With my first child, I remember thinking I needed do it all myself, have all the answers, be the perfect mom the instant I became a mother. The moment I realized I needed some input- mind you this is probably in week two- I found immediate comfort in knowing that I had my own encyclopedia of mom knowledge that I could- without fear of judgement- ask at any time. And you KNOW I tested that on occasion during some late-night freak outs. My mom and I have always been close, but when I became a mom, I found myself looking to her for, well…just about everything. At one point, I asked her how she always knew what to do, and apparently, this “momsourcing” thing has been going on since the dawn of time (or at least since the 50’s when my grandma asked her mom what the heck to do).
But then one day I called her in the middle of a crisis- you know, trying to figure out what veggie to buy- and she didn’t answer. There I was in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store, staring at the myriad of pre-made baby food selections (yes, I was THAT mom), just about to have a hissy fit because my mommy didn’t answer the phone the instant her grown daughter rang. Well, what do you know, I made the decision, bought the dang peas and instantly, I began the journey. This was sort of my reality check that while the wisdom of my mom was priceless, I needed to find a balance between leaning on her and finding my own way. Here’s what I have figured out so far (all on my own, no less) …
Get the women in your life that have “been there, done that” to share their stories, success, failures, and ridiculous mom life slipups. You will be amazed at what you’ll hear. Some may inspire, some may warn, but one thing guaranteed, they will all in some way relate. We may all have different experiences but motherhood is a club with the best library of information. Don’t be afraid to tap this resource! Knowing what others have seen and heard and felt will help you feel less alienated when weird stuff happens, will give you a reality check when you panic about the silly things, and can even help you recognize when things need your attention STAT.
Gather Your Own Intel
The world is at our fingertips with the technology available to us- use it to read blogs, mommy devoted websites…heck, read a book! Be sure to seek pediatricians that stay up to date on the latest and greatest in the baby world. Current research is never ending and you want a doctor that considers using research based methods as best practice. (I know I make sure to pay attention every year when they announce whether chocolate is in fact good for you). Disclaimer alert: remember to avoid digging too deep online. If you start reading things that suggest your baby’s arm is falling off when you only searched “best nail clippers for infants”- STOP. See the section above. Use your mommy lifeline as a filter for the crazy you find online!
Enjoy the Help
My doctor once told me that she found out her mother-in-law had been lying for a year about following the checklist she had for her when caring for her daughter. She said in hindsight, it was the smartest decision her MIL could have ever made, giving mom piece of mind and making sure baby girl was taken care of. Sometimes giving too much direction is a bad thing, which brings me to my next point: Don’t be a control freak. Ok, that was harsh, but from one control freak to another, learn to turn it down. Let grandmas do their thing and love on your babies. Guess what- they raised you and you turned out fabulous! Make sure to stay on the same page for the biggies like major diet dos and don’ts and behavior management, but other than that, go on a date with your hubby and enjoy the fact that your kiddos are alive and loved.
Trust Your Gut
You are YOUR child’s mom. Every kid is different and you are biologically programmed to make the best decisions for them. Be confident in knowing that and if it feels wrong, speak up. If it feels right, make it happen!
Ok so truth be told, I still talk to my mom about mom stuff for a ridiculous portion of the day. But I have started to branch out on my own, let some things go, and soak up as much knowledge as I can. Every mom needs to feel confident that they are doing what is best and right by their kids and I have a feeling that we are ALL rockin’ it!
Love ya, mean it!