My son was about 13-14 months old. My husband had just left for Germany. I didn’t know when we would join him. My son slept every night from 7pm-7am. It was nice. Except…I couldn’t fall asleep until 3am because of all the stress and crap that was happening as we were trying to get over to join my husband in Germany.
So what did I do? I put on Elmo and put him in the Pack N Play. I was able to nap for an hour in order to have the energy to get through the day with my toddler. It was then I learned that sometimes as a mom you have to do what you need to do to get through the day. It might not be the best thing, it might not be something that is suggested in parenting books, but I knew at the end of the day it was not going to harm my child and that I needed to do it to get through the day.
I have always been for natural birth. I started reading about it before I even got pregnant. I worked as a doula. I saw first hand the difference in births and natural was what I wanted. I had my first two babies 100% naturally and wouldn’t have had it any other day. Then I got pregnant for the third time and I just didn’t feel as strongly about it. I was tired. I was older and I knew at the end of the day it was going to be okay, whatever I decided to do. So when it came time to have baby #3, I went for the epidural. It was a fast birth. It really wasn’t that different from my other births except for the pushing part. The epidural helped with that. They told me it didn’t have time to kick in but I know it did. I could tell.
I always wanted to breastfeed. I thought it would come very naturally to me and I would enjoy it. Nope. With my oldest we had to basically feed him with a syringe for the first few days. And once he did figure it out, I realized I really didn’t like it too much. I kept going. I went as long as I could, 17 months. Then babies #2 and #3 came. Ben was gone. The support I had with #1 wasn’t there. So I eventually switched to formula with them before they were a year old.
I could go on an on. There are a lot of reasons I could feel guilty about my parenting. There are a lot of things I have done I never thought I would do. There have been tearful days where I just wasn’t sure I was doing anything right.
There are so many reasons why a mom could feel guilty. There are so many ways we don’t measure up. There are many things we could do differently. While I think it is important to always grow as a person and as a mother and to make sure we are on the right path, doing what we need to do for our kids, we also need to let some of that mom guilt go.
The fact is, there are many different ways to raise a child. Most of them all lead to the same place, healthy and well-adjusted adults. I think when we start to worry about every little choice, we make motherhood harder than it needs to be. I try to remind myself of that when I feel guilty for something little, something that really doesn’t matter much. I try not to focus on being a perfect mother, I focus on doing the right thing for my own children and not worrying so much about the little things. Or the fact that I don’t always get it 100% right. Because I know I fail sometimes.
At the end of the day we moms are doing our best. We love our kids and want the best for them. We do what we think is right with the information we have at the time. We should learn from our mistakes but we need to let go of all the guilt that comes with them. I think if we can do that, it will make for a much better life.