Thursday, July 12, 2012

Motherhood - You're Doing It Wrong

 Do you know how to do motherhood?

In case you aren't sure, here are some tips.

  • If you give your baby a binky, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you swaddle your baby, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you co-sleep, you're risking your baby's life and you're doing it wrong.
  • If you don't co-sleep, you've fallen victim to ignorant doctors and you're missing out on wonderful bonding time - and you're doing motherhood wrong.
  • If you bottle feed, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you breastfeed past a year, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you let your child watch TV, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you don't have five nurturing, Montessori-based sensory type activities for your preschooler every day, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you do on-demand feeding, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you try to schedule your baby, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you're not feeding your child organic baby food, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you give your child medicine, you're doing it wrong. 
  • If you use alternative pain management/healing methods, you're doing it wrong. 
  • If you put your kids in time-out, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you don't do time-outs, you're doing it wrong. 
  • If your child isn't potty trained in a weekend, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you don't wear your baby in a sling for several hours a day, you're doing it wrong.
  • If you work, you're doing it wrong. 
  • If you stay at home, you're probably too frazzled to be doing anything right. 

Does it ever feel that way to you? 

It sure does to me. It's usually the internet that makes me feel this way.

Let me tell you what prompted this post. On Facebook, I am member a mother's support group. I don't personally know many of the women in the group--they aren't my personally added Facebook friends. I posted something about how both of my kids haven't been automatic binky lovers. The first reply I got back was from a woman I don't know who as a speech pathologist wanted to tell me it was her professional opinion not to use binkies after six months.

After a rough day of fussy Noelle--and me wishing to heaven that she would take her binky--it just set me off. I don't even know this woman. I did not ask for information/advice about duration of binky usage. Her unsolicited advice made me feel like a bad mom for wanting Noelle to take a binky--and yes, I fully intend for her to take it beyond 6 months old. With Joci, I found most of the binky benefits came when she could actually reach for it and pop it in her own mouth.

I did a little research and found that the American Academy of Pediatrics is fine with binky use through the first year. My girls' pediatrician is fine with it until age 2. I know kids who use the binky to three and beyond. Different moms do different things. And I got to say that at 30 years old, I don't know anyone my age still addicted to their binky. People end up fine.

Still, I was irked by this woman's unsolicited advice. I was irked that it got to me. I tried to take a step back--count to ten--and be fair. Perhaps this woman has had personal experience in her profession that makes her more conservative on binky use. Things I don't know about. On the flip side, this woman surely doesn't know that I was a thumb-sucker until I was nearly thirteen and would rather have my child use a binky until five years old than go through the embarrassment, speech issues, and orthodontic issues of long-term finger/thumb sucking.

It's easy to go online and feel judged. Or at least feel like a failure. Reading blogs, articles, magazines, books, whatever...doesn't it seem like you can't do anything right? Every technique is analyzed and criticized by experts of all walks. Sheesh! What's a mom to do?

There are days when I am an awesome mom. I am happy and disciplined. I have structured, fun activities. I don't yell. Heck, I even have pants on those days. I am SUPERMOM! Those are the days I blog about. And then people think I am awesome.

Look! We went to the park and had an educational sensory activity. I am such a good parent!

And there are days when we have Eggo Waffles for all three meals and Gummi Bears for snack. Pants most definitely will not happen. A bra probably won't either. The television is on for 7 hours straight and I feel pretty good when we watch something from PBS because at least it's educational. These are the days when everyone in the house is bound to end up crying simultaneously at some point. These days I go online and see other supermom blogs and I start to wonder if Pinterest has a tutorial on how to tie a noose out of repurposed shoelaces and pipe cleaners.

Messes everywhere. Now why don't I drink again?

I want to read more stuff online that says: you didn't cry today, new mom--good for you! You fed your children and played with them--good for you! You put pants on today--good for you! Your child loves you--good for you! You loved yourself today--good for you! You're doing the hardest job in the world, day after day, without any PTO, and even if it takes Eggo Waffles, hours of PBS, and offensive amounts of Diet Coke, you are in the thick of it. You aren't walking away. You are raising your children.


Good for you.


Sarah said...

I'm a speech-language pathologist with an 18 month-old that still takes a binky at naps. I have no problem with parents using them. That is the silliest thing I've heard.

Shawn and Teresa Nilsson said...

Aww, I really enjoyed this post! I normally work full-time but I'm on summer break so I'm home now with Noemi all day. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one without a bra watching PBS!

Meagan said...

Oh Lara, I love you lady! We all do this although I personally go for a regular Pepsi or a Pepsi Throwback is even better. :) You are doing great! We all have days like this... or weeks, or possibly months in survival mode depending on our circumstances. We are all doing our best and you are right, we need more positive reinforcement among women. Women often seem all-too eager to tear each other down, when we should in fact be supporting one another.

Just know that if anyone is telling you that you are doing it wrong is probably struggling themselves or completely ignorant of other people's situations. Children/babies are not all the same! You are doing great. My kid is watching Planet Earth right now, and so I can let out a sigh of relief too and think, "at least this is educational right?" We all do it!

UK Yankee said...

Did you kill your kids today? No? You're doing awesome!! Keep up the great work!!

S and J said...

Love this post..... it's so true! :-)

Jamie Boyd said...

