Being a mom is hard.
Being a woman is hard, you’re basically told how to look, feel, think and act 24/7. Ignore society, and you’re told you’re crazy.
Then add raising the future to that list and all of a sudden there’s a law book full of new shit to be told how to do.
Don’t feed them that, feed them this. Don’t tell them that, tell them this. Don’t dress them like that, dress them like this.
If I had one piece of advice to give every mother (and father) out there, it’s this… Forums are NOT your friend. The lines between fact and opinion are very blurred in forums. Any question you ask will get 50 different answers, 10 trolls, and 5 extra questions. It’s not worth it.
Medical questions, call your doctor. Anything else, wing it. I’m serious, parenting is like 90% making shit up as you go. No one really knows what the hell they’re doing, they just pretend to. I pretend really well actually, I’m terrified I’m screwing my kids up, that’s just part of being a parent though. I think that if you know and acknowledge what your parents did right or wrong with you, chances are you’ll be a great parent by avoiding the bad.
For example; if your dad was an alcoholic who watched football and passed out on the couch instead of helping you with your homework…avoid alcohol and vow to always make time for your kid’s education.
If your mom picked favorites and gave you a complex that made you feel like less of a person because your accomplishments never matched up to your siblings…be sure to give equal praise to your children regardless of their pursuits and your opinions of them.
That one always gets me, I knew a guy who had three kids. All adults now, all doing their own thing. Two sons and one daughter. He talked non-stop about his sons. One was a lawyer, the other in the military. When asked about his daughter he never had much to say besides random things about the guy she was dating or he’d say something along the lines of “she hasn’t figured out her life yet”. Then I meet his daughter and she’s this incredible artist, living a minimalist life, spending every moment she can doing exactly what she loves.
To me, that girl is just as impressive as the man’s sons. But the dude obviously didn’t see it that way.
I think about this often with Jax. I worry that he’ll grow to resent me because his sister requires more praise, attention and care. I can only hope that we can teach him to understand and love her as much as we do.
I hope that I can dedicate as much time to him as I do to her, and if not, that he can know I love him just as much as I love her.
So, that’s what it all comes down to. Just keeping your fingers crossed that you don’t screw them up too much. Oh and that they don’t grow to hate you.
That’s just considering their emotional health. You open up a whole new can of worms when you consider their physical health.
I swore up and down that I was going to breastfeed my son for at least a year. I suffered from postpartum depression with my daughter and I attributed part of that to me not being able to breastfeed with her. I didn’t want that to happen again.
After a week home with the boy, his doctor tells us he’s losing too much weight. I knew I wasn’t producing enough, I was desperately pumping, feeding, pumping with very minimal results. So, the doctor recommended we supplement until my milk came in. I was so sad and disappointed. My heart hurt every time we had to give him a bottle. I knew it was good that he would start gaining weight but there’s something truly terrible about being a mom and feeling like you can’t even do the most basic thing properly.
My husband didn’t get it, he didn’t realize how much it hurt me. This went on for weeks, me pumping like a crazy woman, nursing every chance I got. And still, the weight gain was minimal and I barely produced 4-5 oz. a day from pumping. Slowly the supplementing turned into formula feeding and nothing was really said about it.
After about a week of formula feeding, on the weekend I mentioned to my husband trying to get on a pump schedule again and give it one last shot and he just nodded absent-minded while making dinner. Internally, I lost my shit. I don’t remember if I said anything but I do remember storming off and having a bit of a tantrum. He still didn’t understand.
So a few days later on our way to work I brought it up, telling him how terrible it made me feel. How I almost felt sick to my stomach every time I thought about not being able to feed my baby. I explained the pressure that’s placed on mothers to be able to breastfeed and how depressed I felt not being able to for the second time! This could be my last child and I’ve failed twice, that’s how it feels. He had no idea, he was completely oblivious to the fact that it was such a big deal. He just knew it was another thing we talked about doing and it didn’t work out so we were adapting.
But I wasn’t adapting, I was holding in all of my stress and sadness, the whole time wondering why my husband couldn’t tell I was upset about it.
I haven’t given up my dream of breastfeeding, it’s just…not exactly how imagined it. I’m not a stay at home mom so EBF (exclusively breastfeeding) was never an option really. And formula will most likely stay in the picture. I don’t think my husband realized that I didn’t just need his help with changing and feeding and normal baby duties but I need his help with pumping too.
I don’t mean like holding the pump and actively helping. I mean, giving me the time to pump. Helping me feel comfortable spending so much time trying to increase my supply. Helping me not feel so worthless for not being one of those women that it just magically happens for.
He didn’t know what I needed because I didn’t say it. I thought I had the whole “men are not mind readers” life lesson down but I guess not. Communication ladies and gentlemen, it’s kind of important.
End result, I’m trying to stress less about it, while still being hopeful. I’m trying to ignore forums and posts that say my baby will be obese or developmentally delayed because of formula. And I’m trying desperately to ignore the judging look from my mother as she asks “Is there a reason you’re not giving him expressed milk anymore?”
Grandmas are great aren’t they? A post for another time perhaps.
See what I mean, being a mom is freaking hard.
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