I’ve been doing a ton of research lately. I’m on my third kid now, and since I like to come late to the party, I’ve been considering making some changes with this one. Like co sleeping. And baby wearing. Totally digging both. I even contemplated cloth diapering, but beyond the giggle fit I had reading about how some moms give the liners their very own “swirly” in the toilet, it just didn’t ring the “Yay!” bell for me.
I have this shitty habit of just not following through. I get great ideas, with well supported arguments for them, start out on fire for our newest and brightest conviction, only to get distracted by something shiny or the humdrum of everyday life. I started out on a delayed vaccination schedule for my second, and by the time she was 6 months old I’d forgotten we were doing that and got her caught up at her well child appointment. Whoops. The minute the idea becomes a habit, or loses its conversational appeal, I lose interest. Which is all well and good when it comes to the home office I tried to make out of a spare closet- not so much for parenting decisions. The spare closet has a door, which I close and then ignore. My baby’s red thigh from her latest MMR shot tends to be less easily ignored.
So I research. I scroll through medical studies and natural parenting blogs on my phone while I nurse the youngest at 2am and wonder, ponder, debate and utlimately make no decisions but somehow accumulate a massive amount of guilt. I’m trying to change that, since reading this great blog roll…
It’s all those mommas I think I should be, admitting to the french fries, the front facing car seat, the f bombs dropped in front of their kids. I needed to read this, because somehow I’d convinced myself that these mommas are perfect, and I should be like them. So, instead of everything thing I’ve done wrong (there’s not enough blog space in the world for that list), here’s what I’ve done right- please remind me of these things when I start talking about how lame a parent I am….
1. I got sober before my oldest turned 5. Not exactly what you’d expect to see on the resume of an applicant for Mom of the Year, but considering some mommas never get there, I’m pretty damn proud I managed to muck up only a small portion of one of my kids’ lives before I stopped drinking. The two littles have never seen me take a drink. I’ve been sober for over 6 years and it still feels good.
2. I married a good man. Just as important as being a good momma, I gave my kids a good dad. He’s a hard worker, a humble man, kind and sincere. He goofs around with us, plays games, tries his best to take care of us and is always, without fail, trying to be the man he thinks we deserve. I love him for that.
3. I keep a (relatively) clean house. Stay with me here- this is important to me because my oldest had nothing but chaos in his life for a while, and he’s anxious when things aren’t in order. I keep a neat house, where things can usually be found where they belong, and he doesn’t have panic attacks anymore. I’m probably more anal about this than I should be, but it makes me feel good when the house is in order. I feel like I’m making a safe place for my family.
4. I learned how to cook. My kids eat mostly food cooked from scratch and even though the organic produce section makes my budget run screaming in the opposite direction, at least they aren’t getting a ton of processed food in their diet.
5. I’m teaching my eldest to cook. He can fry a mean egg, tell you when pasta is al dente, and eats fresh veggies happily. I’m also teaching my eldest to clean. The boy can scrub a toilet, fold a button up shirt (kind of) and vacuum his room without me hovering. The kid is going to make an awesome husband some day.
6. I sing with my kids. Loud. Shamelessly. Even when I don’t know the words.
7. I fought for, and got, a VBAC with my third baby. I made a mistake with my second baby and had a C Section I didn’t need. I was selfish and tired and although I pleaded ignorance, I knew better. The idea of a VBAC was scary and I had to do a lot of work to get approved, but I knew it was the best thing for my third and last baby. And I rocked it. 16 hours of back labor, at home, followed by a brief epidural that promptly wore off when I hit 9 cm, ending with a feel it all, this natural birth shit is for the birds, dear God get him OUT vaginal delivery. I am She-Ra.
8. I breastfed my second (painfully for the first 10 months, thanks to blisters, Reynaud’s, all sorts of fun stuff) until she was 16 months old, even though breastfeeding was a disaster with my first and I was terrified and slightly resentful at having to share my body for so long. I weaned my second because I got unexpectedly pregnant with number three and was so ill I couldn’t work. The medicine I was able to take once she was weaned made me a better momma, wife and employee. Not throwing up every 20 minutes can have that effect. I’m breastfeeding number three, and plan to go with child led weaning.
9. I go to every single one of my oldest’s baseball games. I pay attention, know the score, and cheer all the boys on. Not easy with a toddler and newborn. I missed 3 games- 2 because I was in labor and the 3rd because I had gotten home from the hospital that day and had hemmeroids and didn’t want to sit on a bleacher.
10. I don’t try to be my kids’ friend. They are cute, funny, smart, kind kids and don’t need me on their buddy roster. They need me nagging them about chores, keeping them honest, dishing out the consequences for their mistakes and reminding them what unconditional love looks like- even from the time out corner. That way, they will become funny, smart and kind adult. The cute part is fleeting, but they don’t need to know about that yet.
That’s all I’ve got. Read the blog roll I’ve linked above if you’re at all feeling pressed to wear your 2 year old, breast feed your 5 year old, purge your pantry and restock with locally sourced organic goods and start making your own cleaning supplies. Afterwards, pick just one and go from there. Because if I don’t have to be perfect, neither do you.