The other day I found myself questioning, yet again in my motherhood journey, whether I was a good mom or not. Some days I really feel like super mom getting everything done and feeling an overall productiveness wash over me, then there are times I feel like I’m still figuring things out, but in between all those moments what really goes through my mind is what the heck am I doing right now. If you are like me and carry the same kind of worry around your neck then I am here to share my epiphany. I am here to tell you it’s not you…it’s them. Our kids stink. Of course, I am completely joking. Well, sort of. What I mean to say is that you are amazing and these tiny little humans full of so much excitement, energy, and pure destructiveness are beautiful blessings that like to test our limits. We did it to our parents and these kids are now doing it to us.
It is the circle of life in the most perfect of ways.
They run on their own little schedules, they have their own little demands, and sometimes they have no idea what they want. And all of that is fine except when it leaves me feeling like I am doing this whole mom thing wrong.
Here is an example for you.
Lately my two year old has been taking the wheel on what he wants to eat and when. I am used to picky eaters and I am used to having to make different meals for the children in my life. What I am not used to is the refusal to eat. I’ll make a perfectly executed “kid friendly” meal that everyone can enjoy and my son will simply say no. I’ll make him things I know he likes and has eaten in the past and still I get a no. I’ve gotten to the point where I will literally give him just about anything so long as he is eating. Now, I do have my stipulations, I don’t do dessert as substitutes, and I will not buy fast food when I have created a delicious feast for the family. His foods of choice include; peanut butter sandwiches, cheese, peppers, and cereal. He accepts salad and applesauce on specific days…I am never sure when those days are though. He will also take pretzels and chicken. But even the chicken is a hit or miss entree.
Cue feelings of hopelessness as a mom. If I give him cereal for dinner am I doing him a disservice? If I settle and give him a peanut butter sandwich instead of the meal I’ve planned out am I stunting his pallet? These are actual things I think about. Most of my mom friends say that toddlers will not starve themselves, and I get that, but if he is refusing to eat and instead chanting for cookies what am I suppose to do?
You see my dilemma?
I try not to cave when he is crossing his arms and asking for cheese and crackers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I feel like if I don’t give it to him he will never eat again for the rest of his little life. Slightly dramatic, sure. That doesn’t change the fact that this little guy is making this mom feel like I’ve never done this whole parenting thing before.
My goals for this stubborn little man are to keep trying. Possibly be just as stubborn. And silently rejoice when he actually exclaims that the meal I have slaved over is, “Yum!” Scratch that. Openly rejoice when he likes what I feed him. Right? Right!
The thing is, motherhood, parenting, it’s all a learning process. Whether you are a first timer or this is your fourth baby. It’s a never ending opportunity to grow, explore, and sometimes compromise. What worked with the first, or second, may not work whatsoever with the next one. So if you find yourself feeling insecure about your decisions surrounding your babies just know that if you love them with every fiber of your being, if you are willing to sacrifice, if you are okay with sleepless nights, then you are doing this whole thing right and you are amazing. Advice I will try to carry with me, too.
Don’t forget to smile. The kids love smiles.