oh dear mommy guilt.
Its amazing how and where it pops up. For years I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough or that something was wrong, maybe I was doing something wrong with my parenting style. Was it the best style? Could I improve? Was I doing some sort of long term damage to my child? You see, it’s everywhere we go, someone saying to discipline a child this way or that way. Swaddle your baby or don’t swaddle your baby. Let them sleep when they want or keep a strict schedule. Spank your child or put them in time out. Don’t let them drink anything but water or just make sure that they are drinking enough whatever it may be. Organic only or the five second rule.
For me, the parenting mistakes or the dreaded mommy guilt first started attacking me just an hour or so after my son was born. I grew up taking care of younger kids, I knew how to properly hold an infant and burp a baby and I was confident I would make a good mom…that is, until I became a mom.
My son was born and all was wonderful. I was his mom, he was mine. To love. To protect. To not let him down.
The nurse who helped deliver him told me it was time to relocate to a new room. I sat down in the wheelchair and he was placed in my arms. I had already nursed him once but as we were pushed down the hallway in the wheelchair he began to cry and I could tell he was hungry but I had not yet gotten past my own insecurities and pulling a boob out in public was not yet natural to me, so I opted for a pacifier. Just until we could get to our room. As soon as I put the pacifier in his mouth the wheelchair stopped and the nurse came around to tell me that was the worst possible thing that I could do as a mother. Literally, those were her words. She told me that he didn’t need a pacifier that he needed to nurse. I knew that. I was going to nurse him but having her tell that to me caused me to doubt myself as a mother.
Maybe it was the hormones, we can blame anything on those bad boys or girls…as I guess they would actualy be since I am obviously female.
So yeah, maybe it was the hormones that caused her words to hurt so deeply but I couldn’t stop hearing her words over and over again in my head and what seemed like an innocent pacifier became something horrible. It became doubt. Doubt in the ability to be a good mother to my son, doubt to know right from wrong. Doubt that I wouldn’t know how to do the best for him and soon everything caused me to worry. Maybe I was doing it all wrong.
But here’s the thing. I’m not doing it all wrong. Yeah, okay sure…I am probably making some mistakes along the way. Maybe my kid will grow up and decide that they don’t want to do something the same way I did it. That’s fine! It really is, I will support them in that because you see, I’m figuring it out as a go. The thing is, only I know my child and only you know your child. What works for my kid may not work for yours because what works for you may not work for me.
There is no one style of parenting, just like there is no one type of parent or child. We are unique and that’s wonderful.
If you are showing up everyday in the life of your kid then you are not failing them. You’re not doing it all wrong.
If you are there to hug your child, you’re not doing it wrong.
If you tell your child that you love them, you’re not doing it wrong.
If you feed your kid. You’re not doing it wrong.
If you check their fever, make sure they are well hydrated when they are sick and nurse them back to health, then you’re not doing it wrong.
If you clean up their potty accidents and teach them to use the toilet on their own. You’re not doing it wrong.
If you point out that others might see something differently, you’re not doing it wrong.
If you are raising them to be independent young adults who can take care of themselves, you’re not doing it wrong.
If they know that you love them, then dear sweet momma, you’re not doing it wrong.
If they know that Jesus loves them, then you are most defiently not doing the whole parenting thing wrong.