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This post is prompted by, one too many conversations. One too many conversations where I hear women around me questioning themselves. As mothers, we want the best for our children……and as a result we question EVERYTHING. Are our children eating enough? Are they eating too much? Should we sleep train? Should we cosleep? Should we breastfeed? Supplement? Formula Feed? Work outside the home? Never leave the home?
I get it mamas. Trust me, I am NOT immune to mom guilt. It sneaks up on you. I find myself wondering if me working outside the home is best for our daughter. I find myself wondering if she eats enough. If I make her the best possible meals. I find myself wondering if I should put her in more classes and activities. I wonder if she watches too much TV.
But here's the deal. I have a unique perspective. For the last thirteen years, I have watched children separate from their parents and start kindergarten. For some of these kids, it's the FIRST time they are away from their mothers for more than an hour or two. For some, it's totally the norm.
Here are the things I've noticed. I can never tell which child was breastfed and which was formula fed. I can never tell which child was home with a parent, which was in a daycare, and which was raised by a member of their extended family.
What I CAN tell? Which child was given attention from the adults in their lives. Which child was read to on a regular basis. Which child was showered with love by their caregivers. Which child was taught to be proud of themselves.
And you know what else I can tell? Which child lives in a healthy, balanced home. And that? Requires a healthy and balanced mom. So mamas, I challenge you (and myself) to think about what that looks like FOR YOU. What do you need to be the best mother you can be? Is it working outside the home? Is it staying home? Is it going for a run each evening? Is it a coffee date with a friend once a week? I recently read an article about quality time with children versus quantity of time…..it was EYE opening. It made me realize that it was ok to make myself a priority during this stage TOO. That making myself a priority didn't mean that my daughter WASN'T a priority.
This time in our lives, and the lives of our babies is fleeting. It's also extremely challenging. So, I guess my whole point? Is that doing the best we can do, is all we can do. So mamas, I applaud you. For trying your best, even on the days that YOU think your best isn't good enough. I guarantee it is. And I guarantee that your children feel THEIR best when you love them with all you've got.