We’ve all been there. Whether it’s when the baby accidentally falls and hurts itself, they choose when you’re in the middle of the store to have a breakdown, when they tell you they like daddy better, or just when you let them have a sugary snack instead of making them eat vegetables; we have all felt at one time or another that we are horrible parents.
It’s not just our own negativity bringing us down, it’s everyone else too! Everyone has an opinion about parenting and it is too often we hear people say, “Well I would NEVER do that with my baby!” or we read an article online proclaiming if you’re not doing these five things you’re scarring your child for life. It’s the doctor saying your child needs fruits and nuts for breakfast because no cereal is healthy or the baby expert saying you must read ten books to your kindergartener every day.
Parents today, especially moms, are expected to work, keep the house spotless, fix healthy food only, take your child to and from extracurriculars, and look like a model doing it. A lot of it is even contradictory! You need to breastfeed but not too much, have a job but do just as much as a stay at home parent, don’t spoil them but don’t traumatize them either, feed them vegan, no paleo, maybe lactose free, or definitely gluten free. They shouldn’t have sugar but you can’t be one of those crazy hippie parents either. That can break you down and second guess everything you do. It can lead to postpartum depression. It can paralyze new parents who feel like they don’t know how to do anything.
As a doula I feel like it’s my job to help you build armor against all that. An armor made of “You’re doing everything right”, “Making a mistake won’t ruin their childhood”, “mess is okay”, and “you can take days off and treat yourself”. You don’t need to take care of everything but you do have to take care of you. You do what you know is right for your family and I promise you, you are a good parent.