I run a Mothering Arts group for first-time moms. They bring their babies, who are between three weeks and a year old. If a non-parent walked in, I imagine they would not stay long. What we discuss does not seem so important compared to, say, the news in Iraq or Pakistan.
We spend 90 minutes each week combing through the details of our lives: counting endless wakings, describing first food reactions, agonizing about vaccines, dissecting the words of mothers and mothers-in-law and husbands and partners, crying about lost selves and lost freedoms and also crying about leaving babies so we can make money and regain parts of ourselves. When these women were pregnant, no one could have warned them of the realities of life with a newborn. It’s just so impossible to understand how these little details take over everything.
And yet it is the agonizing and the worrying and the caring that is the important work of parenting. And even though it seems like little work, work that has no meaning outside the walls of our own tiny homes, I believe that the work of these parents is revolutionary and world-changing. We are parenting new little humans to populate the planet and how we do our job makes all the difference. So I am grateful to all of the moms in my group — and the parents everywhere — who are waking at night to bounce or breastfeed or cuddle a little one and who are weighing the options of rice cereal versus avocado as a first food. This work is valuable. For all of us.