I Hate Being A Parent In This Day

Monday, September 26, 2016
Photo By Kiely Ro Photography

I was talking to Hunter's grandma the other day on the way home from a baby shower, and the conversation we had really stuck with me.
We began talking about motherhood, pregnancy, and children. 
She said something along the lines of "I had no idea what any of you girls were talking about with your pregnancies. It's like I didn't go through it 5 times with how little of the medical terms I understood."
I then told her I was just about as clueless as her and I actually went through a pregnancy in this day and age.
Giggling, I then said: "Yeah you should've seen the look on the nurse's face when she asked for my birth plan and all I said was, an 'epidural and a healthy baby.' " 
Her response: "Birth plan? What the heck is that? Isn't everyone's plan to you know, have a baby?"
I chuckled to myself... "yep, you'd think so."

The conversation took turns all over the place surrounding the topic of motherhood, but she then shared a story with me I might never forget.
She told me about a time when she was a young girl. They had a pool in their backyard and she was swimming in it alone. It had never dawned on her that neither of her parents were out there watching her. Not even a sibling. She went on top of the roof of the shed and dove off into the pool. She instantly realized it was a bad idea because she smacked her head on the bottom of the pool. She swam to the top and caught her her breath from being terrified. She then said, "And can you guess what I was thinking about when I was holding on to the ledge gasping for air?"
I answered: "Well, that was probably the first time you realized your parents maybe should be out there watching you."
Her answer: "Nope, I realized I should never do that dumb dive again. It taught me to figure it out for myself and I made sure to never do it again. Sure if my parents were out there they would've told me not to do it in the first place, but I wouldn't have known why. I instead figured it out for myself. Nowadays, if someone heard that story they would've called CPS."

I laughed with her as we exchanged a few more ridiculous motherhood moments such as the time a lady made sure to come up to me as I was putting Oaklyn in her car seat and asked if I was hurting her because she was crying.
I wanted to smack her and ask if she's ever put a tired 10 month old in a car seat but I decided to let her think she was the best dog mom around instead.
There was also the time I gave Oaklyn one of those lollipops at the grocery store checkout and the woman behind me decided she should advise me not to give my one year old sugar.

I "can't wait" to see what other stories the rest of my motherhood journey will bring but I can almost guarantee it'll bring several more nights I fall asleep feeling guilty because I'm not cut out to be a mother in this era.
Sure, there are several gadgets we have now that our grandmothers could have only dreamed of back when they were mothers.
My mom couldn't believe they didn't have something as simple as a pacifier clip when I was little now that it's always attached to Oaklyn.
We may have all this awesome gear to "simplify" our lives now, but we also have too many "Nazi Moms" that are right there to tell us our child is going to die because we gave them goldfish in their lunchbox, used the off brand of sunscreen, or gave them a sippy cup that isn't bpa free.
Then there's the people that either have never been a parent, or think they're the perfect one (because they got lucky and got an easy kid) that give you dirty looks because your child dared to actually make a peep while you were shopping.
Or maybe you've all come across someone that thinks you could have been watching your child better when they get hurt.
I'm sure there was a little of this judgement back in the time Hunter's grandma was a mother, but by the sound of it, I should've given birth in that era.

The thing is, the mom groups are awesome, the ability to share knowledge with each other over the internet is great, and the freedom we get to decide how our child is born is exactly what some moms want.
But, the complexity of being a mother now is insane.
I mean come on, we have an entire aisle just dedicated to car seats.
How the heck is anyone supposed to know which one to buy??
I remember standing in the aisle when it was time to move Oaklyn out of her infant seat and feeling so overwhelmed with choices I almost just wanted to give up.
The mother next to me asked "Do you know what percentage of steel Chicco uses in their car seats?"
I looked at her with eyes wide open and said, you're gonna have to ask siri... I didn't even know car seats had steel in them.
Then I looked at Oaklyn and felt so sorry for her that I didn't know everything about everything and felt like I was inadequate to be her mom.
She smiled at me and drooled a little on her shirt and I remembered that I grew up on Koolaid and Lunchables with turkey that may have actually been rubber.
 And ya know what, I think I turned out just fine.

Being a mom nowadays means information you didn't ask for being thrown at your face every way you turn.
It means another mom disagreeing with your every decision or judging you for doing something different than they did.
It means wondering if you're doing the right thing at every moment of the day and questioning yourself with every move you make.
But it shouldn't be that way...

So here's me, another average mom, telling you that you are doing A-Okay mama.
If your baby is fed whether that be breast milk or formula, whole milk or goats milk, homemade purees or gerber jars, you're doing it right.
If your child gets sleep when they're tired, whether that's in your bed or their crib, in your arms or in their swing, with a sound machine or nothing at all, you are doing your job.
If your child is learning, whether that be home school or public school, charter school or private school, community college or a university, you should be proud of yourself for getting them that far.
If you think for one second you are failing according to the new standards of being a mom, you are not.
Keep smothering your kid with kisses, help them achieve their goals, give them a dang chicken nugget, and tell them how much you love them.
Because seriously, there is absolutely no right way to parent.
There are a million and a half suggestions if you want to listen to them, but being a mama is hard enough.
Instead just ask yourself "What would grandma do?"

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

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