You’re a really great mom. Does it feel like bragging? Don’t let it; it’s the truth.
If you look at motherhood from 5,000 feet, it doesn’t usually match that perfect Pinterest board you likely haven’t touched since you went into labor. You’ve assumed a role for which there is no real training. The books are all conflicting and difficult to remember and they don’t always translate to real life. The sage advice is confusing and conflicting. Those with no actual skin in the game feel completely comfortable giving you feedback.
You are judged constantly. The judging hurts. Suddenly, without meaning to…you judge yourself.
You are told to multitask, but be present.
Do it all, but don’t miss a moment.
Don’t compare your life to her highlight reel, but look at this super pretty picture.
Let your child cry, but don’t.
Feed them what you eat, but not too early, and not too late. And it better be organic!
But don’t be a snob.
And don’t give them juice. How dare you.
In all of this, we moms may overthink the one thing in life that doesn’t have to be complicated: loving our kids. Our kids don’t care at all what the world thinks. They are quick to forgive and they adapt quickly.
Emily P Freeman cites the phenomena of collecting gurus in the 32nd episode of her Next Right Thing podcast (“Stop Collecting Gurus“). In it, she says: “If you feel frustrated and pulled in many directions like I have felt, it could be because you’ve been looking for advice about the journey before you, even before you know or understand your destination.”
A practical example: sleep. I have several books on sleep that were all purchased between the hours of 2 and 4am, out of sheer desperation, within the first 10 weeks of Avery’s life. I suppose I had forgotten the simple fact that babies hate to sleep at first, and I also forgot that simply buying the book does not “make it so.” I had to read the books, and I never got more than a few pages in without feeling overwhelmed by the charts and scheduling. I decided it wasn’t for me, and one day, I figured we’d try what had worked with Gracie. Instead of trusting an expert, I trusted my experience.
I won’t go into detail because I think it’s important not to advocate for any particular position on something as potentially polarizing as sleep. Rather, I hope to reinforce that:
1. Everyone has their own normal. Every household looks different.
2. Different things are important to different people. Sleep was something I wanted to focus on, but for other moms, a wait and see approach is better because there are other fish to fry.
3. As our pediatrician told me at my very first visit with newborn Gracie, 3 years old: “You already know her better than anyone.”
It’s so empowering: you already know your kids better than anyone.
So perhaps the best way to accept that you are already doing a great job is to look honestly at your kids, and acknowledge how they look at you. Choose what is important to you. Decide what kind of mom you want to be…and then, seek that out. Pick 3 things to focus on, because you can’t do it all. No one can.
Unsubscribe from the unsolicited and conflicting advice. Leave the moms group if it doesn’t help you. Give yourself space to parent. And again, try to see yourself in the way that your kids do.
What a terrible loss it would be to believe the lie that you are not the amazing mom that you actually are. How awful would it be for our children to internalize our own tendency to sell ourselves short.
Because you are already a great mom.
It’s up to you to accept it.