Moms have so many decisions to make. It can be very overwhelming and confusing. We have ideals in our head of how we want to parent, what methods of discipline or type of diapering we’ll use.
We read all the books, blog posts, articles, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts on this method or that. A lady at church or stranger at Walmart shares their opinion or experience with a certain product or style. We watch what our friends are doing and the choices they’re making, and we may think, “That seems to be working for her, maybe I’ll try it”.
We try the thing, but it doesn’t seem to be working, or we feel anxious about whether we made the right choice.
The spectrum of ideals is so widely different, we can get emotional whiplash just reading the online reviews trying to figure out which brand of diaper to use.
Home birth or hospital, natural birth or epidural, bottle-feed or breastfeed, cloth or disposable diapers, pacifier or no pacifier, the list is literally endless! That’s not even touching on the education choices for our children.
Many of us tend to surround ourselves with people who share our same philosophies. A lot of our friends or moms at church might be doing home births, disposable diapers, or breastfeeding. It’s really easy to compare and think we have to do all the same things to fit in.
We tend to attach “good vs. bad” judgments on choices when sometimes it’s not “right or wrong”. Who made these “rules” anyway?? Usually there is not sin attached to most of these choices. They’re not moral dilemmas. Generally speaking, whatever we choose will be okay. It’s what works for us.
I had a pretty solid idea going into parenting what I wanted to do. I read all the books, blog posts and articles I could find supporting it. As time went on (and I actually birthed some kids) some of the things I did weren’t working like I thought. So, I pitched those and discovered other things that worked.
Each of my three children were completely different. So I had to adjust my methods through LOTS of trial and error.
For example, my first born was an incredibly fussy baby. He never wanted to be put down. I was so frustrated!
I was very adamant I would never give any of my children pacifiers. But a couple weeks into having a brand-new baby, my husband pleaded with me to just try the pacifier and see if it worked to settle him down. I did, it worked, and was a sanity saver!
The rest of my children would not take one and kept spitting it out. I didn’t have time to sit there and hold it in their mouths. Neither of those children were very fussy babies, so I didn’t feel like I needed it anyway.
I have so many more examples of my lofty, picture perfect ideals that got swept away or failed miserably. Like the period of time I tried making homemade baby food, freezing it in advance and serving to my baby who turned his nose up at it unless it was applesauce or mashed-with-a-fork banana. Come on kid! You ruined my fantasy of having a super frugal food budget and a perfectly healthy baby.
I want to encourage moms that:
- It’s okay not to choose the things everybody else is doing. PLEASE don’t feel bad about it like I did.
- Give yourself permission to not commit to something so hard that you feel guilt and shame if it turns out that method or product isn’t working; you didn’t fail or quit. We aren’t totally in control of our kids or our own lives. Sometimes circumstances happen that dictate another choice be made.
- Don’t sit in judgment of others around you for not “doing it right” or make them feel bad what they’re doing or not doing is unhealthy for their child.
- Be confident that you’re making the most informed choice you know in that particular season. If it’s not working, dump it and try something different. Don’t be afraid to experiment. We learn as we go what works and doesn’t work for us, each child and every season in life.
In those early years of sleep deprivation, crying babies, hormonal roller coaster rides, dirty diapers nine times a day, endless feedings, and possibly even post-partum depression, WE ALL feel such a heavy burden to not mess it up and damage our kids. We’re all in this together! No matter how perfect our Instagram feeds look… I guarantee we are all feeling insecure about some choices we’re making with our parenting.
Let’s speak words of life and encouragement to ourselves and other moms, recognizing we don’t need permission or validation from others.