What I Wish I Had Before I Became a Mom
It really got me thinking…
I wish I knew breastfeeding was far harder than it looked.
I wish I had planned more.
I wish I knew all the options for childcare and the various benefits and ramifications.
I could go on and on but the truth is, I WAS warned. I HAD heard about all the above and more. Breast is best vs. fed is best. They must stay home until they are 2 years old at the earliest. Don’t let a nanny put your baby on their back. No screen-time. Avoid all salt and sugar. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate. Start swim lessons ASAP.
The reality is, what I wish I had before I had kids was my mom confidence. I wish I had a clearer understanding of the fact that my motherhood journey is mine. That my mama gut will know better than any other person’s opinion, experience, or even the statements by the pediatric associations and childcare professionals (within reason of course). It even knows better than grandparents, believe it or not! Shhhh but don’t tell them that 😉.
A Swim Lesson Disaster
Just last week, I took my youngest son to his first proper swim lesson (“proper” as in the teacher wasn’t ME). I was so excited. His big brother (nearly 4 years old) had just learned to swim unaided this summer (without swim lessons I must add) and, after a chat with hubby, we decided it would be best to get them in to lessons now so they can be even more equipped in the water, sooner rather than later.
It was a disaster. To say it gently, my little man is as strong willed as they come (so different to his brother!). He kicked and screamed the entire lesson, starting with refusing to wear his swim nappy. Then, he decided he truly didn’t like his teacher. And, after observing her refuse to let him get acclimated with her and his new surrounds before she rushed in to her rigid routine of a swim lesson, I decided I didn’t like her very much either. Well, to be fair, I just didn’t like her as a swim instructor for my youngest son.
Let Go of the Guilt
What would’ve previously been a serious confidence-crushing episode for me that would rapidly spiral in to self-doubt and guilt, turned in to some serious mama power. I realised in that lesson that I finally had my mama confidence, or my #momfidence if you will. My mama gut filled with its innate power and I allowed myself to take over, showing the teacher how we do lessons at home. Then, rather than worry about what she was thinking of me or my son, I put my energy in to making sure he felt accepted and in a safe space.
What followed? My son relaxed. He let me dip his head in the water like we do at home, he reached for the toy beneath the surface as I encouraged him on, assuring him mama has him and he won’t get hurt. I taught my oldest son how to swim unassisted, why did I doubt that I could do it again? Or that I MUST put my boys in swim lessons at this age? What made me doubt that I could do it was a lack of inner confidence as a mom.
This is just one example, but I could give so many more! Choosing the medication over the homeopathic herbs, taking away the bottle, letting them keep the bottle, putting them in their own room, sending them to creche, taking them back out of creche, the list goes on.
Please Your Family First
At the end of the day, motherhood is like anything else in life, you cannot please everyone. And if you’re trying to, the unhappy people will be the ones you live with – your family. Don’t let that happen to you. Do what feels right for you, for your marriage, for your family. No one has to live your life and the outcomes of your decisions but YOU. Trust that inner voice, it really does know best.
So, there you have it Bailey, this is my truth. I wish what I knew before I had kids was that my mama gut will always know best. And I think this would be a fantastic talk on your new “smile parenting” segment – finding and accepting your innate mama confidence!