I just want to be the rational one here and point out the danger issues of that first picture. The Academy of Star-bellied Sneetches(referred to by its acronym from now on) recommends that parents wait until at least 5 years of age to allow children on monkey bars, at which time, father's must have a Bachelor's Degree in Excercise Science to understand the proper methods for supporting a child and catching the child in the event of a fall. Justin's technique is all wrong there (armpit grip is most recommended, not leg grip), which leads me to believe he doesn't even have a BS in Exercise Science. And there is no way Joci is 5 yet. Lara - parenting... you're doing it wrong.

Haylee said...

Amen! And that is one of the biggest reasons I live in a cave without Facebook or Pinterest. I still love a good blog though :) mostly because I can be more selective in my my eyes see and therefore what I am comparing myself with. Always remember that YOU are your children's mother and YOU are the one with the gut feelings and personal revelation on how to raise YOUR children. No one else. So, while one of the things listed may be the exact right thing for someone, it may not be for you. We should all be more supportive and LOVING of one another.

Melissa Giles said...

I like you. You just totally made me feel better about not being a Super Mom all the time! You are a terrific Mom, and don't you forget it!

Whitney said...

love love love this! ha ha!

Jill Elizabeth said...

I don't know much about parenting (much like the people who give the bulk of unsolicited parenting advice on the internet) but I'm of the opinion that as long as one person in the house is wearing pants, or can quickly locate a pair of pants to put on if the doorbell rings, you are parenting right.

I want to laugh when I read about how children are going to be damaged if they use binkies, aren't swaddled, are formula-fed, etc. It never would have occurred to my parents to research any of those things, and all four of their children arguably turned out pretty well. None of us still uses a binky, and it has been 25 years since my last potty accident.

When my parents were babies in the late 1950s, doctors had decided formula was more nutritive than breast milk. There is an entire generation of Americans who had formula as babies, and yet I've not noticed a wave of bizarre cancers among my parents' generation, or of people in their fifties with attachment issues.

Also, I sucked my thumb until I was twelve. I think this is why we're friends.

Alicia said...

Good for you! I also loved this post. I went to a book group on Tuesday and we were discussing blogs (after the discussion on the book ended) and we were talking about how some blogs just make stuff up. The supermom ones that make us all feel bad about ourselves. So, for what it's worth, not everything out there is true. I still think you are a supermom. The transition to two can be tough!

Amy Allred said...

I pretty much avoid forums and groups like that. It just makes me feel inadequate or something. I've made a lot of unique parenting choices, and I would just rather not discuss it with anyone - besides my husband, of course. I know what's good for my kids and my sanity, and I don't expect anyone else to do the exact same things I'm doing. You are doing an awesome job, Lara, and you know what's best for your own kids! So ignore the pushy hypocrites. :)

Hays Family said...

Just do what you can and what works for you. Each day you try and maybe one out of 7 actually does work out for you. Aren't you glad you don't have to have the house picked up before daddy gets home like some of us felt we had to in the old days?

Rachel said...

Sitting in on staffing meetings at work always make me feel better about my parenting skills. I'm like, "Hey, maybe my kids ate graham crackers for dinner last night, but at least I didn't tell one he was ugly and then lock myself in my room for the next twelve hours to use drugs."

Ashley said...

Today alone:

I left my kids in their room until nearly 10 am because I wanted to shower ALONE.

We had oatmeal for breakfast because I haven't gone grocery shopping. My son ate his with his hands because, well, we don't have any clean spoons.

We watched Cars because I wanted to have a conversation with a friend of mine. We talked about why I've blocked people from my facebook feed; unless they're going to come over and do it for me, I don't feel anyone has the right to an opinion on how I should be raising my kids.

For lunch; McDonalds. I had a big fat Dr. Pepper, despite the fact it will make the baby in the midst of Occupy Uteri grow a tail or something.

I turned on videos on our drive to Ikea. Frankly I was too tried to deal with the screaming.

My kid walked around IKEA with her shoed on the wrong feet. She also climbed in a display case and crawled around on the floor. I honestly could not have cared less.

I yelled at them when we got home because that's what you do when both of them are screaming. You yell because it makes them stop. Right?

They are currently both in their rooms right now because I can't do it any more today. I'm blogging and playing around on Facebook. The healthy and nutritious dinner I was planning is going to be shunted aside as I beg my husband to bring home Thai food because I don't want to deal with it any more today. If I'm really lucky he'll bring me a Coke. My baby needs some horns to go with that tail.

By the way, Lara and Jill; I am 28 years old, mother of two and 1/3 children, married, responsible and still suck my thumb to go to sleep. And I talks just fines. Although my dentist thinks I'll rot in Hell with my teeth. Eh. I do it because I don't drink.

Lois Draper said...

Check this blog out. Real life!
I like her style.

Anonymous said...

Pinterest is single-handedly (single-sitedly?) making me question my crafting/parenting/culinary skills. Not that I had many in the first place, but ignorance was bliss.

And please. They'd show you how to make a noose with a mason jar!

Great post!

Sharon Greenthal said...

I have grown kids (20 and 22) and I have often said to other moms at my stage of life that I would have lost my mind if the internet had existed when my kids were little. So much information, so many so-called experts, so many conflicting's hard enough raising children without feeling like the entire universe has an opinion about what you're doing.

Trust your instincts. Give them waffles for dinner, candy for breakfast...nothing you do, as long as they are loved and well-cared for, can do that much damage! Mine ate Happy Meals and ice cream and they turned out just fine.


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