Since baby came around, I’ve somehow become ensnared in the mommy competition. It was a slow downward spiral, and I’m not sure I was entirely cognizant of it until the other day. I was surfing a website I’m subscribed to which focuses on natural childbirth, etc., and something they said made me rather sad about being unable to have an intervention-free birth. And then I had a light bulb moment – why the hell would I be sad or mourn for the birthing process I went through? Our story is our very own, and it wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t have a stroke, or an embolism. My son and I both made it through alive. I have so very much to be grateful for, yet I let my idealism blind me to all of the good fortune I’ve had.
My life is messy. Yes, yes it is. In fact, I’m pretty sure I found a dirty diaper at the bottom of my diaper bag, today, that had been there for God only knows how long.
…That was an overshare, huh?
I went to a mommy group today and we (inevitably) traded birth stories, and I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt to hear other women tell me they asked for an epidural as soon as they were admitted to the maternity ward. The truth is, nothing is quite as humbling as raising a little human. The standard is oh-so-high (this ‘standard’ I’m referring to is my own, but I suspect every mom has this imagined standard in her heart), and entirely impossible to live up to. I could never give my little man everything that he deserves, despite my best intentions. Today, I watched other mommies smile and laugh about it (as opposed to beating their heads against a wall for being the worst mommies ever!), and I decided that I forfeit. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for me it meant going through and unsubscribing from any webpages/blogs/facebook feeds that left me feeling the slightest bit inadequate. Yep. I am no longer an attachment parenting, babywearing, breastfeeding, natural birth advocate according to social media. I am just a mom. The best mom I am capable of being, and that’s just gonna have to be enough for my son. I love him so, so much, that I will never be able to doenough to express that. I give up holding myself to the ‘right way’ of doing things according to all of the latest research. Because, quite frankly, the anxiety that I’m going to screw my kid up if I don’t do A, B, and C is keeping me from being emotionally present. And in the long run, I think he will appreciate having a mother’s open, joyful heart much more than he will appreciate the time and money she spent dicing up organic avocados in a futile attempt at baby-led weaning.
Perhaps I simply have too much time on my hands! Maybe tonight I’ll lobby for Baby #2.
Okay, friends! Any advice for REAL parenting and letting go of the perfect mommy in my imagination is highly encouraged! 🙂 Please and thank you.