My husband has always said it best, “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.”
Worry is in the job description as a parent, right up there with providing food and buying cute footed pj’s. The challenge lies in finding the optimal amount of worry, a level that will let you protect them without diminishing you of your sanity. It’s truly amazing how prepared you can be for parenthood, only to have everything you thought you knew fall to the wayside.
I remember that frightening first night bringing Paisley home from the hospital. I wasn’t sure what to do and lack of confidence of being the mom she needed was settling in. Why is she crying? She’s fed, her diaper is dry, temperature is normal…omg, is she ok!? Should we take her to the ER?? *cue baby passing gas and falls asleep instantly*
Every decision seemed momentous and I over analyzed every step to be the perfect mom. Will I make it an entire year breastfeeding? Should I turn off the tv if she seems interested? Is it ok to let her cry it out?
I Googled everything (because everything you read on the internet is factual right?!?) and the way the research was translated easily penetrated my vulnerable state of mind. If I needed a short break and I let Paisley watch Sesame Street, her IQ would certainly drop. If we missed story hour before bedtime she surely wouldn’t learn how to read. If she wasn’t walking by 12 months she’ll never be able to play sports!
It took me about six months of motherhood to realize that I was doing about everything wrong. Now that I am a little more “seasoned” I tell new moms that they shouldn’t be worried to make mistakes as a mother.
I am the queen of mom mistakes. I made a ridiculous laundry list of things I wouldn’t let Paisley eat, play with, or watch. That lasted a short time and was completely abandoned when I became pregnant with Jack. I was compromising on every aspect just to survive the first trimester toilet runs and it honestly was the best thing to happen to me as a mom.
The irony in my quest to seeking perfection actually inhibited my ability to parent effectively. Social media has intensified this feeling because parents can look at what other parents are doing, and judge themselves upon comparison. But I promise the “perfect parents” you see on Instagram are changing blow outs, their house is a mess, and they have cried to their significant other wondering if the day with a crying baby will ever end.
We’ve missed more bedtime stories than I can count, watch Sesame Street episodes as a family, and work on my daughter’s coordination in hopes of a college athletic scholarship…and guess what? I’ve never been happier or more proud of our parenting!
The big picture is what is important and what you see on social media may not represent the reality of their parenting experience anymore than it represents yours. So don’t sweat the small stuff, get off the rocking chair (unless you’re nursing at 3 am!), stop worrying. There will be bumps and bruises along the way but I’ve decided the best gift we can give our children is the ability to be perfectly imperfect.