To all the moms out there,
I feel like I owe you an apology. Especially if I have been you in recent years with a young child. I am sorry for all the judgement that ran through my head. It is so easy to think you know it all when you don’t have children. I mean, really, how hard can it be? Shut up, childless Laura.
I see myself as fairly logical and I knew “the right way” to raise a child. Ha, like that is a thing. But damn, you guys, I truly had no idea. I had no idea how hard it is to follow all these expected rules and pressures that society and other mothers put on you. Depending on who you are talking to you are strongly encouraged to breastfeed. Or bottle feed. Or don’t give a pacifier. Or give a pacifier. Or cloth diaper. Or use disposable. Or, or, or. There isn’t a single child related question that receives “meh, do whatever” as its answer across the board. Oh no. There will be one person (or five) who jumps at you, educating your poor little naïve brain about “the right way.”
Before my son, I would hear my friends talk about how they would cave and give a bottle to their over-one-year-old child even after they made the decision to switch to sippy cups. Or I would pass judgement on the mom carrying her child in the winter with no socks on, thinking “do you want your child freeze?!” I would quietly complain in restaurants when I would hear a kid screeching or after the family gets up, leaving Cheerios everywhere.
To all of you, every single one, I apologize. To every mother I thought negative or “the right way” thoughts about, I am truly sorry. I know better now. I have a son who, despite our best efforts, pulls his shoes and socks off immediately after we put them on. No. Matter. What. I am the mother carrying her son into daycare in 30 degree weather with no socks on because they are in my hand. I have a son who is refusing to drink milk (or formula) from a sippy cup. He just won’t. do. it. We started a week ago and after 3 days of only drinking water and juice, I caved. I practically ran into the kitchen to get his bottle just so he’d drink some damn milk. I cringe every single time my child makes a loud noise in a public place, or as I carry him on to a plane, because I know what people are thinking and assuming. My son is an angel 90% of the time, but he is still a kid. That isn’t going to change. I am the parent who sometimes leaves a mess behind because my son decided he wants to throw a handful of Cheerios on the floor and I don’t notice until I have crushed them into a billion pieces.
When you become a parent, you try your very best. You listen to advice from everyone, including all the unsolicited advice. You try to do what people tell you is “the right way” but it’s hard to listen to your child scream and cry out for you. It is hard to watch them beg for their pacifier. Or whatever else you definitely are not supposed to be doing yet somehow it is still happening. And sometimes you cave or maybe you just aren’t ready yet. Let me tell you a little secret.
It isn’t the end of the world.
You are doing great! Try everything and anything people suggest if you want, but please know that no matter what look people give you, “politely” suggest, or mumble under their breath as you pass by that you are doing everything right for your family. Nothing else matters. Pinky promise.