Friday, June 3, 2011

A Good Mother

(This is my first and possibly last post with pictures. Allie Brosh, I don't know how you do it.)

Am I a good mother?

Well...probably not.

But I'm not a bad mother.

I remember to change my son's diapers, feed him, keep him relatively clean, play with him, keep him from killing/seriously injuring himself, put him down for naps and to bed at reasonable times, and take care of him when he's sick or hurt. That's the important stuff, but it feels like the bare minimum. And that's kind of not a fair description. Those things I listed make up pretty much every minute of every day of my life for the last year. If it's not one thing, it's another. Sure, I have breaks to go on Facebook or write these blogs or occasionally clean my house or catch a nap or, you know, shower, but for the most part it's a constant job.

I've heard a lot of people talk about how stay-at-home moms are underappreciated, and I think we do a lot of it to ourselves. We view what we do every day as a bare minimum. I'm guilty of it.

I could make my own baby food! Because making your own baby food is healthier because you know what goes in it!

I would just like to note that "knowing what goes into your body" and "having healthy things go into your body" are NOT the same thing.

I could have continued to try to breastfeed for longer than one month!

He wouldn't eat. He developed bottle preference in the special care nursery. He was six weeks earlier and they often have trouble latching on properly, and with the amount of weight he needed to gain, a bottle was always more practical.

Still, I can't quite conquer the guilt over not doing it for longer.

I could lose my baby weight!

I see lots of moms who don't even look like they've had babies, and that's intimidating. I wasn't thin before, but I was a lot thinner than I am now, and I've actually gained weight since I had Calvin. I hear this is pretty common. Moms aren't able/don't have the energy to take care of themselves, because they're constantly taking care of a baby. This isn't so much a responsibility to the baby as it is to myself or my husband or the people around me, but I do feel like it's something that's expected of me that I'm not living up to.

These are not the only places where I'm insecure that I'm failing. I compare my parenting strategies to other moms. Is it bad that I comfort my child when he falls down? Is it bad that I leave my child in a diaper during the day any day I don't leave the house? Is it bad that my child has had eczema since he was three months old, and I can't isolate the cause or find anything to fix it? Is it bad that I do, occasionally, feed my child later than his schedule simply because I forget? Is it bad that he sometimes finds his way into dangerous things or hurts himself because I wasn't paying close enough attention? Is it bad that I let him cry, or worse if I pick him up every time he cries? I don't think anyone can answer those questions for me, but I also don't think anyone can convince me that everything I do is great, because I know better.


  1. I can't remember if it's Nick Jr or Disney Junior that says this on their channel, "We're not perfect, we're parents." I have a lot of the same or similar thoughts as you on these same subjects. (And I just quoted a kids channel that we obviously have on in the background way too much.) *sigh*

  2. It's on the Nickelodeon ParentsConnect web site, and I know that because I spent an ungodly amount of time on their baby names section before Calvin was born :)

  3. It's never bad to comfort your child. Ever. It's NEVER bad to pick him up when he cries. I just give you crap about it because in every other situation you're totally calm, cool mommy :)

    Here's the thing. We are FIRST time mothers. These are the training kids. We parent out of instinct and hold our children to impossibly high standards. For example: "Calvin, no you may NOT have the binky" (for the millionth time) or "No, Jack. Do NOT pull down Mommy's pants in the kitchen because I will dump boiling water on you" (said today because I was focusing on NOT dumping boiling water on my child with my pants around my ankles) which we say in perfectly adult voices to a child that doesn't yet fully understand "no."

    Babies cry when they are uncomfortable, hungry, or scared. Sometimes they cry for no good reason and leave us mothers feeling terrible for not realizing that it's an hour past lunch and somehow no one has been fed and the laundry isn't done and the dishes are starting to smell and the cat just threw up and the baby pulled the gate down on top of himself AGAIN.

    As for the excema, I've been dealing with it for my whole life and it gets better in the summer. Get him out in the sun and maybe that will do some good. This doesn't reflect your parenting habits. It's just something that happens. When he's grown up, he may want to change it. I have a giant birthmark on my back that looks like diaper rash so I covered it up with a tattoo.

    You are not a perfect mother, because you are not a perfect person. You are a great mother, however. Don't ever let anyone make you think otherwise. You child will grow up undoubtedly warped, but in a good way. For now, he is a super happy (key word here), anime-smiley baby that brightens up everyone's lives just a little bit when they see him. I know he brightened my day a bit today (oh, btw, I so comforted him when he cried :P)

  4. Oh, and I think you should do pictures every blog. They are AWESOME (is this how your baby got into something dangerous and hurt himself?)