Friday, June 8, 2012

Not the Mother of the Year

I haven't been writing as frequently as I used too. Part of that is just that being a full time mama keeps me dang busy, and I don't have the thought or energy at the end of the day. Part of it is that I am a new mother... and nervous about posting to much mommy junk you don't care about, and/or being judged about the stuff I do share.

I was talking with my mom the other day, and sharing with her about how well Sam sat and played in his chair allowing me to do all the dishes, scrub the floor, and make dinner before he started squawking. And then I said-- i may have left him in there too long though. I wonder if he is getting enough stimulation? I wonder if he is getting enough tummy time? I wonder if he is held enough, played with enough, fed enough, learning enough... What I was really saying is I wonder if I am enough?
My mom just shook her head. You are a great mom. You are doing a fantastic job raising a happy, healthy, balanced child.
Even still I feel doubtful. I wonder and worry if I am doing things right, and choose not to share my fears or engage in conversation with other moms, becuase you know what? Moms are mean. They can be the snarkiest, most judgemental group of people. And everyone has different opinions and methods and ideas for raising children, and are quick to judge the opinions of those different than their own.
You know who are the worst though? The breast-feeding nazis. Man, they can take a mom down with no effort at all. Well, I choose to breastfeed because I want to give my child the best possible nutrition and nurturing experience. Good for you. But that statement, while not explicitly accusing, implies if you happen to be a person who couldn't or chose not to breastfeed, all of a sudden you are providing your child sub-par nutrition and no love. Awesome.
I tried. I did. I tried so hard. For three months we tried and tried and tried. But Sam had medical conditions that made it difficult, and I had medical conditions that made it difficult and breastfeeding for us wasn't meant to be. But I cried. I wanted so bad for it to work. I wanted so bad to give my child the best. I cried and I cried and I grieved and I suffered the judgement of the breastfeeding nazis who made me feel like an inadequate woman and mother. And I was was scared to talk to anyone about it.

There are things I am certain has happened to every parent at one time or another that they feel horrible or embarrased about. Z smacked Sam's head on the glass tank at the aquarium... Sam rolled and fell off the bed while I was folding clothes... we forgot to change Sam's diaper one day for 5 hours while we were shopping, and he got the most horrible rash. Not getting the parent of the year award for any of those moments. But you know what? the kid recovered. Even still we're not proud of that stuff and we feel guilty and we are scared to talk to anyone about it.

We have made some different parenting choices than our friends. We started a family shortly after getting married, we cloth diaper, we let him 'cry it out', we are okay with vaccinations, we are trying self-feeding. There are people out there that disagree with us. People would tell us our child isn't going to have enough [fill in the blank] because of the choices we made. I feel myself get defensive when people start asking me about my son-- should they disagree I need solid arguments and evidence for my decisions. I try not to post pictures on FB that are telling because I don't want people to tell me Sam is too young to be eating that pickle, or that their child was crawling at Sam's age, or that I should be breastfeeding him til he's two-- wait what?! You're not breast feeding??? I have recently become interested in photography and had someone criticize me for posting a picture in which I had edited a scratch off my kid's face. Apparently editing your baby is not loving and accepting who they are. And that's why I am scared to talk about being a mom.
I have enough self-talk telling me I am not enough. I don't want it from others.

But I am writing this today, because I want to challenge myself and all the moms out there. And all the dads and grandparents and aunts and friends and nurses and bloggers and facebook posters and casual onlookers...
Parenting is tough. It's super tough. Lets not make it tougher on each other. Let's encourage, and not judge. Support each other, not tear each other apart. Speak honestly, and not take passive aggressive jabs at each other. Listen and love and comfort and celebrate with each other.

Because I am ready to share. I want to share with you. Sam is an awesome kid, and I think he deserves some blog time, in spite of my parenting choices.