Mastering Motherhood – Who are We Trying To Impress?

iStock_000010560937SmallWhile trying to manage life with my three littles under the age of 5, it isn’t always picture perfect. My house doesn’t look like a magazine, my kids may be unruly at times, and my table doesn’t always have 100% organic foods scratch made by me. And I am coming to the realization that THIS IS OK.

I don’t think it should be any secret, motherhood and parenting is hard. We’re always wondering if we are doing the right thing with our kids. Making sure we are raising them right. Making sure they’re growing enough and eating healthy enough. If we are engaging their mind enough. Are we ever doing enough? What it seems to come down to is insecurity, and we are torturing ourselves with it. The pressure we put on ourselves to be the perfect parent come with a lot of internal voices (or external if you tend to hang around the sanctimonious types) telling us that we are screwing up, further feeding those insecurities.

What comes first is what we are feeding our children. First thing we are hit with when they are babies is that “Breast is best”. Don’t give them any of that evil formula because, OMG, that is poison! Except if you’re a mom like me who has major supply issues, that “evil formula” is what keeps our babies from starving. But in the pressure to be the perfect mother, when you have trouble performing that ultimate motherly act of breastfeeding, the feeling of failure prevails. And so begins some of the major insecurity and self doubt in our mothering kills.

So continuing on with what we are feeding our kids, you absolutely MUST make sure that everything you are giving them is all organic, hormone-free, non-gmo, etc. Wait, you carefully budget and buying EVERYTHING organic is too cost prohibitive for you? OMG you are poisoning them!  Well at least you don’t use plastic plates and tableware, don’t give them plastic sippy cups, or store any of your food in plastic containers. Wait, you don’t use ALL glass containers all of the time?? OMG, plastic! Oh the horror! You’re poisoning them! 

Then, it seems we need to have our kids dressed perfectly… you know in adorable and always fashionable (and organic) clothing so they are ready for a photo shoot at a moments notice. You also need to make sure to have your house immaculate so you can easily take said photo shoot of your kids in “candid” fashion and simultaneously show off your gorgeous Pinterest-worthy home decor as well as your Pinterest-worthy kid photos. Wait, your kids aren’t perfect clean little angels that never mess up the house? And they don’t always keep their latest baby fashions clean and free of spit-up or stains?  OMG, you’re doing motherhood all wrong!

What about the awesome kids enrichment programs and craft projects to engage their minds and expand their horizons. Of course, those craft projects always come off perfectly. Your kids are such talented artists ahead of their time. And of course, said projects are always perfectly mess free. Wait, your 2 year old doesn’t speak 6 languages and can’t even scribble remotely in the lines?? OMG, your kid is so behind!

Well you are babywearing your little ones until they are the age of 5, right? Wait you use a stroller some of the time? OMG, you are an attachment parenting failure!

Well you cosleep with your babies right? Wait, you DON’T cosleep and you sleep train? OMG, you are heartless! Wait, you DO cosleep? OMG, that’s so dangerous!

Had enough yet?

It’s a strange thing many of us do to ourselves as mothers, putting on the pressure to be perfect in nearly every aspect of motherhood. Through dozens of parenting books and websites, we get so many mixed messages out there to begin with on what is the right way to nourish, teach, and raise our children. Not to mention what we observe the other seemingly “perfect” moms, we get to thinking we have to be all things to everyone. The picture of perfect motherhood.

Really, when it comes down to it, who are we trying to impress? Other Moms? Are we letting the “Sanctimommies” get into our heads? Are we risking our sanity just to make lives picture perfect and Pinterest-worthy for others to see?

Can we stop this madness and just make sure that our kids are happy, healthy, well mannered, and keep them alive until it is no longer our responsibility to do so?  Stop playing into the Mommy Wars, and stop judging others on the lifestyles and the choices they make for their own families. Other moms that make different choices or take different paths than you are not an indictment on your own lack of perfection.

I can certainly tell you, my (almost) 4 month old does not care a wit if she doesn’t sleep on an organic mattress blessed by monks and doesn’t necessarily wear adorable hipster approved, fashionable, organic clothing all the time. And my 4 year old certainly does not color in the lines at all, but I am not worried about his college prospects right now. My kids are clean, fed, happy and healthy, so I am doing my job ok so far. I am certain that I am going to fail sometimes.  I am just trying to master motherhood the best I can, embracing my imperfections and all.

This Baby’s Birthday Has Been Decided

The end is in sight! That’s right, this baby’s eviction notice has been posted, and the induction date has been set for next week. A little earlier than I expected, so I am trying not to freak out, but it certainly will be a relief not to be pregnant anymore.

Get the pleasure of weekly non-stress tests until the end of this pregnancy. Lucky me.

Get the pleasure of weekly non-stress tests until the end of this pregnancy. Lucky me.

