I’m tired of all of the ‘mommy shaming’ that’s been going around in our culture. Read an article yesterday about a mom whose Facebook post went viral as she talked about being stressed out and ready to spend upwards of $100 on vitamins. VITAMINS! There seems to be this push to give our babies only things that are organic and natural, and to follow every rule the doctor gives us, and to follow all of the advice of the so-called ‘parenting experts,’ and to pretty much be the perfect parent so that we can have perfect, genius babies who defy logic and poop rainbows.
I’ve found myself being stressed a lot over similar things. I mostly worry if my house is clean enough, if my baby is happy enough, if my husband is pleased with how I do things, if I’m doing all the right things a mom should do…And then I think about my mom, and stories and advice I’ve received from other mom’s her age. See, when I was a baby, they didn’t have organic baby food, or a bunch of childproofing equipment, or the crap-ton of information that is now heaped on parents by medical professionals and parenting experts. There were no child-rearing manuals or books to guide my mom. All she had was her mommy gut, her common sense, and things she’d learned from my grandmother and other women in her life who had children before her. Which begs the question: Why do I get so stressed out? Why do lots of parents get so stressed out? I’m really tired of trying to do everything the ‘right way.’
For some people, parenting comes easy and naturally. For the rest of us poor souls, it’s the most challenging learning process of our lives. So if you’re like me, then this is for you! This is for the parents who couldn’t care less if baby’s food is organic. For the mom who doesn’t have the time or energy to craft perfectly portioned, all-natural homemade baby food. For those of us whose homes look like a literal train wreck with laundry stacks a mile high and sinks so full of dirty, smelly dishes people would think you were feeding an entire football team every day. This is for the ones who let our kids watch TV and drink juice boxes. For the parents who are too tired and lazy to put baby in nothing but a diaper when the weather is warm, and leave them in their pj’s all day when the weather is cold. This is for those who give the toy right back to baby after it gets thrown on the ground and for those of us who let their babies cry an extra 10 minutes before we scramble to figure out what it is they want. This is for the parents who throw back a cold one or a glass of wine after baby is asleep (or even when baby is awake sometimes) because we are losing our minds, and the process will only start over again in the morning.
Honestly, my house typically looks like the set for a Quentin Tarantino movie. Just straight up gore and disgustingness. There are toys everywhere, pieces of food lying on the floor that have been there for a week, dishes that smell like a gym, laundry piles taller than my daughter, diapers in random places, and stains or puddles of unidentified liquids that grace our floors. And let’s not even get started with the amount of dust covering every surface of our home.
When it comes to my daugher, I try not to be a helicopter parent. That’s probably why she’s eaten paper, cardboard, plastic, leaves, grass, dirt, dog food, and probably a few other things I don’t even know about. I’ve also learned not to worry too much about what I feed her. She pretty much eats whatever gets put in front of her organic and natural or not. She also watches TV…pretty much every day. It’s the only way I can get her calm enough to take her allergy medication, clip her nails, or do anything that requires her to be distracted. She also hangs out in nothing but a diaper most days. And that nasty floor in my house I talk so much about? Yeah, she plays on it and doesn’t seem to give a rat’s behind whether it’s clean or not. Oh, and did I mention we sleep trained her to an extent? And honestly, the world hasn’t crumbled. I’ve felt like a horrible mother for a lot of these things, but my baby is happy and healthy, and has developed normally for her age. And that’s really what matters, right? That our kids are happy and healthy and loved?
I’m more blessed than most because my husband is a rock star. He takes the baby monitor most nights because baby still wakes up once a night for a late snack. He also helps out around the house when he can and never complains when it’s super gross. He really helps take care of our little one a lot when he’s home from work. But still there are some days that I am so incredibly exhausted, and days when my attitude is not the greatest because dealing with baby girl and her frustration is difficult. I am not a perfect parent, and I never will be. And that’s ok. Because none of us are perfect parents. And for those of you moms (and dads) out there who are making it all look and sound so easy as you prepare perfect sugar-free, gluten-free, flavor-free meals for your little angel who takes long naps, plays quietly in his designated space, speaks 3 languages and does long division by year 2, and sleeps through the night which allows you to have a perfectly cleaned home, a hot, home-cooked meal on the table at the end of the day, and time to knit a blanket before you go to bed, well…bully for you! Oh yeah, and you’re LIARS! No one has it all together. No one. So stop shaming others for their parenting style and the choices they make for their babies. If it’s not your baby, and it’s not blatant child abuse, then butt out!
For those of you like me who struggle, take heart! Because you’re doing a damned good job! If, at the end of the day, your kids are alive, happy, mostly healthy, and know that they’re loved, then victory is yours. I mean seriously, I used to be satisfied that my baby was merely still alive each day in the early months. I’ve even told my mother thank you to her face for not smothering my brother and me in our sleep. Parenting is hard, so cut yourselves some slack. All the things the experts tell you you have to do in order to be a good parent are completely unrealistic. It’s a learning process, so learn from failure and be confident in your parenting abilities. Besides, even if our babies become perfect geniuses, chances are it will have had nothing to do with us and everything to do with God’s good grace. Much love to you all!
And for the record, vitamins (even ones for children) aren’t FDA regulated. If your child is not immune compromised and isn’t on a special diet for some reason, then vitamins only succeed at making expensive pee. You’re welcome!
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 (ESV)
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3