Admit it moms; 7 months pregnant, tired with a fun array of pregnancy ailments (sore hips and heartburn in my case), you spent a lot of time motherplan-dreaming. Daydreaming about the perfect mother you were going to be.
That mother I saw feed a chip to their 2 year old. The screaming child at the restaurant. No siree. That was not going to be me as a mother. No way.
Fast forward to post womb exit baby. When baby won’t sleep, is teething and mother is sleep deprived on night 4 at 3 am… that motherplan-dreaming is out the window.
So let’s celebrate how, despite veering off the path of mother goddesses, we are still perfect, wonderful and capable mothers.
Here is a list of things I swore I would never do as a parent… and have ended up doing.
Expectation: NO Screen time
Baby was strictly never going to see a TV/Ipad/phone screen until she was 2 years old. No exceptions.
Except…here’s this thing. When she was a newborn. She wasn’t watching (she was too busy eating and sleeping) and I watched my Law & Order marathons.
Never mind that she started dancing to the theme song when she was 6 months old. It didn’t count. No. she wasn’t going to grow up to be Olivia Benson or a killer… nah.
But then at 7 months old, I realised that if I put on Sesame Street, I could actually shower without having to the put the bouncer directly in front of the shower and pull funny faces to avoid her cries… so okay. She can watch Sesame Street, every second day for 10 minutes.
But then I realised that once in a while mommy needed to do laundry. Do we have to continue down this shameful path?
Full disclosure; ABCKids is generally on in the background but the only time she watches it is during the morning when I shower and start breakfast up. And when I’m tired and need a break. It usually involves me dancing to the TV and us having a good sing and dance.
And I always read 2 books to counteract the negative impact of the screen… ah mom guilt. It’s a real thing
Expectation: Homemade housewife cooking Goddess. Do not buy *gasp! Horror!* store bought baby food.
I pictured myself channeling Gwyneth in all her ‘Goop’ inspired goodness; choosing from my macrobiotic/organic/single origin/expensive homemade baby food options.
Goop editors were going to be proud. They would hail me as a mother to channel on their blog!
Well. Anyone who knows Goop knows that this would have included outrageously priced kitchen appliances and probably with me as mommy wearing white Chanel pants and a gazillion dollar face cream. (Yes I went off on a tangent. I would really like gazillion dollar face cream to be honest.)
Nope. Still shopping at Aldi. And frankly, I have done the whole roast pumpkin, burn it, repeat roasting, mash and then watch baby chck half on floor. (And my heart break.)
My expectations are a little more realistic. Breakfast is the fun meal – we experiment. We eat together, I don’t stress if we make a mess. (Well I just lied there. I still hate mess) But mostly eat oats, try to sneak fruit in (Raffaela hates it!) and toast. Lunch and dinner are either packets (Shock! Horror!) or what we are eating, mashed. Hubby gave me grief about packaged baby food at first but unless he wants to become familiar with various roasting/steaming/blitzing veggie methods, he can calmly step back.
Expectation: Strict sleep schedule and NO Co-sleeping
This one I REALLY struggled with. The risk of SIDS, safety of baby is pushed on us mothers from day one. And co-sleeping was public enemy #1 in the face of SIDS.
Co-sleeping came naturally to us from the beginning… what exactly is co-sleeping? Sleeping with the baby in bed.
To clarify, I tend to breastsleep, which means that while we are sharing the bed, Raffaela seems to be permanently attached to my breast in her sleep.
It works for us. Co-sleeping has gotten a little harder for us as she started taking up more room in the bed and lately sharing the bed has decreased from all night every night to just the tough teething nights and from around 4am every morning. If I don’t, Raffaela is ready to start the day. No thank you.
And I love it. When she wakes up around 4.30am and I get to cuddle her for a few more hours, I savour it. Because there is no way 17 year old Raffaela is going to breastsleep with me and want to cuddle me and wake up with a biggest smile. I want those mornings to last forever. Bliss.
For the things that I swore I was never going to do, there are some things that I have (perhaps surprisingly) stuck to.
REALITY: Chill mommy chill baby
Babies pick up your moods and anxieties, so I try to stay chill for the sake of the baby.
Random lady comes up to me in the shopping centre and coos over Raffaela? I smile, appreciate that the kindness of strangers is unlike anything else when you have a happy baby. Raffaela looks at me and then smiles. Raffaela passed to a distant relative at a family event? I smile at her and she relaxes. Don’t worry; random man comes up to me and holds Raffaela without my okay? Not chill mommy. Family member refused to get vaccinated and wanted to hold my 3 week old? NO CHILL HERE.
REALITY: No judgment
Whether you’re reading this list going “well I never!!” or “Amen, sister!” Keep doing what you’re doing… if you, baby and family unit are happy, it must be working.
And at the end of the day we all have the same goal; give our kids the very best of us to raise the best versions of themselves, even when that means the very best of pureed packaged, bought food. (Sorry Gwenyth!)