In this pregnancy, just like my previous two, I have been “blessed” with Gestational Diabetes again (thank you obesity and genetics!). The GD diagnosis sort-of puts me in the “high risk” pregnancy category. Now say “sort-of” because all of my pregnancies have been relatively uneventful, the blood sugars have stayed relatively in control when I behave on the diet, and babies have remained safe and healthy (and not giant babies which they always warn you). With GD, along with being on the special diet, I get a few extra growth ultrasounds and weekly NSTs in the remaining weeks of pregnancy. And this time, because I had start on insulin a couple weeks ago, I get a few extra visits with the Perinatologist sprinkled in.

So last week, much to my surprise, after my first appointment with Dr. Doom & Gloom (the Perinatologist), midwife wanted to talk induction date. Parts of the baby were looking slightly large on the latest growth ultrasound, though still only 68th percentile. And because I am on insulin during this bout of GD (first time I’ve ever had to do that) they felt more comfortable for me to have this baby between 38 and 39 weeks. So that brings us to next week.

Am I ready? Yes and no.

Yes, I am totally over being pregnant, tired of having to diet, and tired of body being in pain from the waist down all the time. So I can’t wait to just not be pregnant anymore. Not to mention, we finally get to meet this baby and introduce them to our family.

On the other hand, I don’t feel quite ready because my to-do list seems like a mile long, there is always a mess to clean up (thanks to my 2 busy boys), always more de-cluttering to do, and I don’t feel like I’ve quite mentally ready and fully practiced in all of my hypnobabies techniques to get ready for this birth (a whole post for a different day).  Oh, and then there’s the fact that, OMG, I’M ABOUT TO GO FROM BEING A MOM OF 2 TO A MOM OF 3… two of which are under the age of 2! Freaking out just a little bit.

So ready or not, here it comes. By this time next week, we will be snuggling our new baby at home. Thank goodness we will have great support from our families (my awesome mom is coming!) and with their help I should make it through the next few weeks with some sanity.

Our Last Fling of Summer

The summer flew by so fast, that before we knew it, it was the week before Labor Day weekend and we hadn’t even been to the shore yet. How can this be? We kept meaning to make plans for it, and other things kept pushing to “maybe next week”. We approached the last week of summer and our LAST chance to make it. What is a summer in New Jersey without at least one shore trip?

I made the decision that on a Monday in the last week of summer we would take our chance. So the grandparents and I took the littles to Wildwood for a day of fun. It was my littlest one’s first trip to the shore ever, and the first shore trip where my 3 year old was big enough to take full advantage of the ocean swimming and boardwalk treats and rides.

When do Wildwood, we like to do the beach by day, and then the boardwalk in the evening. Though the clouds all around us looked ominous, it ended up being a nearly perfect day, only a few stray raindrops. The people just down the beach in each direction, were not so lucky. It’s like the sky opened up just for us.

Nathan enjoyed the time at the beach as much as any 6 month old could. He nursed, napped, reached for toys, nursed and napped some more. Before we were done at the beach, we stuck his little toes in the water just because.

Turns our, Joey is my fearless little fish. He had talked all morning about swimming in the ocean, sticking his head under water and everything. I thought he would be a little timid when we actually got there, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We found our spot, he got lathered up in sunscreen and then ran straight for the water and we could hardly keep him out of there for the next 4 hours. He kept trying to convince Grandpop to take him further and further out into the waves. No fear in this kid. He hardly sat down for a break for 2 seconds, before dropping his juice box, flinging off his towel with both arms and running straight for the water again. Poor Grandpop didn’t get to sit down for the first 2.5 hours.  It warms my heart to see that my son loves the water as much as his mother. It is my happy place too.

Day at the beach lead to the evening on the boardwalk, with boardwalk food, rides and all. Baby did his thing in the stroller (mostly slept) and Joey got to ride all the rides he wanted to his heart’s content. Of course, he had no nap (we are dropping those lately) so at dinner, he was so exhausted he fell asleep at the table. Then got a second wind and had to do a few more rides before we made our way to the car.

All in all, our blast of summer was a great day. We made a promise that next summer, we wil do something we have never done and spend a week at the shore. Can’t wait!

The Things We Do As Moms

Tic Tac, Sir?
Image by camknows via Flickr

The things we do for our kids just to keep them happy…

I was that mom today that bought her kid a pack of Tic Tacs in the checkout aisle, just to keep him occupied.

Yep, that was me.

Orange Tic Tacs.

It was all I could do to keep him from ripping down everything from of the magazine rack, grabbing every item on the candy rack, or the conveyor belt with my stuff on it. But I put that magic box of Tic Tacs in his hand, and he shook them and waved them around with delight. And, the teether that he is, he put the box in his mouth. I had to pry the precious box out of his hands to give to the guy to pay for it, which was met with the quickest batch of crocodile tears I’ve ever seen. Luckily that was short lived.

I don’t even like orange Tic Tacs.

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