Ah, mommy guilt. Feel free to leave at any time, will ya?
Unfortunately, it comes with the territory of being a mom, and unless you can find a way to quell it, it will always be there, nagging in the back of your mind.
Come on, moms....you know what I'm talking about!
Before your baby is born, you have this idealistic expectation of what will happen as you raise your little angel. "My baby will never sleep in my bed. Nor will he/she watch tv, eat anything that is not homemade and/or organic. We will spend our days snuggling on the couch, reading educational books and listening to classical music."
Yeah, this was pretty much my idea before Lily was born. I was going to cultivate and raise this healthy, spiritually aware little being that would never know the likes of Sesame Street or Yo Gabba Gabba before the age of 2. She would slumber peacefully in her own bed for 12 hours straight and would be perfect.
WRONG! And I have to laugh, because this is where the guilt comes in! And this is why....
1. I plunk her in front of the TV every day for at least a bit... for my own sanity. I need to make myself something to eat.. .or just sit on the computer for 10 minutes so that I can have a moment to myself. But here comes the guilt: Is her language development getting hindered by watching this silly program? We could be reading an educational book right now, spending more quality time...
2. She sleeps in my bed. Every night. Everyone says "you really should put her in her crib. Just let her cry it out. Crying never hurt anyone" (you know, I really need to get a t-shirt for Lily that says 'my mom doesn't want your advice'). Anyways, so here I am, feeling immensely guilty that I am not teaching my daughter healthy sleep habits by letting her sleep in our bed. And further, she's mobile now, and there is a very large chance that one of these days she's going to bail out of bed onto her noggin on the hard floor.....
3. I give her tylenol. And I think... am I giving it to her more than I should? My mind wanders to my earth-mama friend who matter-of-factly states that none of her children have ever had tylenol... that when her kids have fevers, they get water and snuggles and that does the trick. WTH??? My mind wanders to last night, when at 4:30 am my daughter's 3 day fever stint had returned with a vengance, and her poor little body was burning up. So I stumble out to the kitchen and grab the tylenol, and attempt to rouse a sleeping child to administer it. Of course, she's pissed that I woke her up, and half the first dose trickles all over her chin and onto the pillow (yes, we sleep with pillows near baby. judge away people). So, I fill the plunger up with another dose and into the mouth it goes. And then for good measure, one more dose. Realistically here, I have no idea how much I have just given her, because she spat a lot of it out, and that silly tylenol dispenser sucks. And now my mind is wandering into the guilt territory again, thinking OMG am I damaging her liver by od'ing her on tylenol??? Did she get enough?? Will the fever go down???? and so on.....guilt guilt guilt. Worry worry worry...
4. I don't make her baby food. I got a baby bullet for a shower gift and I was so excited to put it to use. When the time came, I went to the organic market and stocked up on veggies and fruit to blend up to perfection.
I think I made one batch of sweet potatoes for her. The look on her face when I proudly served her the first spoonful was priceless. It was as if I had just served her doggy doo. She shuddered and spat it all out, and never touched another bite. Same thing with the bananas that I pureed. And the avocado. So now the baby bullet collects dust in the pantry and picky-eater Lily will tolerate "certain" organic jarred foods, but for the most part, survives off of breast milk and cereal puffs. Worry worry worry....guilt guilt guilt....is she getting enough protein? Vitamins?
I could continue for days here, but why beat myself up? Although I am giggling to myself as I write this, it is also re-hashing that guilt and worry again.
However, just by writing this, is is reminding me to catch myself before those emotions get the best of me. Because I guarantee that any mom out there that is reading this is either agreeing with me or relating to this post in some way or another. We're all in the same boat here, with our ideals about our children and how they will grow up and thrive. And we all come to the realization that those ideals don't always pan out. Nevertheless, I think that raising children is a series of small battles and even larger victories, and at the end of the day, if your child knows that they are loved, it's not the end of the world if you give them a non-organic handful of cheerios to snack on once in a while.
Just give them lots of love, people. And hugs. Give them enough courage to venture out into the world and explore, but just stand close enough behind them so that when they look back, you're there. And try to keep that guilt and worry to a minimum. After all, a good half-hour of "you" time while baby watches Elmo will probably make you a better mommy in the long run because it will give you a break!
And on a side note: The TV has been on the whole time I've been writing this. The Cat in the Hat. And I don't feel guilty one single bit, because my little lady just told me that a cow says "moo". She's only 11 months. I guess TV doesn't hinder language development after all :)
Thanks for reading!