I remember being introduced to Dr. Sears on the third or fourth day after Piggie was born. I was on the phone in my bedroom bathroom, crying to my midwife about not knowing what I was doing. She told me to go and get any book that I could that was written by Sears. So I did, and I fell in love with everything I read.
I considered myself an attachment parent immediately. I breastfed, coslept, wore my baby, responded to his cries, and paid close attention to his cues. It all felt so natural and exactly what I would’ve done by instinct if I would’ve known it was okay to do. I mean, it was pretty shocking when I realized that I didn’t have to put my baby in another room from me at night. I could actually sleep next to him and that was okay. Research said it was ideal.
I started reading everything I could get my hands on in the following months. While Piggie would nap, I would read about everything from mothering to disciplining to nutrition recommendations. I read books on vaccinations and homeopathic medicines. I was definitely helping to keep the Amazon bookstore in business that year.
I loved the principles of everything I was reading. Even though I couldn’t apply them to Piggie because he wasn’t old enough yet, I had an exact vision of the type of mother I was going to be. I would tell my mom how I was going to handle tantrums when Piggie started having them or how I was never going to sit him in front of a TV or tablet.
When Piggie got older and things started going not how I planned, I started losing faith in myself as a mother. I thought that maybe I was a fraud and not cut out to be a good mom after all. I tearfully wrote my midwife the following shortly after Dacky, my second baby, was born:
“I’m begging for your advice as a knowlegable mom of 6 children, please tell me what I’m doing wrong: Piggie seems so angry. He screams as loud as he can and will not let up no matter what method of action we use. We’re losing our tempers with him during a time he needs us most but we don’t remember this when its 3am and its the 2nd or 3rd screaming tantrum of the night.
One thing I’ve been realizing recently, is that this mommy rat race of doing everything right or risking traumatization and future disease on your child is making me so unhappy. I’m tired of constantly worrying about the non-organic broccoli I feed my kids or the fact that I yell when I’ve run out of patience or that I have sub-par breastmilk because I consume caffeine.
My family and I have so much fun when we’re at IHOP together eating mountains of horrible-for-you pancakes. I yell out expletives when I stub my toe or drop ice out of fridge. Piggie loves to watch PlayDoh and garbage truck videos on YouTube for far too long than is recommended. But I’m pretty sure none of us are ruined and 100% sure we’re all happy.
My original intention as a mother was to follow my instincts. And my instincts now are telling me that worrying about all of these things is making me a lousier mother. When I focus on being happy, I’m a wonderful mother. It comes naturally. Following guidelines to a certain parenting philosophy does not feel natural to me at this point in my mothering journey.
|(See, if you fed your kids non-organic broccoli, they might be this cute too, haha!)|