This week I'm linking up with Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday! This week's topic is advice for Moms-to-be.
Some of the most important lessons I learned about being a Mother revolve around finding my voice, my confidence, and my values when it came to all things Motherhood. Who am I? Am I doing this right? Who is the judge of what "right" is? Here are a few of the battles that you may encounter as you find your inner Mommy.
Pediatrician vs. Advocacy
We do our research, but we don't have a medical degree. No one wants to be "that Mom" driving the doctor crazy with phone calls and symptoms we Googled at 3am when we were too worried to sleep. So, we second guess ourselves, apologize for calling, and follow pediatrician's orders to the letter. While its always a good idea to build a relationship with your pediatrician (or practice of pediatricians) we have a right to ask questions and follow up if we feel like something is being over looked. Never, ever be afraid to ask to see a different doctor, for a second opinion, or for further testing. Don't underestimate the power of Mothering instinct.
For months, C's original pediatrician brushed off our concerns regarding his physical development being delayed. He was seven months old and not yet able to sit up independently. At ten months, he wasn't crawling. We kept being told it would come in time. When we switched pediatricians, it took exactly one visit for the doctor to recommend Early Intervention. Had we stayed with the other doctor, who knows where we'd be today.
Mommy Time vs. Guilt
True or False: Once you have a child, your life becomes a series of sacrifices. False! Once the baby is born and comes home, its very easy to give, give, give. When I was on maternity leave, there would be days when J would come home from work and I hadn't showered or really eaten. I didn't make it a priority to find time to do these things - I HAD TO stay with C's colicky little butt 24/7. Of course he needed to be taken care of, but there were a lot of offers from friends and family to help out that I didn't take advantage of. I was the Mom after all and asking for help so early on was admitting defeat. I know; doesn't that sound crazy?
Take time, Moms. Take time for yourself. Take people up on offers to watch the baby while you shower. Baby napping? Leave the dishes alone. Sit on the couch and watch something mindless on TLC. A happy Mom makes for a happy baby.
The Organic Homemade Utopia vs. Reality
We all do it. My child was never going to eat fast food, watch TV, or play with light up, over stimulating toys. Guess what - he does all three. We all have best intentions for our children and want to give them the absolute healthiest and best option out there. We buy the organic bananas, natural fiber pajamas, and only grace their bottom with paraben and alcohol free baby wipes. Then life happens.
I'm not knocking the natural, organic lifestyle at all; we cloth diaper, buy hormone free milk, etc. but when we're at a restaurant and there is only apple juice or 1% milk available for C, its not the end of the world. Don't beat yourself up over the occasional happy meal or episode of Mickey Mouse Club. Your child will still grow up to be a happy, healthy kid. I promise. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Mom vs. Mom
If you haven't heard, Motherhood is one gigantic pissing contest. Oh, your kid is crawling? Well, mine is running. Aw, your kid can say "mama?" Well, mine can recite the Gettysburg Address. In Latin. You may laugh, but ask any Mom - its pretty true. I'm going to be a big ol' hypocrite by saying this, but don't let it bother you.
I can be pretty sensitive about C being behind most of the kids his age, but really there isn't any reason to be. Its not just positive mumbo jumbo - babies really do develop at their own pace and yours will too. Hang in there, celebrate the milestones as they come, and if your neighbors 1 year old is potty trained, dressing themselves, and reciting poetry, good for them. Jerks. ;-)
As you learn the ins and outs of this crazy new job, its okay to stumble, ask questions, and feel confused/overwhelmed. Find out what works for you and stick with it. Most of all, whatever happens - give yourself a break from the self-critisism, look yourself in the mirror, and pat yourself on the back. YOU ARE AWESOME. End of story.