Last week we went to Scheels – Zac, Kai & I. I was terrified. This was really the first public store I had to “be a parent” in. I had this instant anxiety sweep over me – I worried I wouldn’t be seen as a “good mom” … because clearly everyone there had nothing better to do than watch me parent…
Pre-kids, I’d scroll Pinterest & pin all of these inspiring quotes, in depth parenting strategies/styles, super educational activities, perfectly matching outfits, photo ideas… you get the idea. I created boards that were going to mold me into a “good mom.” From the start of pregnancy, I referred to these boards. From timelines of when to get certain things done around the house throughout your 9 months of pregnancy to how to have the perfect birth from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely pieces of those blogs/sites that I found helpful, but fast forward to actually giving birth – guess how many of those pins helped me through that process? In those first couple weeks that we had a newborn baby in our home, a tiny helpless human that 100% relied on us to keep him alive… guess how many of those pins helped me parent then?
As we started navigating teething, sleep regressions, sleep schedules, wake windows (all things fricken sleep related), starting solid foods, moving up in diaper & clothing sizes, complete total meltdowns… all things that I have pins about on one or more of my boards… I still felt at a complete loss. See it wasn’t that I wasn’t referring back to these other pins – I was pulling them up on my phone every single time Kai would start crying – but the problem is those Moms/researchers/writers, don’t have a Kai. What works for your child, likely won’t work for Kai & what works for Kai, probably won’t work for your child. Did it stop me from trying to follow those pins though? Oh hell no. Every single time I’m presented with a challenging situations, I use every possible resource I can to fix the situation. Does it work? Not typically. But ya know what does work? Trial & error. Trying each one of those resources & combining the components that work for our baby & our family.
So back to our Scheels adventure … I didn’t want a cart because I wanted to use the escalators rather than find the elevators, so the plan was to just carry Kai in, but of course he was sleeping so we decided to just bring his carrier in….. & then he woke up almost immediately upon reaching the doors so really we could have just left the carrier… I was literally crumbling inside from the second we got to those doors. Kai started getting a tish fussy so Zac suggested I take him out & he’d just carry the carrier while I carry Kai. I immediately wanted to just hit pause & pull up Pinterest … there HAD to be an article somewhere telling me how to function in public with an awake fussy baby. I felt like each corner we turned, eyes were staring.
“Why is her baby not in that carrier? Why are they carrying it instead?”
“Shouldn’t they be home starting supper? Or playing outside with him?”
“Did he just spit up? Doesn’t she burp him after he eats? She should change his clothes now – they’re dirty.”
Upon leaving, Zac asked if we should hit up a home goods store of sorts & then sit down for supper somewhere before we headed home. I couldn’t. & I broke down in the car on the way home because of it. I felt ashamed. Like I was somehow parenting wrong. I couldn’t handle going into public again & feeling like everyone’s eyes were on me. Kai was going to get fussy – likely spit up excessively again – his outfit would be a disaster & he’d smell like breastmilk worse than it already did – he would likely end up crying & god knows nobody likes listening to a crying baby. It would distract people’s shopping experience or their supper. My anxiety would be so through the roof I’d need to retreat to the bathroom to just stop myself from having a total panic attack & my poor husband would be stuck trying to calm a screaming baby who just needed a boob in his mouth to relax a bit. See where I’m going with this?
But what if none of those things happened?
- Your child crying doesn’t make you a “bad mom.”
-A comment FREQUENTLY made by my husband
- Your child spitting up also doesn’t make you a “bad mom.”
-Another comment he’s had to tell me too many times
See the thing is, our society tells us that the quiet, happy, eating, sleeping baby is a “good baby,” which in turn makes you a “good mom.” But why can’t there be a correlation between the crying, fussy, spitting up, wide awake baby, & us still being “good moms?” Because at the end of the day, we’re still doing the best damn job we can. It’s true though… in the moment, it is SO DAMN HARD to remember this. Because in the moment, all we can think about is how terrible of a mom we are. & telling a mom that she isn’t a bad mom, when she truly believes with her whole heart, in that moment, that she isn’t being the best mom she could/should be… isn’t even worth it. Boy us moms can be pretty damn stubborn, but that’s a topic for a new day. So I’m challenging myself & I’m challenging any other mom reading this that can relate, to think about this next time you’re questioning if you’re being a “bad mom” or a “good mom” …
Our children don’t need us to be perfect moms. They just need us to be REAL moms.
Have a wonderful 4th of July ladies!
Real (Unfiltered) Mom out!