Will they donate every single cell of their body into motherhood and leave all else in the dust? Will they go about their life as before, with a little less sleep and a little more responsibility? Will they stay home and snuggle or get out every weekend to meet with their friends? There are so many decisions that mothers have to make about how a child will change or not change their life.
Since we’re all struggling to find those answers, we often get pretty defensive about the path we’ve taken. If we’re insecure about our decisions, we’re often more likely to passionately argue our position, to convince both our audience and ourselves that we’re right. There’s comfort in knowing that people agree with you. So lots of moms plead their case about every parenting decision, hoping people will reiterate that they made the right choice.
I think that’s what happened to Tracy Moore when she wrote “Isn’t A Baby Supposed To Cramp Your Style?” for Jezebel. 394 comments (and counting) later, I’m not sure Tracy got the validation she was seeking. Tracy’s complaint was pretty straight-forward. After the birth of her daughter, Tracy and her husband chose to give up a lot of their social lives to stay home and bond with their baby. They saw the birth of their daughter as an opportunity to “hunker down, dig in, and get to know this new fascinating person in your life”. All in all, they enjoyed their self-imposed confinement.
But all around Tracy and her husband, their friends with little ones were carrying on with their lives outside of the home. They were going to concerts and movies and bars. They were getting babysitters and dragging their kids into public! It was completely the opposite of the path Tracy had chosen. And therefore, she wanted to prove it wrong. She didn’t want to be one of those people who would just “spawn and move on”, so she used condescension and sarcasm to justify her choices, and put down everyone else’s in the process.
Should new moms give up their social lives? It depends on the mom. Tracy needed to use the time directly after her daughter’s birth to refocus and connect with her child. She has every right to take that time without being bothered for anti-social behavior. But some parents choose to bond with their child by bringing them along to their favorite events, maybe even concerts. Some parents have social infants who enjoy new sights and people. And no new parent should be confined to their home simply because they have a infant. It’s completely unfair to assume that a parent doesn’t care simply because they didn’t change everything about themselves when they had a child. Maybe, they were pretty awesome to begin with.
Staying in or going out doesn’t make you a better mother. Sacrificing things you enjoy doesn’t make you more committed if it wasn’t necessary to begin with. Yes, we need to be responsible for the new life we’ve brought into this world. But barricading yourself indoors doesn’t make you responsible, just like getting outside doesn’t make you irresponsible. We each have our own way of adjusting our lives to best fit the needs of our kids. No matter how insecure we get, we need to remember that the popularity of our parenting choices isn’t what makes them right. They’re only right if they work for you and your family.