You’ve been feeling pretty stressed lately, haven’t you? I know because I have too. You know what really sucks? When you are pregnant, no one tells you that you are going to be berated by opinions, shaming, guilt, and nasty looks or stares at your child and your parenting choices. It actually starts when you are pregnant because people want to know the most intrusive things about your body. They say the most god awful things to your face. One of my personal faves was being told: “You are HUGE.” Gee, thanks, I guess? Or how about, “You are eating lunch meat? No sushi too.” or “You shouldn’t take that medication it could hurt the baby.” For moms that are active and run don’t you dare think to lift weights, run or do any exercise either! We are pregnant blobs and a baby making factory. Our sole existence while pregnant is to sit like a bump on a log, not eat anything or take anything that could hurt our baby, and everyone gets a say in our choices. If we ONLY knew then, it would become 10x worse as a parent, I think most of us would have kept that little sucker in our stomach forever.
Then you have the baby, and OMG you would think the whole world of nasty and obtrusive opinions just vomited all over your milk saturated breasts. You can barely stay awake, and people want to know if you are breastfeeding, bottling, if you had a boy were they circumcised, are you co-sleeping, swaddling, what about blankets or toys in the crib, and is your child using a paci. Everyone has a damn opinion on all of the above topics, and in your postpartum state you often find yourself in fights with strangers online or astonished that a person you just met gave two shits about your son’s penis.
They often say bigger kids bring on bigger problems, and wow, they were not lying. Because then the cuddle bugs turn into tiny terrorist toddlers that scream, throw toys, have no patience, and love to remind us their favorite word is NO. The problems increase to potty training, why your child is still using a pacifier, why isn’t your child reading yet, are you doing a preschool curriculum, do you allow your children to get screen time, how dare you give your child sugar, soda, cake or eat any form of processed food, and finally you really are going to let your child go outside and not wear sunscreen? Seriously, people, this is exhausting and I’m frankly tired of hearing it.
Then God forbid, your child be sick, have any mental health issues, health issues, or developmental delays. For you moms, there are questions about what you did during pregnancy to cause this, why didn’t you just not allow your child more screen time, if you just paid more attention to them they wouldn’t act out, and of course had you known during pregnancy you were carrying a child that is chronically ill you would have terminated right? WRONG. These questions are inappropriate rude and they hurt.
So here it is, Moms, I have got something to tell you and it’s straight from my hip. Despite all the crappy things you read on Facebook from random strangers on random boards, the comments that you hear from well-meaning friends, family or strangers – the truth is – YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. Anyone that questions you or makes you feel otherwise, well they can suck a big fat fart. There aren’t enough people out there that are lifting you up and telling you that you are doing well. Well, I’m here to say it.
First, nothing you ate or didn’t eat or drank or didn’t drink (unless it was copious amounts of drugs or alcohol) likely did any harm to your child. Stop blaming yourself or feeling guilty that you could have possibly done anything to harm them. Our kids are all going to grow up, and no matter what they are more than likely going to be screwed up in some way. It’s life! We are all humans and 99.9% of us are messy, screwed up and simply just doing the best we can. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to not use a screen, read every day, plan their entire day, or feel like you have to put together the most perfect party because some random stranger on Pinterest pinned it to their board. Do these things because you want to do it. If you love planning, do it! If you want to bum around and have no plans, do that too. Listen, we are all just trying to get by the 24 hours we have every day and not kill our children or ourselves from all the stress we feel. So do what you need to do within reason, to keep yourself and your child happy.
Stop listening to the outside voices because as I tell myself every day, “Those that mind DON’T matter and those that Matter don’t mind”. The people that know you the best and love you the most know you are doing everything you can to be the best parent you can be with the resources you have. Your true friends and family will not or should not condone your choices as a parent unless you are harming your child – like being seriously abusive, neglectful, or not present when you are with them. Otherwise, your choices on what your child eats, drinks, watches, don’t watch, plays with, activities they participate in, and strategies you use to help your child cope – are your choices to make and no one else – other than their father – but do they really make the rules with kids anyway?
I want to tell you this is not easy. Seriously, every day I feel myself wanting to pop off on yet another person telling me what I’m doing wrong. However, I remind myself every day they don’t matter. My child is loved, he is safe, he is fed, and he is happy. I am his keeper, his protector, and his decision maker until he turns 18 years old. Let’s all band together and stop shaming one another. The best thing you can do for another mom is to love them, help them and be there for them. As Mom’s we need to band together and unite that the minor things really don’t matter, and what works in one home doesn’t need to work in all homes. I know I’ve had my own moments where it’s been so easy to judge – but I’ll tell you what – I’m done. Even if your kid is running around like a lunatic at the grocery store, I’m not gonna care. I’ll probably give you a fist bump in solidarity and say “Right on”. Pick your battles, momma. Our time with our kids is short and goes fast. Don’t waste any more of that precious time feeling sad, guilty or shamed. You are worthy, you are doing your best, and you are a damn good mom. Screw the haters!
Another mom that’s losing her mind on the daily