Any mother, at any stage, from pregnancy to raising teenagers, seems to thrive on sharing information. We flock to books, scour the internet, call our own mothers, bother the doctor: if something crosses our mind that has to do with our child and we don’t have an immediate answer, we suddenly become as questioning as Sherlock Holmes himself. And while thank god for the wealth of information we are blessed with access to these days, but it can be straight up overwhelming. While we’re quick to reach out for help from others, we often forget that WE and WE ALONE know our children and ourselves better than anyone. It’s a mom superpower, and it’s real! Trust me!
It starts from the moment you tell anyone (literally, anyone) that you’re expecting. Don’t be surprised if people say “Congratulations! *insert advice you didn’t ask for here*”, or immediately start their next sentence with “Well, when I was pregnant…”, and of course “Have you bought your copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting yet?” UNSOLICITED ADVICE WILL RUN RAMPANT, PEOPLE! But this is only the beginning, so put your game face on. While most people are trying to get all up in your mommy business because they truly do care and are trying to be helpful, you will undoubtedly feel judged, worried, and suddenly feel like second guessing every decision you make. But as my son gets ready to turn three (where the heck did the time go?!?!), I look back at the very beginning of this journey called motherhood and realize one thing I did (and still do) that helped mold me into what I would consider a good mom (some would say ‘cool mom’, which I also consider myself, with zero shame) was that no matter what anyone told me about what I should and shouldn’t do, I trust my heart and do things MY way. Is it the way every mom does things? Probably not, but judging by my always happy son, I’m doing something right.
Not every choice we make would work for every child: it’s SO important that every kid is fantastically different, and there’s not necessarily a “right way” to do things. Motherhood is really about learning as you go alongside your little one, so together you find out what works for BOTH of you.
There will ALWAYS be hot issues in the parenting world: Breastfeeding, sleeping, diapering, diet, vaccines, child care; I could go on and on. It can be SO overwhelming when you think you’re doing the right thing, only to get a snooty look from another mom because she does it completely differently. Feeding is probably the best example of this: no matter which way you choose to feed your child, there’s going to be someone who finds something wrong with it. Breastfeeding? Wonderful! You’re giving your baby an amazing start! Bottle feeding? Great! Your baby is getting what he needs! I was personally horrified at the thought of breastfeeding until I was semi ganged up on by certain members of my family (See what I told you about unsolicited advice…☺️) who couldn’t believe that this was even a debate and OF COURSE I’ll be breastfeeding! Looking back, I’m glad I did (he was actually a combination baby, both boob and bottles!) but I’m not going to lie and rave about how special breastfeeding was for me and how much I loved it, because quite frankly, I didn’t. I was not at all sad when he decided he was done with the boobs. My goal was three months and I made it through six. Boo Ya! But here’s where the second guessing comes into play: if you breastfeed and happen to (gasp!) feed your baby in public, you’ll get judged. If you pump like a maniac at work or while away for the night, you’ll get judged because you’re not home with your child. If you use formula and are mixing bottles of powder like a baby bartender, you’ll get judged because you’re not breastfeeding for whatever reason. We forget that with any of these methods, we are FEEDING OUR CHILDREN, but someone will ALWAYS think you’re doing it wrong. As long as your kid is eating and healthy, you’re rockin’ it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Let’s talk sleep. I am always ready and willing to discuss my son’s bedtime routine, because I admit it: we do things our way and we love to co-sleep. Period. If that means an adorable toddler in our bed basically every night since the day we brought him home, so be it. Or maybe it means that same toddler is up till 10:00 at night, in jammies and bedtime ready, but up watching Family Guy with his parents because we know he likes to sing the theme song. We have a slightly regular schedule, but I don’t apologize that my child doesn’t do specific things at specific times. “You’re just making your lives miserable in the future! He’ll NEVER get out of your bed!” Actually, I’m just enjoying every moment my little boy is still just that: little. I promise you, the day will come too quickly that your kid will want less and less to do with you (atleast for a few years), and you’ll miss that sweet little one that always wanted your cuddles. Plus, YOU MADE THEM. That’s right, you are responsible for creating that amazing little being that everyone is so concerned about. So if you want to hold those tiny hands and snuggle up all night, DO IT. Don’t let ANYONE tell you you’re loving your kid too much. There’s a difference between being spoiled and being loved. You can never show your child too much love. There is NO such thing.
Diapers are an interesting (and often terrifying and downright nasty) child experience: you will quickly realize that no matter how disgusted you may think you are cleaning another person’s gross-ness, it really is “ain’t no thang“. You are a boss woman and a little stinky toddler is no match for your power. But be prepared for the inevitable when it comes to what your kid poops in: “Disposable diapers?! Someone must not care much about the planet!” This argument is ridiculous enough to me that I barely feel the need to mention it, but I will say Kudos! to you if you’re a cloth diaper momma-you impress me greatly! I, however, hope that I do enough for the environment elsewhere that I’ll still have good karma with Mother Earth, because I know nothing about that cloth magic. I used disposable because that’s all I knew and what was convenient. But thank the universe those days are almost behind us!
Some parenting issues are deeply personal. Choices you make for your child are yours and yours alone, and it’s SO important to trust your gut and know your child. Nothing will always work out the way you think it will. There will be bad days, but the good days will far outnumber them. I always say that you’ll drive yourself crazy comparing your child to others (Her son is three months younger than mine, why isn’t mine progressing that fast?! But the baby books said NOT to do that! I wish my child would sleep like that child!) and it’s definitely true: remember that they are all COMPLETELY different human beings! Don’t feel bad if your child doesn’t have the newest, fanciest new child rearing fad of the month, and don’t worry if you don’t have ALL of your shit together ALL of the time (I can’t tell you how often I feel like a slimeball in my sweats and messy bun next to the impeccably dressed SAHMs I see at the grocery store), because guess what? Being a mom is hard. But STOP getting down on yourself! After all, if your child refuses to eat anything but mac & cheese for three days straight, is it really going to hurt him in the long run? OF COURSE NOT. 😆
No matter how often someone tells you how you “should” be doing something, or how often you stress yourself out wondering if you’re doing a good job at this whole parenting thing, or how embarrassed you are when your child melts down in public to the obvious annoyance of many, JUST BREATHE. You are a superhero, a genuine badass and a giver of life and love. Do your thing, Momma. Whatever your way of doing that thing may be.
❤️ gonzo momma