To all the Mama’s out there. I have news! What I am about to share if it is the only thing you get right you have WON. It is that simple. One thing! No book to read, podcast or power point needed. If you succeed at this one thing you can rest assured that you are doing and being the best mama for your children. You can say good-bye to the worry and mom-guilt!
As moms, we are weighed down by so many decisions every day. So many! The most important thing is not if you breast or bottle feed, use cloth or disposable diapers, eat organic or conventional food. It has nothing to do with your child being potty trained at the age of 1 or 4, if they stay in a crib until they are 4, start talking at 1 or 3, are a paci or thumb sucker, or go to a private or public school. It doesn’t matter if you are a Pinterest or store-bought mom, make home-cooked meals or prefer take out, choose cafeteria food or pack lunches. Get ready for this one, it DOES NOT MATTER if you stay at home with your kids or are working full time.
The only thing that truly matters is one simple 4 letter word…
L – O – V – E
That is it! All our babies need is love. Cue the Beatles song 😉…but seriously, ask yourself this question. Do you love your babies? If the answer is Yes, you are winning. You are killing this mom gig and your kids are so blessed to have you.
It is easy to get caught up in the comparison trap or to over analyze every little decision. To be so hard on ourselves when we make a mistake or feel like we aren’t giving it our all. It seems like the weight of the world is in every decision. The mom-guilt creeps in at every corner. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I have spent researching on the internet and second-guessing my decisions.
The first few weeks after I had my firstborn I felt like a dark cloud was following me everywhere. I had the postpartum blues. I had been a NICU nurse for 5 years at that time. I taught moms how to take care of their infants and breastfeed so I felt confident becoming a mom myself. I thought being a mom was going to be the most natural and carefree experience. I had been waiting for this day my whole life.
After she was born I was so overwhelmed by all the decisions. The exhaustion and hormones, you can’t prepare for it. I cried every day and felt extremely guilty about that. I was so caught up in how long she would breastfeed, on what side do we start, and did she get enough? She’s spitting up again, ok so she probably got enough. But wait, since she spit up do I need to feed her again? I don’t know if I have enough, let me pump to see what I have. Wait, now how long do I have to wait to nurse her? How many hours is this good for in the refrigerator or do we freeze it? Sound familiar?
I remember sobbing to my husband one night around 2am saying “she just nursed for an hour and a half, is still crying and now I have to feed her again in an hour and a half?!” I was so stuck on the numbers and facts. She was colicky and had reflux and I’m sure my nerves and oversupply of milk (which I didn’t realize at the time) were making it worse. I was a mess. Thankfully the blues subsided around a month but the overwhelmingness of motherhood still continues to this day.
I wanted a little person on my shoulder the whole time to give me affirmation on each decision I was making. I still desire to have that. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case so we need to find faith and confidence in ourselves. We can gain that confidence by reminding ourselves that we are getting the most important thing right! Let’s stop putting so much emphasis on the things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. I am not saying they shouldn’t be thought about or researched but we don’t need to over think and over analyze everything.
The weight of our decisions can lessen if we refocus on love being the priority.
I think all of us would agree that we want to raise kids that show love to the world around them. That is important. As adults we don’t know when our friends were potty trained, or if they were breast or bottle-fed. At what age did they start to talk? Walk? Did their mom work or stay at home? We don’t know because it doesn’t matter. But as adults, we all benefit of having grown up in a loving environment and most times it is evident in our choices and interaction with others. Knowing we are loved makes a HUGE difference. We need to put our worries and stresses aside so that we can show our kids the love that we have to give.
There are exactly 6570 days in 18 years. 940 Saturdays and 940 Sundays equaling only 1,880 weekend days between the time your baby takes their first breath to their 18th birthday. Time is fleeting. Enjoy the small moments. Be confident in knowing YOU WERE CHOSEN to be their mom and they are blessed to have you. Take the comparison and perfection pressure off of yourself. If you are like me read that last sentence again! Each of us has different talents and abilities, we are not supposed to be the same. Love can be shown to our kids in a million different ways. Simply make the goal for your babies to feel loved by you every single day and be proud of that!
I wish someone would have sat me down before I had my first baby and told me…
“Look, being a mom is hard. The majority of the time you will feel like you are doing everything wrong and that is NORMAL. You will be so unbelievably exhausted. You are going to have a million decisions to make but none of them matter as much as it seems in the moment. Did I mention how exhausted you will be? Thankfully this crazy sleep deprived time is fleeting. Don’t be so hard on yourself, it is not supposed to be easy. Ask for help and sleep whenever possible. If you love this baby then everything will fall into place. You will be succeeding as a mama. Let the logistics fade away. Get those snuggles in and snuggle some more.”
No matter what age your baby or babies are now this still applies! What is it that has you worried for them? What is keeping you up at night researching on google? Why the mom-guilt? Whatever it is, is it robbing you of joy and precious time with them?
If you are caring, worrying, googling then there is no doubt you LOVE your baby. As long as your baby knows that you can let go of the rest. You have NOTHING to worry about.
Congratulations mama on succeeding at the one thing that matters most.