My failure took place after I came home from the hospital.
I was stressed and exhausted from my hospital stay. I was very emotional because my baby was hungry. I desperately wanted to nurse, but I didn’t get my milk until 4 days after the c-section. Baby was hysterical from hunger, I was ringing the nurse every few minutes asking for advice and begging them to feed him – all the while so afraid I’d never have the chance to nurse my son.
But it came – and he was fed.
but he was a big baby. Weighing in at 9 1/2 pounds at birth. I just couldn’t keep up with him.
A few nights after having come home from the hospital he screamed all night long. The next day the visiting nurse came by and weighed him. He’d lost too much weight. She suggested supplementing with formula because, as she described, he has screamed all night because he had been hungry!
Yea, we still haven’t gotten over that one yet. I still get tears in my eyes when I think that my poor baby had been crying all night for food and we didn’t read the signals right!
To say that having to give him formula only piled on more guilt is putting it lightly. I felt like a failure.
I was a mom for less than a week and had already failed!
Then came the next failure. This one’s a biggie. Are you ready for it??
It was a crazy day – baby was fussy, I was tired, Z was exhausted from work. But we got him ready, packed in his bassinet, headed out the door. People stopped to see him, exclaiming over him: “What a big boy he is!” Look at his big blue eyes”…and then:
Where’s his hat?
I’ve heard tongues clicking because I chose to use a baby carrier instead of a stroller.
I’ve heard whispers behind my back because I felt a hat in the middle of May was entirely too much for a baby.
And I have decided to hand in my “Perfect Mommy” badge and accept the “Average Mommy” badge because it doesn’t tarnish, it doesn’t wear thin and it is covered in little fingerprints. It is colored on, barfed on, pooped on, peed on, slobbered on, smeared with mashed bananas, and most of all – smothered in love.
Yep – I’m an average mom. I have made TONS of mistakes. Ones that still bring tears to my eyes.
But you know what? My babies still love me. They still prefer me over a perfect stranger. When they are on the playground they still turn around to make sure I’m watching. When they find a treasure (usually, something in my cooking utensil drawer they haven’t spotted before) they want to share it with me. I am still the center of their universe.
They haven’t figured out yet that I am not a perfect mommy – and if they did, I don’t think they’d care!
Our kids don’t expect us to be perfect, they just want us to be there to hold their hands when we go on walks, to exclaim over the little treasures they find, to get down on their level and play with them.
Yea, I’ll make hundreds of more mistakes before they grow up and move away from home. Parenthood is trial and error. I just hope that I get the important things right.
In the meantime, I just hope that I can be an encouragement to mommies everywhere. I hope that I never add guilt to their tender hearts by lecturing them about their mistakes, pointing out their failures, or making them feel like they’ve somehow missed the mark because their methods of child-rearing differ from my own.
But most of all, I hope I help them understand that having a messy looking “Average Mommy Badge” is of greater value by far than a shiny “Perfect Mommy” one any day!