Can we please talk about how many books, articles, lectures, and movies there are instructing us on how to be better mothers???!!! Seriously, we are told every.single.day that we need to do something different in order to be better parents to our children. Previous generations did things wrong, we're doing things wrong, and there's someone out there who knows how to do it right so we all need to listen up and follow directions!!!
I cannot tell you how sick I am of being told that I'm doing something wrong every day in every way in my life. It all starts innocently when you're a teenager, glancing through Seventeen Magazine about how you need to kiss differently, wear different clothes, and style your hair like the latest teen idol. From there, we graduate to Cosmopolitan or Vogue and learn that we're overweight, undersexed, and don't have enough money. As mothers, we're bombarded with online and print articles from every parenting resource about how the French do it better, no TV till age 3, or you'vealreadyfuckedthemuptoolatesorry...
And, I might add, where the heck are the articles for FATHERS??? Why is it that every "self improvement" (if we can call it that) article for "parents" is really, let's be honest here, for mothers. Do men sit online after the kiddos have gone to bed, searching the net for "how to be a better father"? hahahahahahah... no... A mother is lucky if she can find something about the male side of parenting that a father will read and even then, she better catch him on the way into the bathroom, exchanging his smart phone for whatever piece of reading material she wants him to read (try it, I'm pretty sure this works, ladies!).
My advice on how to be a better mother is simple: do what your motherly instincts tell you to do! So far, my instincts have NEVER gotten me in trouble with my daughter. I trust my gut as much as I can and I feel as though we've all benefited. I knew I could successfully breastfeed and I knew it was the best thing for her. We continue to nurse just once a day. Being pregnant, it's painful and I don't have much milk to offer but I can tell, going with my gut, it's the best decision for both mother and child (and father who gets to get just a couple extra minutes of sleep in the morning while us girls snuggle up next to him). I knew when it was time to let Emma fuss herself to sleep and we moved forward with a variation of The Sleep Easy Solution. Screw everybody else (especially those people who told me they put their child's crib in the far basement bedroom and let her cry herself to sleep down there so she would learn to do it on her own) who had different ideas about how to get MY daughter to sleep better and more independently at night. I trusted my gut and (gasp) didn't get my daughter a flu shot this year! Everyone said she needed one but I just had a feeling she really didn't... sure enough, flu season has reared its ugly head and... she's had a cold... ONE cold in her entire 15 months of life.
We won't talk about the times when I've doubted myself, gone against my instincts, and done to my child what someone else said I should do. Examine yourself as a parent. I bet the times you've wronged your child, it was not because you made the decision that your gut was telling you to... you read an article, consulted a family member, or trusted an expert and, ultimately, made a mistake.
I invite all mothers to put mistakes behind us and move forward as self-confident, independent-thinking women who KNOW HOW TO BE MOMS BECAUSE WE ARE MOMS.
Look at that! We're better mothers already ; )