Ever been a mom? Then you know what I am talking about
It started when I was expecting. I used to receive 10 instructions daily about what not to do; sometimes even from well meaning and concerned strangers. And most of them left me palpitating and googling that what possible harm could I have done to my baby.
Another type of guilt engulfed me as soon as he was born. I was too weak and exhausted to take care of him. It was my mom whom he was clinging on.
Assisting me for initial 4 months night and day, when my parents left me and my baby on our own, I felt more helpless then a toddler on his first day at kindergarten. Was I even eligible to take such a huge responsibility alone! My husband on the other hand was pretty much confident, you know, that type of confidence that comes from total ignorance of what lies ahead.
I used to get frustrated and cried along with my son when I was unable to calm him down. I was sure then that I am such a bad mom. God! How do others do it!
Slowly, we set into a routine (yes, the kind, which changes every couple of days :P)
We developed a better understanding of each other and most of days were smooth and joyful with a few inevitable hardships. And a few pangs of guilt per day – not able to stop his wailing, not able to pick up his cue for hunger or elimination or tiredness and so on.
While I was struggling to be a good mom(or to prove myself), I used to receive many comments on what all I am doing incorrectly -again, sometimes by complete strangers.
Like responding to my baby as soon as he cries slightly – which will make him clingy and dependent.
Not buying him the hi-fi toys which claim to make your baby genius – no words on this!
Not feeding him solids when he is 4 months – which is why he is so thin
Child proofing and continuous supervising – which will make him fearful
When I started working -not giving him enough time – which is hindering his milestones
and some genuine ones, like panicking on trivial things which makes situation worse.
I had to muster all my patience to stop myself from screaming when every time he fell sick, my faults were pinpointed with bizarre logics. Like this one – He caught cold because I don’t let people with cold touch him which has weakened his immunity and so he caught cold!
Oh please, why does everybody try to prove how bad mom I am! Why can’t they leave me alone with my parenting choices! I know how difficult it was for me to build confidence in myself! I beat myself up with guilt as it is, don’t need you people to amplify it! What is the big need to be judgmental!!
And slowly, the answers dawned to me. Why did I smirk at the mom whose toddler had epic meltdown in a fine dining place? Why did I feel a smug pride about not using any ready-made food for my baby? Why was I all preachy to the mom who was busy with her laptop with her baby plopped in the bouncing chair, with a pacifier in her mouth, staring at television? Was I trying to satisfy my ego by making them feel guilty and proving that I am a better mom? Oh yes, very much!
Did that actually made me feel better? No, not at all!
I should have appreciated the patience of the mom in that dining place.
I should have empathized with the mom who has to depend on formula and should have said a couple of words to appreciate her efforts
I should have been understanding enough with the mom who had a pressing deadline and was juggling it all alone, somehow managing to work with Humpty Dumpty playing in the background.
This would have definitely made me feel better. Because I know how much it means to me when somebody appreciates my efforts and says that I am good mom. One way is to just shrug it off with I don’t care attitude and don’t let anybody’s comments matter to you at all. Another way is to acknowledge other moms, trying to see the efforts they are putting in and ignoring the slippages. Being understanding towards others is the most helpful way to develop understanding with oneself and overcome any guilt.
I am not sure being a human or a woman or being a mom has to do with this innate characteristic of being judgmental – just to cover up our insecurities. And that is not an isolated thought. Internet is full of battles- working v/s non-working , pro-nature v/s pro-tech , attachment-style v/s independent style parenting and what not! A completely useless chaos..just resulting in more stress to a phase which could be the most joyful and beautiful time of life.
Gradually, the more I evolved, I became more patient and empathetic.
And came to know that all moms are doing a terrific job. The world has its hardships to throw, and all of us are doing the best we could think of for our family and our baby.
I salute to all the stay-at-home moms who chose to set back their career and are devoting their skills, time and energy to their little munchkin.
Hats off to all the work-from-home moms for being on duty 24*7 on both the fronts without a break and switching their focus in fraction of seconds hundreds of times a day.
Kudos to all the work-from-office moms for managing to be presentable and reach some place in time after meeting all the needs at home and diving back into them just after a tiring day at work.
A big hand for all the moms of previous generations for raising multiple children with least technology and loads of other chores and responsibilities.
God bless all the devoted moms who are always available for the family. For she is so secure and confident that she accepts to be known as her baby’s mom. She is a strong woman to make this choice.
Power to all the career women out there. She values the money, time and effort put in educating herself and wants to serve the world with her skills and learning.
No mom needs to feel guilty about anything – at all. There is nothing like good mom or bad mom. Being a mom is good at its best! What other blessing can we ask for! 🙂