Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mommy Guilt and its Power to Destroy

Nothing can be more annoying than that niggling fear that you must being doing something wrong.  As a mommy to two of the most wonderful children in the world I can tell you that I have also stared at the monster and lost.  Try as I might I am not perfect and neither are my children, so I'm not sure why I then expect everything to go perfectly.  The guilt that I have done something wrong can be strong.  Sometimes for good reason.  Other times its the world yelling its messages,  bound to seek out and destroy.

Here are two examples from our life right now that show the monster creeping in.  First, Hannah is in the throws of potty training.  It is going quite well but not without its bumps along the way.  Everybody in the world, including the cat lady down the street has an opinion on how to potty train your child. When it should be done, the signal that yes the narrow window is open and you should jump before it closes again.  Should you train using a regular toilet or use a potty seat.  What about rewards and prizes, should external motivation be used or avoided lest your child never go just to go?  Wow you waited until Hannah was 2.5, yikes little Suzy has been off diapers since she was 11months old.  You just got to do it, why are you so lazy?

Ethan, had his 18 months vaccinations today.  If you are a parent who has vaccinated their child in the recent past, enough said.  Everyone has a passionate opinion.  Everyone's opinion is based on fact (maybe/maybe not).  In the last 3 years, 6 months, 9 days that I have either been pregnant or had children I have been inundated with the messages.  Do not ruin your children, you must "_______" and most especially you must not "_________".  Fill in the blank from my list of topics below:

Take prenatal vitamins before your even pregnant
Avoid things like caffeine while pregnant
Breastfeed vs bottle feeding children
Use this bottle not that one it causes colic, actually use this bottle its made out of glass not plastic (you need to avoid BPA's).
having a perfect nursery
having the best baby equipment, supplies etc
C-Section vs natural delivery
Drugs while in labour
Home birth vs hospital birth
Attachment parenting
Letting your child cry it out
Feeding your child solids- organic, homemade, from a jar oh my.
Wood toys vs plastic toys
Soothers-to give them, to avoid them, and when to take them away
how to diaper your child
When to teach your child to read.
Spanking and other forms of discipline.

I could go on indefinitely.  There are a few things along the way that I have learned.  Most importantly, I am learning to keep my opinions to myself.  Second, I have learned that, while people may have extremely vocal and passionate views on any topic, it is OKAY not to agree.  Every parent, family, and child is different and the situation they find themselves in is also different.  That is OKAY.  Thirdly, do your own informed research and make a decision that fits your family.  If you make a mistake, get back on the horse and try again.  Finally, find a friend that has a similar parenting and lifestyle as your own and help each other.  Be encouraging.  Share your struggles and your successes.

I have decided to be passionate about these things, even though it was written for Hannah it is equally true for Ethan. In the worlds of Ed Emberley, "Go away, big green monster! and DON'T COME BACK!


Charlotte said...

I love this post!!!! Go go go Mommy!!!

Kristin V said...

Yes, the advice has already started for us and we haven't even had our baby yet. :-) But I like the idea of making an informed choice and standing strong in the choices that we end up making.

Liesel Rios said...

Ha! Love the quoted conclusion. :) Glad we 'found' you guys again. You are great!

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