It's less about "what" than it is about "who". We're all doing the best we can, and at the end of the day, that's enough.
Breast or bottle. Co-sleeping or sleep-training. Some screen time or none at all. How to discipline your kids. Can I just confess that sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing?
Before having kids, it never really occurred to me how many different ways there might be to raise a child. I remember leaving the hospital after the birth of our firstborn, wondering "where's the manual?" And when I naively asked for advice as a brand-new mom, it took me aback how many different (and strong) opinions I received.
With all the information out there, not to mention how different the environment and culture we operate in is today, it can be so hard to navigate through each challenge or new experience that comes our way as parents. Most of the time, even in the midst of a teaching moment, there's a little voice in my head that's asking, "Is this really the right way to do this?"
Now that I'm almost four years into the parenting thing, I'm starting to let go a bit more. Especially after having my second and understanding just how different every child can be, I'm starting to realize there really isn't just one right way out there. That what's right for one child may not be for another. And that what's right for one mom also may not be right for another.
As an individual, I remember it took some time to really get to know myself. To understand my own heart and dreams, to know who I was and what mattered to me. I'm realizing that as moms, we all must go through this journey again - to get to know our hearts, dreams, and what matters again - but in the context of this new integral part of ourselves that was birthed at the same time as our first child. And part of that comes with accepting ourselves for who we are and resting in the fact that we are all on a journey, we are all a work-in-progress, and we are all growing - and that's OK.
At the end of the day, I take comfort in the fact that somehow, the universe has chosen me to be "mommy" to these specific children - that no one else but I am meant to be their mama. That no one knows my children better than I do. No one loves my kids as much as I do. No one knows myself better than I do. And no one has the role to dream for, advocate for, and help our children into their own potential quite like I do.
When my kids wake up, no matter the hour, the first word they call out is always "Mommy." When they discover something new, they're excited to show mommy. When they fall, they want a hug from mommy. That's just it. They aren't looking for the perfect parent out there. They just want me - their mommy. That's who we are to them. And they just simply want to be with me. And that's really significant.
All this to say, it's OK mamas. It's OK to seek all the guidance and advice all we want - but trust that after all's been said and done, doing our best is indeed the best that we can do. Beyond all the right developmental toys, the right methods, the right activities, what our kids need more than anything else is just our love, our presence, just us - and that alone will lead us to doing it "right". Take comfort in that. Take ownership of that. And rest in the knowledge that we are enough.
-Christina P. (@onbeingmommy)
Pictured below: Christina in our Own Your Motherhood tee