Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mama Fail

Being a parent is much harder than you would think. It's so easy to feel like a failure, mostly because parents are very competitive.

This is my blog, which I consider a journal, and I will say anything that I want to, whatever I feel. But in real life, I would only ever tell another parent that they are doing something wrong if I felt they were harming their child in someway and aside from an occasional dirty look I have never witnessed anything that required this.

It blows my mind when other parents ask me something that I do, look at me blankly, then promptly tell me to do something different. Example:

"How are the babies eating?"

"They both eat 4 ounces whenever they are hungry and Ever eats rice cereal because she wasn't satisfied with just formula. Ocean will try it again when he is 4 months."

Stare from person, followed by this response:

"You know that studies show babies that eat solids before 6 months are more likely to be obese."

Mental response. "You know that genetics with the combo of 44 ounce Mountain Dews twice a day followed by the bacon cheeseburger from the drive thru is probably a lot more likely to cause obesity?"

Real response: (smile) "Really? I didn't know that." Subject change.

Another example . . .

"What a cute picture of Ocean. Is that a Bumbo seat?"

Me: "Yes, he looks so cute sitting in it."

Person: "Oh no. If you let him sit in it then he is going to get messed up hips and need tons of physical therapy. Most places don't even sell them anymore."

Mental response: "Are you freaking kidding me?"

Real response: (smile) "Really? I didn't know that." Subject change.

I've already discussed breastfeeding in another post which always seems to bring out these types of responses as well. I know it is ridiculous to compare myself to other people. I also know everyone, including myself, always knows what they *think* they should do, but it doesn't always happen exactly that way. There are two things that will not be included in my parenting that I know for sure: yelling and spanking children in public places. Nothing would make me do that. Anything else though and we are a "go with the flow" and "whatever works best" family.

I recently received good advice from another person who I admitted to that I struggle sometimes with the weight of trying to do everything right, trying to be myself, trying to go to work and actually get things done, and trying to be a great mommy. In comparison to others, I seem to be failing.

Then I was told this about all the perfect parenting I see that makes me paranoid:

"They're probably lying."

I never thought of this! I guess I should have known that moms like to one up other moms. I just never have thought to lie to someone else about my monkeys. When people tell me their kid did this or that or their perfect methods of child rearing, I say "congrats" but I'm not sure how much I really think about it after the fact so it's not so impressive that it's worth lying for. Besides, I get impressed just by looking at my babies, do I really need to make something up about them? :)

So I may not be following a million parenting books to a tee and reading all the latest studies or running marathons two days after child birth or making six figures or teaching my 3 month olds to read, but my babies are healthy and happy. And cute. And they light up when I enter the room so clearly I am doing something right which gives me the continued ability to smile, nod, and change the subject.


  1. This was great to read. I haven't given birth to my twins yet but of course I worry about how to be a great parent. I expect to get overwhelmed and fail at certain things but mostly I expect to hear advices and how wonderful other parents are, etc. Now, I think I will be keeping that in mind, cause I didn't really think of it that way before... "they are probably lying"... that is probably the truth. And I'm with you, your babies are healthy and happy and that to me tops the good mom chart. Ignore the rest =)

  2. I have a feeling I'll feel guilty all the time - I already do! But you are right on the money - your babies and happy and healthy, so you are doing it right! :)

  3. What a great post, Ashley! That's all we can do...our best:)...I never thought of others needing to lie either, but I guess if they have to "one up"...geez! It can be competetive, huh? I never read the parenting books (except loved Happiest Baby on the Block:)) or anything to do with sleep training either and was kind of nervous about it when I heard about the methods everyone was using. We just found what soothed Rachel, kept to a "sort of" schedule which she pretty much made and winged it:) has always worked for us...I think you are doing fantabulous! (my biggest peeve was the nosiness about whether or not I was breastfeeding and "oh no!" because I wasn't! Hmmmm...healthy, happy baby...and so not your business:)...HuGs, Lori

  4. My MIL informed me once that juice was the number one cause of childhood obesity. (really? Video games, lack of outside playtime, sugar soda, fast food... all take a back burner to Evil Juice.) The funniest part is, my kids wouldn't drink juice. I offered, they refused. Good ol' H2O for them.

    Sadly, I have yelled in public. I can count on one hand the times I have ever spanked at all so that isn't an issue. (and once was for running into the street when I clearly yelled "stop". If you look at me, smiel and do it anyway I fully know you understood the command.) I never expected to. I have a lot of patience. I have years of early childhood under my belt, but two 3 yr olds 24/7 changes things. LOL (and I often tell them, "don't make me run in public".... maybe my mom fed me cereal early and that is why I am overweight.

    We still try hard to never say never. I'll yell, "Shut up!" or "C'mon, show me you have more sense than that!" but I try to never say never! LOL

  5. Is it bad that some of your mental responses have actually come out of my mouth? Mommies everywhere need to realize that Red Dye #40 and breastfeeding until a child is 17 isn't going to solve the world's problems.

  6. I agree with Lori`s comment. I hate the look mommies give me when I say I don`t BF. After having my own baby, I never ever ask new moms if they are BF because why is that my business?


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