You have to drop that false guilt! Here’s how.
I love hearing what other mothers do for inspiration and wisdom. I don’t, however, love feeling guilty, inadequate, or sub par. Want to know something? It’s usually us that makes ourselves feel guilty, inadequate or sub-par. I recently read a quote that I believe will help us shed some of the guilt and pressure we put ourselves under.
Obviously, there will be times when something is a problem even if we pretend it isn’t (like the effect of consistently eating unhealthy foods). For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about grey areas. So, in what ways can we use this phrase to help us shed some of the burdens on our shoulders? Let’s hash it out.
How you feed
You can breastfeed or bottle feed. You can start rice cereal at 5 months or skip it and introduce solids at 7 months. There are many ways to feed your kids, and it’s okay to pick what suits you best. I like to hear how others do it, and often use their experiences as examples or to problem-solve. If nursing on a schedule is causing you major stress, then do what works for you.
Another example, all my babies have had fast metabolisms (as do my husband and myself) so by 5 months they were sucking rice cereal down like a banana strawberry smoothie with coconut flakes. By 6 months they were eating more than I was. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. But only slightly. That doesn’t mean you should do that or that you should feel compelled to do what your neighbor does.
Their eating or feeding habits are only a problem if they’re a problem for you.
How you sleep train (or don’t)
I know many women want their babies to sleep longer stretches because they google search it and end up on my blog. For them, having a 6-month-old who wakes 4 times a night to feed is a problem. They get some tips, advice, and thoughts and then go make their own decision.
If you co-sleep, are completely against cry-it-out, and don’t mind waking up multiple times to feed because you see it as bonding, then go on with it! If both you and your baby are content and fine with the arrangement, there’s nothing more to say.
Their sleeping habits are a problem if they’re a problem for you.
What behaviors you discipline
Some mothers will require or restrict certain behaviors that you won’t. I am fairly sensitive to my physical environment so I generally dislike loud noises, background music, or persistent sounds I perceive as negative. Therefore, I absolutely cannot stand whining and screaming.
Not because of a moral issue, but because my heart begins to beat out of my chest and I want to run for the hills. I do everything I can to eradicate these noises. It doesn’t mean I think you have to do that, but rather if it’s a problem for you, now you have a resource.
If the behavior is amoral and non-destructive, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.
How you structure your day
I write a lot about routine and schedules, and I firmly believe they work well in any home. Do I think every home should have one? Well, only if you want one! Some people are fine getting up at 5:30am (God have mercy on those kind souls). Some are happy to go with the flow. Some like fairly detailed routines and structure. There’s no one size fits all, and you and a friend may do things completely different and both raise well-adjusted happy children. Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) there’s no guaranteed formula in parenting.
If you are more stressed with a routine than without, don’t create a problem by trying to stick to one.
Help us figure out what we actually care about
If you see what a friend does or read articles that talk about things you never think of, the pressure and guilt can enter in. Sometimes this is a sign that change may need to happen. Sometimes it’s a sign of nothing. When I begin to think, “Oh my goodness should I do that?…” even though it had never occurred to me before, I evaluate my feelings. If I’m filled with peace and encouragement I take it as a sign that I can implement that in our home. If I feel guilty and heavy, I try to brush it off. Then I repeat this phrase…
It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you…
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