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.