It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on here, but there’s been something on my mind a lot lately that I needed to get it out.
So here we go…
Both pre and post getting pregnant, I had a lot of big ideas about the type of mother I wanted to be. The type of mother that society expected me to be.
- Breastfeeding – Duh.
- Make my own baby food – 100% organic or bust.
- Screen time – What’s that?
- Yelling at my child – I would never!
Essentially, I was the perfect mom…and then my daughter was born.
After Haddie’s birth, I quickly realized that things don’t always go as planned. That babies are merely tiny humans with their own preferences and volition. This small little 7 lb. 2 oz. creature could break me with the slightest whimper.
As I felt my expectations bending and breaking, I began to feel a since of panic. I was losing the parenting battle and was on the fast track to becoming the worst bad-word imaginable: a bad mom.
Main stream media, fellow mothers, and the general public have a lot of opinions on what type of mother we all should be. The checklist at the top of this post is only a fragment of the pressures that are put on us. When we let the ball drop, even just once, we are letting down a legion of know-it-alls that have somehow become the experts in all things parenting.
The pressure to act perfect, and to be perfect, can seem suffocating and makes us feel like failures. If we could only learn to support one another and cut each other, and ourselves, some slack, maybe we’d actually have a shot at raising decent children that know how to function in their day to day lives.
Unfortunately, there are days when I feel like I’m screwing everything up.
Days when my child has watched more episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than I care to admit.
Days when she decides that listening to me is useless and that she’d rather scream like a banshee and blow through stores like a small tornado.
While I tried desperately to boil veggies and puree them into baby food gold, my little darling decided that she much preferred the taste of the pre-packaged creations found in your local grocery store.
There’s no answer to any of this. I can’t tell you why certain things work and why they don’t, but at the end of the day, here’s what I’ve learned. It is what it is.
So what if I’ve decided to take a half hour break and let my energetic little girl watch a show so I can catch my breath.
So what if I lost my temper one time last week and raised my voice rather than maintaining the zen-like calm of a monk.
While I’m thrilled that I was able to breastfeed for around 16 months, I still stick to the mantra “Fed is Best.”
What works for me, may not work for you. Learning ourselves and learning our own children is the only way to become a successful parent.
On the days when I find myself sobbing and telling my husband that I feel like the worst mother in the world, he reminds me to look at our daughter.
My happy, playful, funny little girl.
She has no idea that I’ve “messed something up.” She is laughing and smiling all day long. She is learning at a speed that makes my head spin. She has the sweetest nature and adores having the chance to take care of the things and people around her.
I hear her use words like “Please” and “Thank you.” I feel the love exuding from her little body as she wraps her arms around me tight.
No matter how I think I’ve failed, when I look at Hadley, I know I’m doing something right.
I may not be the mother I thought I’d be, and I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m learning to let go of those naive expectations.
I’m an over-protective, work-in-progress, that wants to eliminate the judgment I feel for my own choices and the ones of other people.
Having a child that is loved and cared for is what matters. Whatever path we choose to get there as parents is what works.
So next time you’re feeling down on yourself, please just remember that I think you’re amazing. I don’t care if you co-sleep or use a crib, if you vaccinate or not, if you breast or bottle feed, or if you baby wear or push a stroller.
You are a mother and you are a rock star. End of story.