Modern parenting: When did it become such a competitive, high achievement, blood sport? When did every day become an opportunity to feel like a failure because you read a study that said that this thing you’ve been doing — or not doing — since the stick turned blue is all wrong? Well, let’s all take a step back and try to relax. You’re trying your best! Look at you; you’re reading this article, aren’t you? That right there should tell you you’re a great mom, even if…
You didn’t have a “natural birth.” I don’t care if you delivered your baby drug-free in a birthing pool while in Downward Facing Dog pose or whether you demanded drugs like you were at Burning Man. The way your baby comes out of your body has no bearing on your parenting. It also is not going to affect bonding with your baby. I had two C-sections and my twins spent a month in the NICU. They are seven now and I can assure you that we are quite bonded.
You quit breastfeeding (or never breastfed at all). Maybe you tried breastfeeding and it hurt like a motherfucker, or maybe you didn’t try breastfeeding at all. Or maybe you did it for a few months but you had to go back to work and pumping at the office sounded about as doable as hosting a last-minute dinner party for the Queen of England. Whatever. There is no need to feel like a bad mom. Despite what anyone says, breastfeeding is not a necessary component of good parenting. Besides, new studies have found that the benefits of breastfeeding have been overstated anyway. Google it! Bam.
You didn’t fall in love with your baby at first sight. You’re in the hospital, gazing down at the bundle in your arms, and instead of feeling like your insides have turned into love jelly, you’re feeling more like, “What the hell am I going to do with this?” Normal! Or maybe your kid is already a few months and the full-on crazy love train still hasn’t left the station. Still normal! Some moms don’t feel totally head over heels until their kid is walking and talking. It’s not a rom-com; it’s a baby.
(Note: If you feel detached or very sad, let your doctor know! That’s something more serious and there is help! But still not a bad mom!)
Your kids’ lips have tasted fast food (yesterday). So you drove through McDonald’s last night because you were coming back from piano/basketball/theater, your kids were starving and you couldn’t bear to think about what wasn’t simmering in your Crockpot. Newsflash: fast food may not be the healthiest choice, but your kids aren’t going to grow a third head because they had a snack wrap and fries. At least you’re aware! The fact that you feel a bit guilty just proves you’re a good parent. It’s like the thing with truly insane people. They never wonder if they’re crazy. If you’re worried you’re not a good mom over something as trivial as a drive-thru meal, you are. Why not grab yourself a Shamrock shake next time? Yeah, own that shit!
You don’t sit down to “family dinners” four times a week. I read the recent studies that came out saying if you don’t sit down to family dinners your kids are more likely to become drug addicts or end up in jail. Really? So now sitting at the table with my kids while they eat their chicken tenders and ranch dressing at 5:30 p.m. will keep them out of the pokey? If this happens naturally in your house, then fine, but if not, the important part (and newer studies back me up) is that you spend a little time talking to your kids every day. And yes, talking about farts counts as conversation.
You let your kids quit. How many activities is your kid already doing anyway? What’s one less? People get so nutso forcing their children to follow through on things. But if your kid wants to stop playing soccer, why force them to keep going? What’s your endgame? They aren’t going to be the next David Beckham. So let them quit! Now they’ll have more time to do homework and you’ll have more time to check Facebook!
Your kid isn’t gifted. I know that “gifted” is the It label right now, but your kid being gifted or not has nothing to do with your parenting! It doesn’t matter how much you read to your fetus while it’s still in utero, how many infant stimulation techniques you use or how fancy the preschool, you can’t make a kid gifted. They’re born that way. Or, more likely, not born that way. Only 2% – 5% of kids are actually gifted anyway. So go give your average kid a hug!
Feel better? You’re doing fine, mom! Unless you’re one of those moms who lets her 5-year-old drink Dr. Pepper out of a baby bottle. Then you’re a disaster.
Related post: 10 Reasons I Quit Competitive Parenting
For more like this, check out Stefanie’s hilarious new book Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic: And Other Opinions I Can’t Back Up With Facts!