The Kids are All Right

When I saw this image as part of an Instagram post shared by The Blue Dot Project, my mind did the mental equivalent of a fist pump. I’d uttered a very close variation of this to my own father during my own bout with postpartum depression.

“The kids will be fine.  They will always be fine.  Me on the other hand . . .”  I twisted my face into a questionable shrug.  I’m not sure I actually said it, but what I meant was: it was me it was killing.

I wasn’t failing on some self care front. I was totally consumed by the day-to-day care of (at the time) three littles. After that, there was little time or energy left – and all of that went to me keeping it together. Not thriving, not growing, not healing – keeping the fucking lid on.

And I think that’s the irony of preparing mothers for motherhood. And the way we support mothers after birth.

Yes, you should swaddle. Yes, you should lay them on their backs to sleep. Yes, you must wake them for feedings.

No, you can’t take them to bed. No, you don’t need more than an inch or two of water in the bath.

Is there ANY mention of how to care for mother?

The ways that women take care of the themselves before baby don’t necessarily work afterward. Schedules and responsibilities shift. Existences shift. Hell, even space and time shift.

The reality of motherhood is that most women will grind themselves into the ground to provide for the ‘thrive’ of their child.

And that has propagated the species. It has kept generations of us alive and marching forward. It often gives us the fierce, yet tender protection of her love.

But we cannot set mothers up for this. We cannot send them into self-sacrifice unwittingly. No matter how ready they are to swipe tiny bums with warm wipes, they stand the chance of losing themselves and their mental health if we do not support them.

The kids usually are all right. It’s the moms for whom we have to watch out.

Sometimes, I feel I gotta get away
Bells chime, I know I gotta get away
And I know if I don't, I'll go out of my mind
Better leave her behind with the kids, they're alright
The kids are alright, the kids are alright, the kids are alright

Pete Townsend wrote the above lyrics to the song whose title inspired that of this blog post. And it was going to be just the title that inspired it – until I looked closely at the lyrics.

We cannot leave moms to be swallowed up by the all-encompassing duties of caring for and growing humans. Yes, the kids will be all right – but moms should be, too.

  • quoted text Jennifer Butler Basile, memoir
  • song lyrics “The Kids are Alright” The Who

9 thoughts on “The Kids are All Right

  1. Melissa McDowell says:

    Jenn I’m giving you a big high five, fist bump, whatever you want to call it but this is so true on so many levels. Moms need a manual on how to take care of themselves like the put out there for how to take care of a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joan says:

    I pass that info and advice to every couple I know who are at the beginning of that journey. I had my Mama and husband who told me to leave the kids and sleep or go out without them. It is SO very important that the Mamas are supported and given help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Butler Basile says:

      I’m so glad you had a strong (and special) support system. It IS so important! And thank you for sharing it with those coming up!


  3. Pingback: Stop Gaps on the road to Self Care | Chopping Potatoes

  4. I think one of the greatest ways I’ve grown as a mother and a human is to realize everyone else’s opinion about the way I mother (or of me in general) is of no concern. I’m not living for them. I have a duty God gave me in raising my daughter and rest and a peaceful mind are definitely a part of that equation. You’re so right about how society seems to utterly overlook these things. But society tends to overlook a lot of things, unfortunately.

    Great post, Jennifer. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

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