To the Mom Who's Doing It All Wrong

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hey, momma. You're doing it all wrong.

At least that's how it can feel some days. 

Here's how it usually goes: You're going about your day, loving your family, doing your best. There's a comment here and a comment there, advice from a stranger, side-eye from a parent at the playground.

Breast is best, you know. 
If you'd only give them a bottle, they'd sleep through the night.

We keep toys to a minimum in my house.
You don't have the latest ___ for your kid? 

You stay at home? I don't know how you do it.
You work outside the home? I don't know how you do it.

You'd better be more strict with your kids so they actually learn manners.
You'd better be more lenient with your kids so they can enjoy their childhood.

You only want one? The poor child will miss out on siblings!
You want more than one? The poor child will have just a fraction of your attention!

My kid's a great eater because _____.
My kid's a great sleeper because _____.

I'm so glad I don't have to miss out on one minute of my child's life.
I'm so glad I'm instilling independence in my child by not hovering around them.

There is constant background noise in parenthood, and it's not just from your kids. There are so many opinions coming from so many sources, so much chatter, so many filtered images of perfect-looking parenting that instead of feeling surrounded by support, we can end up feeling just the opposite: lonely. 

Here's what I think can help during this season of unrelenting background noise: Keep your eyes and ears peeled for truly supportive friends, and don't be afraid to reach out to them, lean on them, chat with them daily. Be the same kind of friend, because it goes both ways. Allow yourself to be open to advice (yes, others do have valuable insight to offer) but don't be afraid to filter out the unnecessary or unsolicited kind. Follow your gut: If something is right for everyone else but just doesn't feel right for your family, go with it. Try your best to be authentic because a world obsessed with image desperately needs your authenticity. Be willing to consider the fact that you may not know it all. Be unapologetic in your advocacy for your children. Be kind to yourself.

The truth is: second guessing yourself is part of the job description. It's natural to question your decisions and want to do everything "the right way" for this little person (or people) who you love so much. The very fact that some days you feel like you're doing it all wrong means this: You're doing it right, friend. So very right. 

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