I think as mothers we all desire to do the very best for our children, and when we fall short of that we obtain an uncomfortable measure of Mommy Guilt. We feel as if we were made to do and be so much more, and with good reason. We want to do right by our children, and do the right thing. But when it comes down to it there’s really only one right way to mother.
I was recently on a play-date with my daughters, and as the children ran around together the other mother and I talked. I’m not sure what brought the conversation around to this little factoid, but it was something that had been on my mind. I was hesitant, and actually embarrassed to even say it out loud, but finally I just blurted out my confession.
“Here I am pregnant with number three, and I haven’t done a single thing in the last one’s baby book.”
I mean, I hadn’t even written a single word. Not even her birth weight. And the most embarrassing part was that she was almost two and a half years old already. Mommy fail, right?!
So imagine my surprise, and ultimate relief when the other mother of a growing toddler replied, “Yeah, me either!”
The baby book was important. I mean it was a big deal, right? But for me the last couple of years had been a big deal. We had played a lot, fixed about a billion plates of nuggets and macaroni, and taken a lifetime worth of bubble baths. We had learned new words, crawled, walked, potty-trained, and most importantly snuggled for hours. I had not recorded every tooth eruption in a book, but I had memorialized the time in other ways.
And as I sat on the sofa next to a woman like me, a momma who loved the heck out of her babies, I realized we did things our own way. We knew what was important to us, and we went with that.
Some women breastfeed. Some don’t. Some moms wear their babies, and others let them cry it out. Some of them co-sleep, and some make their very own baby food. Some moms only feed organic, and would scoff at disposable diapers. Some women begin their search for the perfect preschool while their child is in utero, and some moms will make the decision to homeschool. Some moms will spend hours on homemade birthday decorations off Pinterest, and others will grab something last minute from the dollar store. Subsequently, each child will have the “best day ever, Mom!”
Some moms will keep a perfectly scrapbooked record of their child’s life, and some of us will enjoy that life in other ways.
I think what it comes down to is this very important truth. My way of mothering is the only right way. For me. The way that works for me is perfectly right for my family, and the way that works for you is what’s best for yours. Because there’s really no single, right way to parent. There’s simply what’s right for you.
Some of us are Pinterest moms, but some of us are Fred’s dollar store moms. Some of us buy a birthday cake from the local, popular cake lady. But some of us go to Walmart. And some of us make our own. And sometimes the batter may be gluten-free. Or sugar-free. Or loaded with tons of sugar!
After years of wasting time watching how other moms mother I have decided that my way is the only right way. It’s the only right way for me.
My kids are happy, healthy, and loved. That is what matters most. And although I would still like to get some of that baby book filled out before I deliver in December, I’m not sweating it if I don’t. Some of us are baby book mommas, and some of us are photo album queens. But all of us are moms doing it the only right way we can. The right way for us.