Real Life Parenting, No Judgement Please
We love you no matter what, Mom!
(Even when you take a thousand pictures of us a day)
There is a lot of pressure in the new mom community to do everything absolutely perfect for your new baby. And I mean, PERFECT. Research everything, select only the best baby products, use only natural and organic chemical free diapers, wipes and shampoo, non battery operated educational toys, nurse exclusively, never let him cry, make all your own baby food, and keep your baby in a bubble and never expose him to the outside world.
Ok, I am exaggerating. But sometimes it feels this way.
I’ve gone a little bit astray lately. I’ve been reading a lot of “new mom” blogs, and I’ve been getting caught up in a lot of these things again, starting to question the choices I made with Lucas and those I am making with Nathan. I have found my mind wandering and head spinning with anxiety over issues like sleeping and feeding. This morning, a little bit of clarity hit me. Smacked me in the face actually.
I was up early again, before the kids, and in those quiet moments of folding diapers and putting away toys, I realized that I’ve got a pretty good handle on this whole parenting thing. I am growing and evolving as a mom at the same time my kids are growing and learning. I realized I’ve got to stop reading those perfect mommy books and blogs, and stick to the real world parenting that I have developed by following my own rules. I need to remember that I’ve done this before, not by following the rules, but by following my gut and doing what works for my family.
What is real parenting to me?
It is nursing my baby when he is hungry, day or night. Letting him sleep next to me when he is restless. Holding him close when he is upset. Giving him some freedom to explore. Teaching him to sleep on his own. Putting him down when I need a moment. Letting Daddy give him a bottle of formula at night. Wearing him. Letting him “play” with other kids. Weaning on his schedule, whether I agree or not. Feeding him the best quality foods, from jars when I’m busy and home made when I have the time. Putting him in the pack ‘n play with the most obnoxious, colorful, noisy toys so I have a few moments to myself. Using both cloth and disposable diapers. Letting my older son “water” the cement with the hose, share food with the dog, run around naked, pee in the yard, stay up late to play with daddy, and taste my iced tea. Using the television as a babysitter so I can have a shower. Driving the car until they fall asleep, no matter how much gas I use. Calling my mom five times in one day because I just need to talk to another adult. Dragging the kids to target because I need to get out of the house. Leaving the dishes in the sink, and the clothes in a pile so I can just sit on the floor and tickle, hug, and play with my boys. Finally, grabbing every spare minute I can find to breathe, recharge, and blog.
My point? Do what works for you. And be proud of it. I sure am.
Ok so I have worked for 9 different families with babies on a regular basis, plus I've babysat for at least another 10. Those "perfect" moms? They're lying. They might try their best, and they might have a lot of good ideas, but they don't do everything all the time, and I think a lot of them are so stressed out trying to do everything perfectly that they aren't enjoying the time with their babies. Luke and Nathan need food, love, a clean diaper, and shelter. Anything else you give them is icing on the cake, and you give them LOTS more than that. You're doing great.
It sounds to me like you're doing a great job. I agree that online communities can be pretty intimidating no matter the topic, but parenting can seem especially scary because it's so personal and there's so much riding on it. Lucas and Nathan are awesome kids and you should be proud.
Nice post–should be required reading for mamas!
Great post Suzanne! And no, you are not exaggerating about the pressures felt by new moms!
I am very proud of you!! I think you are an awesome mom with loads of patience, good humor and much love. Lucas and Nathan hit the mega jackpot with you and Ryan for parents.
It's true, our kids aren't going to remember if we didn't make all their food from scratch, what diapers they wore, what brand car seat they sat in, but they will remember having their moms at home with them. I think TV is a great invention too:) I know what you mean, sometimes I want to not only survive, but enjoy this phase of life. Good thoughts, Suzanne!
Great Post! I think you always just have to do what works, for you, for your family and for your children!! What other people do are their choices. I always like to pick up what is important to me and leave the rest be. It is hard though to decide but I am of the attitude that you have to do what works for you, cause you are the one living your life 🙂
Thanks friends! If only we could all just trust our instincts and remember that as long as we are doing our best, and loving our kids unconditionally, things are going to turn out great. It's hard to keep the right perspective sometimes, life is a work in progress, and so is being a mom. Thanks for your wonderful comments.
Love the part about dragging the kids to Target just to get out of the house…Target is like Disneyland for me. I could spend hours there and not buy a thing and it definitely cures cabin fever. It was good running in to you the other day…maybe next time I'll run into you at Target, haha!