How many of us have questioned our ability to mom properly? How many of us have worried about whether or not we’re adequately preparing our kids for whatever this world may throw at them? I know I’ve considered these and Dakota’s only one. This week I found myself giving advice and/or words of encouragement to various mom-friends who were struggling with one aspect of motherhood or the other. So, naturally, I figured I’d share some of that encouragement with you guys. Because why not?!
First off, whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, or a combination of both, does not determine your worth as a woman or a mother. Read that shit again. No one’s walking around giving out medals and awards for how you feed your baby. So long as your baby is fed is all that matters. You have to run your own race, giving yourself grace every step of the way. One thing I have learned in my short time living in the Mother hood, is that everything is a learning curve, even those things we feel come naturally to us.
Many a thing will need to be adjusted because babies can be so different from day to day throughout their development. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to show up and give it your all. The time spent with your baby, bonding and learning each other, will be what sticks with you, not so much how you struggled to breastfeed or didn’t. Besides, those people that are pumping and posting those crazy amounts of milk stored in the freezer, are cool, but unrealistic. Sometimes it’s a whole separate medical condition they have that causes them to produce more than is needed, while the rest of us feel the jealousy and question if we’re feeding our babies enough. And to that I say are you trying to feed the baby or the freezer?
Take the pressure off, mama, if something is truly wrong talk to a qualified professional, that’s why they’re there, otherwise just enjoy the journey. Breastfeeding is awkward and it takes time to find your rhythm, if you so choose, but you’ll find what works eventually. And, this is just personal experience talking, if you’ve found that you’ve locked in and fixated on a particular aspect of caring for your child that sends you spiraling, check with your doctor to make sure you aren’t actually experiencing the subtle symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. We don’t tend to realize we’re in that part of the hood, until it’s bad, but just know you’re going to get through this, I promise.
So you’ve gotten past the breastfeeding stage and you have older babies and/or kids that are starting to test every gram of patience you have stored. You find yourself struggling to stay present and be gentle with your tiny humans without slinging unnecessary bullshit onto them. To you I say, you got this. Hell, just the other night I found myself struggling because my kid was screaming her face off and fighting every inch of the sleep that was descending upon her with such fervor, I debated selling her cranky ass on eBay (do people even use eBay still?). See, due to my neurospiciness, I get overstimulated by loud pitchy sounds easily, and I’d gotten super burnt out at that point. Now when I was younger, I probably would've gotten popped for making such a fuss and told to “shut up before I give you something to cry about” and been left to soothe myself. Which usually meant that you just learned to cry quietly, but not actually make yourself feel better.
However, in that moment I took a deep breath and whenever I started to feel touched out and overstimmed I would breathe deeper. I then realized that the calmer I felt, the calmer she got. And then I just started softly talking to her. It went something like this:
"I know that you’re super tired right now. Mama knows that you’re also teething and it may be hard to fall asleep because you’re uncomfortable, but I’m here, I got you. We did a lot today and I’m sure that took a toll and not only are you tired but your mind is still going and you haven’t quite learned how to cope with all of that yet. But Mama knows how to and I got you.”
I literally spoke to her like she was a big human, telling her I understood why she was upset, and that everything was going to be okay. While I was talking through that it really helped to keep things in perspective for me. This wasn’t a grown up fighting sleep, it was a baby doing her best with everything she was feeling and could convey in the moment. Her fight wasn’t to spite me, it wasn’t to get on my nerves, even though it was, she was being a baby. However, I took that necessary moment for me first. I calmed me down, I reminded myself of what was happening and brought myself down from a trigger (loud noises) and back into a space where I could be nurturing, understanding, and present.
I say all that to say sometimes you’re gonna fuck up, sometimes you may absolutely lose all chill. Because we are still people learning to parent in our own way, and there’s no guidebook that teaches that. We are all writing our guidebook in real time and you’re bound to get some things wrong. It’s okay to lose your cool, just put some physical or mental space in between you and your broke besties and once you’re good come back and try it again.
You’re good, you’re not going to severely fuck up your kid because you had a moment and spazzed. Now... it absolutely goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyway, that I am absolutely excluding any type of abuse mental, emotional, or physical from this conversation because we don’t play any of them games around here.
You get what I mean though, we’re all learning and we don’t know where our limits lie until we reach them. So, again, give yourself some grace! Apologize to your tiny humans if you need to, prioritize your sanity, and lead with love. And in the off chance that you do scar your kids in some way, pay for their therapy and don’t be a dick about it! Also if you find that you’re struggling talk to a therapist, yourself, and figure that shit out; it’s 2022 we stan a mentally healthy bad-bitch of a mom, yes? Yes!
Wherever you find yourself in your journey in the hood of mothering, whatever your struggles may be, stay as present as possible. Stay present even when they start asking those awkward and uncomfortable questions, show up. Don’t dismiss them, don’t discount your own ability to be better, and don’t be afraid to dig deep. We are our kids entire world for only a short time, in the grand scheme of things, make the most of it and remember, Mama…
You’re doing great!
Love you, mean it! 🙃
Thanks so much for reading, make sure you like, comment, subscribe to be notified when I post, and share with a mom-friend that could use an encouraging word.
Also, don’t forget my novella ‘Situationships & Sippy Cups is available on Kindle Vella in the Amazon store, check it out!!! https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09TZ1BXTB