There is no perfect way to be a a good mother, each situation is unique, each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children… What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.
There is something that has been playing on my mind for a while. You see I didn’t realise this when I was expecting Elliot, but when you become a mom you don’t “just” become a mom, you also become a member of the Parent club, willingly or not. But it doesn’t end there, questions arise… what kind of mom do you want to be? Who do you look up to? How have you chosen to raise your child? Have you chosen at all or are you winging it? This “Parent club” is not always one happy supportive community, sometimes it can be ever so busy labelling each other or themselves, judging one another. As Lucy’s Locket puts it:
…when we label ourselves it is often the stereotype that is conjured up in the imagination of those who don’t know us.
Its been playing on my mind because I myself have been guilty of doing it! I’m not proud to admit that before I felt like I had found my footing as a mum, back when I was very much still in a state of constant survival mode, I would find myself comparing, labelling and I’m sad to admit judge too. I think I judged because I didn’t know any better, because I was afraid that if what others did was different, then maybe what I was doing was wrong? Now that I feel out of the fog of early days with a newborn, I’ve thankfully started to see things differently! We can’t all be doing the same because (news flash) we are all different and so are our babies, I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that our babies are in fact tiny humans and just like us they have different personalities, different likes and dislikes.
So lets take a look at me! What labels could we stick on me? Now if I look at me I think some might call me a “Hippie mum” or label me an “Attachment parent”. Honestly I don’t mind! as long as it’s not accompanied with judgement or stereotypes, based on ideas more than the facts. We don’t have to agree on everything, as long as we agree that we all put the welfare of our children first. I think stereotypes and “negative labels” stem from ignorance or shall we say lack of insight to the other persons life. So here is our story: When I was pregnant I had every intention of reading books on how to raise a child – what to expect and such. I like to be prepared, but for some reason I never got around to it. Work got in the way, and then once on maternity leave, laying in all my whalesome glory binging Netflix got in the way. Today I’m quite glad I didn’t dive into all the books out there, as I fear some of those books might have made me feel like I was failing as a mum (Read more than I was already convincing myself I was). Turns out my baby didn’t remember to download the manual on how to be a ‘good baby’ and eat on set times and sleep through at 6 months or whatever other lovely snippets I’ve found in various parenting books and pamphlets. My baby woke hourly to begin with, he was pretty much attached to my boobs 24/7 and at 10 months he is still not sleeping through the night. I am not trying to raise my child following some dogma, or by the rules of a self-proclaimed parenting experts advise. So far I have raised my child following my gut! The choices I’ve made have been because it felt right, and works for our family.
So what works for our family? Here goes: We co-sleep, I breastfeed, I wear my baby in a sling (J has a buckle carrier) and we try and follow Elliots lead when it comes to weaning, we’ve not gone full on BLW as a combo works for us. We’ve basically followed Elliots lead on it all. As I said this wasn’t a conscious decisions, we co-sleep because he would only sleep on me or close to me when he was newborn (thank you to the person that told me about the 4th Trimester!) and now at 10 months as he still wakes for feeds during the night, I honestly can’t see myself getting a better nights sleep if he was in a different room, especially seeing as he now refuses a dummy – he only wants the real deal, not even a bottle will do, much to my dismay, believe me I’ve tried! But there comes a time (after you’ve ordered a dummy all the way from the states because of its alleged magical abilities, and then it arrives and mostly looks like a tiny willy! Like what the actual F***!) when you have to stop trying and accept defeat. I breastfeed because it’s convenient and it gives him comfort and for now I’m happy with that. When I had Elliot all I thought was I hope I make it to 6 months of breastfeeding, I didn’t plan to continue, but now 10 months on it just feels natural to me. That’s the way it’s been with our choices so far, it has felt right.
Now I love, love, love Baby wearing, In my opinion the sling is magic! It allows me to get on with things whilst keeping my curious boy happy. Honestly he has grown so fast in these 9 months, I’m just happy to get all the slingy cuddles I can get, before I know it that time will be over! I didn’t know I would love baby wearing, at first it was out of desperation! Despite having bought an expensive travel system Elliot couldn’t have cared less, he hated not beeing on me and would scream and cry if I hadn’t magically managed to get him to sleep and then transferred into the Pram – Only to have to constantly be moving, seeing as he woke so easily. I quickly learned that it was a lot less stressful for me to be out and about if I just carried him in the sling. If only I had known before we bought the silly expensive pram!
I made my choices so far because they’ve worked for us, simple trial and error. Like with our bedtime routine, I tried putting Elliot down in his own crib, he just wasn’t happy about it one bit, and so we co-slept, first out of necessity and now because it works and feels right, if it’s not broke and all that. That’s pretty much the story of many of my choices:
Happy baby = Happy mum
So what am I trying to say? I guess as a new mum the parenting community can be quite overwhelming and it can be easy to pass judgment, I just wish we where better at just acknowledging each other and accepting that not one shoe fits all! And that we are all just trying our best to manoeuvre through this parenting jungle. I’m sending lots of love out to all new mammas, you’re doing a great job, and trust me it will get easier and one day you might even find yourself writing a blog about you and your family life because it’s just that damn great!
Is there something you wish you could have told yourself as a newbie mum? Have you found yourself judging or perhaps being at the receiving end?