From the moment you get a positive pregnancy test result and you share your excitement with the world, you get an overload of information from well meaning friends and family (maybe even some of the non-family and friend variety.) Whoever it is, the “advice” doesn’t stop.
Everything from sleepers, to the reasons why you MUST breast feed (because there is no other option), to whether or not you should find out the sex to which stroller to buy. Literally anything and everything.
Then you have your bundle of joy and you think it will stop and be replaced with some love and joy.
N to the O!
That’s when it becomes how long they should sleep in your room and how hard you should be patting them during burping. It also means talking about all the classes and programs that you must join, because your 2 month old baby really needs the social interaction even though he can barely sit up.
Then they turn one and you think, ok he’s a toddler now it must stop right? No, it just turns into “HE’S NOT IN DAYCARE?” (said with a horrified look like I just told them I feed him Mars bars and Twinkies all day everyday) “Is he in any programs for social interaction? You don’t want him to be a social outcast, do you?” Then I start to feel guilty about only having him in two programs, all the while I’m thinking, if I want my son to turn into a mature, responsible person wouldn’t I want him to spend time with mature responsible adults instead of a bunch of other screaming kids that hit and bite and scream?
Here’s my deal. I had trouble breastfeeding, meaning I was not producing enough to feed my child, so I made the decision to start supplementing with formula and pump so that he would still get some breast milk. However the more I pumped, the less there was, and my day turned into constant attempts of futile pumping and stress over not being able to feed him “the best thing I could feed him”. I would constantly hear how I needed to keep trying because it is so much better for him and so convenient for you. I heard it all and I was getting more and more upset and stressed. Looking back, I don’t regret for one second my decision to feed my son formula. Of course I wanted to breast feed but I couldn’t, so what was I supposed to do? Let him starve?
I am made to feel guilty about my decisions as a mom quite often. Not always with words, sometimes with looks. Whatever it is, I am made to feel guilty. When I went back to running, yoga and body conditioning classes three weeks after he was born, I had to deal with the horror from others like I had left him home alone and unattended. Going away on fitness retreat? How could I? You want to know how? I do it because I don’t want my son to grow up feeling that I resent him because I gave things up or “sacrificed” for him. I think that living my life to the fullest, the way I did before he was born, sets a positive example. He will grow up watching my husband and I going on work trips, going to concerts, going away on adults only getaways, etc. and he will know that we will always come back and we come back stronger and happier. This is just a small part of helping him to grow into a successful, happy, independent man.
Here are my “bad mom” confessions.
I’m not a crafty mom. There, I said it. I colour and that is about as crafty as I get. Will I get better at it? Maybe. Never say never, right? (but don’t hold your breath)
I let him watch TV – Curious George, Super Why and Sesame Street – so go ahead tell me that I am destroying his brain cells. We all know deep down that sometimes letting them watch some TV is a saving grace.
I don’t do baking; I order cakes, cupcakes etc from my favorite bakeries. I know my strengths and baking is not one of them. Again, will that change in the future? If he comes to me when he is a little older and says that he really, really wants to bake a birthday cake for his dad, then we will do it together. However, I can promise you that it will not look pretty at all. In fact it will most likely be lopsided and a total mess.
I am not with him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!!! I am a firm believer in setting examples, and running, yoga, fitness classes, are nothing but positive examples for him. Do I miss him when I am not with him? Of course!
These are just a few of my “bad mom” confessions, but I can guarantee that making all of his food from scratch, making sure he gets loads of fruits and veggies daily, making sure he drinks water as his main beverage, having a strict bedtime routine (that includes a bath daily – yes daily), teaching him everything from manners to letters & numbers, to swimming, patience, animals & the sounds they make, to downward dog and upward dog, and everything in between more than makes up for what some may call my “shortcomings.”
My son is 21 months. He knows his letters and he knows what a hippo, panda and a plethora of other animals are. He is fiercely independent and wants to do it all on his own. He sometimes does not stop talking about everything he sees and is absorbing. All of this and so much more is all the evidence I need that all those naysayers are wrong. I will continue to smile and nod when I get any “advice” and if you think I’m a bad mom, then I must be the best damn bad mom there is.
Oh and one more thing, I don’t change for anyone.