I’m going to share with you a secret about parenting that I wish I had known when I first stepped foot on this roller coaster they call motherhood. While it applies to all mothers, this one is specifically written for all the new moms, currently wearing the shoes I filled almost 4 years ago now. . .
I know you probably feel really insecure right now. If you’re like me you’re worried that you won’t measure up as a mom. You have a deep urge to prove yourself to every one around you and have them be in awe of your epic mothering skills.
I know it’s hard, every time you turn around there’s some one sharing their opinions with you. From books to movies to blog posts to in-laws and even strangers in the grocery line; virtually every one has an opinion on how your child should be raised. In fact, if you read too many articles on it you’ll probably become frustrated because there are so many contradicting “facts” out there. Each one claiming your child will be scarred for life and surely turn into a poorly behaved hyena if you don’t follow their method exactly and purchase all of their books.
Every other mother you see probably seems more put together and more sure of her parenting decisions. Every glance you receive is translated as yet another person passing judgement on your parenting skills.
When my son was born one of my biggest fears is that the world would find out I didn’t really know what I was doing. Sure, I’d read the books and studied all the latest articles but when it came down to it, my babe would scream and I had no clue what he wanted. I would blunder around our apartment trying to seem sure of myself, pretending I knew exactly what to do when in reality I couldn’t have guessed what he needed if there were 3 million dollars on the line. There were always those times when his diaper was dry, and his belly full, and yet he cried. Nothing can make a new mama feel worse than a crying baby and no hope of figuring out what could be the cause of it!
My kids are 3 and 2 now. In years, I’m not that much farther ahead of my little insecure new-mama self, but in heart I feel so different now. Gone are the days of reading (and sharing) every latest article on all the things pertaining to my children. The innate desire to have other people revel in my parenting ability has disappeared as well. I’m a lot more calm, more at peace and generally a lot happier of a mama. Mainly because I’ve discovered one thing about parenting that no one likes to talk about.
We’re all just figuring it out as we go.
That’s right, every last one of it. The parenting guru who’s written the book on it, and the totally put-together mom from down the street. All of us. We don’t know what we’re doing.
You can read 1,000 articles on child-rearing but nothing truly prepares you for motherhood. You just get thrown in, and you wing it. As soon as you figure out life with a newborn, he starts crawling or walking or talking back and tantruming and you’re sent right back to mommy-school to figure it all out again.
Moms learn and grow with their kids. Sometimes we’re better at it than others. Some seasons are a breeze while others make survival mode seem like a luxury vacation.
So my dear mommy-friend, don’t worry. You’re allowed to find motherhood difficult. You’re also allowed to find it wonderful and happy. Quite frankly you’re allowed to feel one million different ways about it, and all of them in one hour if you’d like.
There’s no official rules beyond loving your kids to the best of your capabilities. All the methods and the studies and the controversies…in the end these are just the bi-product of a bunch of moms trying desperately to look like we’ve got it all together.
I love my kids, sometimes we have fantastic days, and other times I’m counting the minutes ’til daddy gets home. That’s just life with other humans. Particularly humans of the tiny variety.
Hang in there mama. Keep figuring it out as you go. That’s what all the best moms do, and you’re doing just fine.
*Disclaimer: (before the comments start rolling in) Yes, some studies are super-important and life saving. I’m not saying to ignore things that are actually safety issues with your kids. But all the other debates that are so prevalent…. (tv time, breastfeeding or formula, birth methods, sleeping times, baby wearing etc) those are the ones that can be tweaked to figure out your own personal parenting style and how your kid should be raised.