Before I start – You, the one reading this right now. You are a good mum! Society puts a lot of pressure on many things and one of them is parenting. No matter how you decide to parent your children, someone will have something to say about it. Many people love to sit back and judge all of your parenting choices, even if it is a good choice so sadly, it is something we all need to learn to deal with.
The bar is set very high from the moment people find out you are pregnant. You will be filled with advice from other mums, which do not get me wrong, is sometimes helpful but a lot of the time it is not. Some people get offended when you don’t take their advice, which I personally think is rude! Awesome you did not wrap your baby – that is great for you! However, that did not work for me because EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT! Everyone needs to remember they were a first time mum once too and they would not have taken every single bit of advice thrown at them.
Every baby is different – four simple words that can change a lot! For me remembering these four words has been important and helped me keep perspective. There are so many boxes your baby is meant to tick at each age, so many milestones they are meant to hit in a certain timeframe and so much weight and growth they are meant to hit. The problem with this is – we panic. We put so much pressure on these things happening when they are meant to happen when we should not. Don’t get me wrong there does come a time when if a baby is not hitting his or her milestones etc, it is important to get checked out to make sure everything is okay. However, we need to remember things like – not every baby is ready for solids at the same time, not every baby crawls, some babies walk and don’t crawl, some babies take longer to talk and so on. I could make a list that goes on and on but the point is do not stress yourself out about these things! It will happen when they are ready to do it! Some kids are more advanced than others are and some take a little longer. This does not make your baby any less normal then anyone else’s nor does it make you any less of a mum!
On top of that there is the ‘You should’. You should be doing this with your baby; you should be doing that with your baby. Well actually no, you should be doing what you are comfortable with doing, what works for you as a mum. You are the mum, you spend every hour with your baby and you know what is best. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error but in the end you figure it out and I think this is an important step of parenting. If I did not make mistakes as a parent, how am I meant to better myself? I want to be the best mum possible and that comes with making mistakes and learning from them. Remember all the mistakes you have made in life? Remember how that has taught you valuable life lessons? Well it is the same with parenting, so do not beat yourself up! It’s all part of the rollercoaster ride!
There is a lot of pressure on parents to do it on their own and if they accept help, people seem to think they can judge you. Not only is there pressure from others but also pressure from ourselves. I know that I take my mum duties very seriously. I am my own biggest critic. I had this baby so I should be doing all the hard yards. I don’t ever bow down and crumble
asking for help. I push and push myself to my limits. I secretly love it though, I love doing all my motherly duties but I need to remind myself it is okay to ask for help if I need it and do something for myself every now and then because we need to look after ourselves too!
I think a lot of the pressure we put on ourselves can sometimes come from the people closest too us. It makes me angry that family and friends think it is okay to judge you but unfortunately, it happens! As I have said in previous posts, my mum and I are very close. I spend a lot of time with my mum and this has given people many mixed messages. My mum is a snapchat queen – Hah! When we go to visit, she is so proud of her little grandie, she does not hesitate to post about it on her good ol snapchat story and Facebook! I am fine with this but for some reason it gave people the impression that mum always has Harlee! I have heard of comments being made like ‘Lacey will be fine having two kids because Loma is more of a mother to Harlee than she is.’ As you can imagine, that one comment of the many really hurt. I have always been the one to attend to my child when she needs it. I have never expected mum to take over. I can count on my fingers how many times mum has watched Harlee for me and those times are usually only for a few hours at a time. Harlee has only ever had one sleep over there by herself – when she was seven months old and it was my birthday. It is sad that I should feel like I have to justify myself and that these comments mostly come from the people you’d expect they wouldn’t! I have learnt to not let these comments phase me and I just ignore them. I know I’m a good mum and if people can’t see that they are clearly not as important as you thought! So as hard as it can be, try not to let these comments get to you because unfortunately people are always going to judge you.
It takes a village to raise a child or children! Accept that you do not have to raise your children alone and if people are willing to be there for you, let them! Your village may be small or your village may be massive! You just do what works for you. My village consists of Ben and I – We run the village and my mum and her partner Carly – They help us keep our village from going to war, Hah! They leave Ben and me to do our thing as parents but if we do need them or need a break or even just a date night, they are willing to help. You have to trust the people in your village and that is why I keep my village small. Children are the most precious things in our life so most of us mums have a hard time trusting people with our little pots of gold! Therefore, when you do find the people you trust, pull them close and keep them in your village.
So, mums, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you co-sleep or don’t co-sleep, if you breastfeed or formula feed, if you take a break, if you stay home or go back to work and so on and so on, you are a good mum! No matter your decisions, you are a supermum. If you can look at your baby and say she is happy, healthy and loved – you are smashing mum life. You do what you want to do because mumma’s you know what is best for you and your family!