I’m a member of a few moms groups. Love them! We talk about stuff that makes us better moms. Like, what to do when your toddler sticks his hands down his pants in public, or how to get nail polish off your walls, or when and how to sneak vegetables into your toddler’s meals, or recommendations on a good counselor for depression/anxiety, which I call “adjusting to the new normal”. These are things that are helpful. Then, there is the stuff that isn’t so helpful.
It’s the stuff that new moms let get to them. How should my kid react to large groups of people or should my kid be spending more time with board books and less time with music or is it the other way around? Should I spend more time imagining with my kid because I work full-time? Who’s scared of the [fill in the blank], and what will you do if your kid has it/does it/misses it?
A Fire Pit of Shoulds and What Ifs
As a mom you’ve been given a huge responsibility without any prior experience. Most working professionals wouldn’t make it past the first ninety days if they were given your role without any training, and that’s what parenting is: a crash course with the real tiny person. Nobody else was given your role, and they don’t have your kid, you do. That’s the way it’s meant to be, and that’s why “ifs and shoulds” need to go up in flames.
The questions of doubt typically starts with the words “What if?” and/or “Should I?”. These words need to leave our thoughts because I think they are corrupting our freedom as parents. All the moms can stand around the crackling fire on a crisp fall evening, while their kids are home with a babysitter who isn’t charging for that night. Everyone will have a glass of wine, beer or bourbon while watching those ifs, shoulds, and doubts go up in a blaze.
Then, just for the heck of it, moms will look across the flames and speak words of encourage to each other. They’ll say things like, “You’re doing the best you can and that’s what your kid needs!”, and “I’m not giving you permission to compare your parenting style to my parenting style…want another glass of Merlot?”, and “I promise not to give advice unless you ask for it, and it can’t begin with ‘should I be…'”.
Go With Your Intuition
Let your intuition guide you. Read a few things here and there, but don’t take them as fact. Except that stuff about not feeding honey to your kid before one year. That’s a fact. But most of the other things about parenting are about your best attempt. “Try” without fearing, without should-ing, and without what-if-ing.
Be In Community
It is so important to be in a community of moms to learn with and shoot the shit about all the shit you clean up. But, please moms, I beg of you to trust yourself. Your little person, whom you have an emotion for that words can’t describe, is learning to trust. When you trust yourself your kid will trust you, and that is the beginning of something grand.
Cheers to Trusting
I’ve been a mom for almost two years, which feels at times like twenty years or ninety days depending on the day or my caffeine intake. At the exact moment I held my little boy I felt something I still can’t put it into words, but that feeling is what makes me connected to my son and the perfect mom for his personhood. And, for that, I choose to trust myself.
Go ahead, choose to trust yourself and embrace the journey of trying. Cheers to that!