Babies aren’t born with an instruction manual. They come fully assembled, sure, but other than that you pretty much get a pat on the back, a congrats and diapers (for you and your baby) and off you go to raise the future generation. No pressure.
“Do your research” they say. “Make informed parenting decisions” they say.
And I obliged. Like really obliged.
I was almost as obsessed with being the PERFECT parent as I was with my sweet little baby. I needed to be a perfect mom. I just knew I would be. I would be that mom. You know the one.
And I’m not talking “sit com mom”, who is always in the kitchen with an apron and a smile handing out packed lunches to polite children, cliche perfect.
I’m talking about the mom who organizes toys in a way that maximizes creativity and development. Ya know, primary colors-no flashing lights and sound- organized at eye level for easy access. I’m talking about the mom whose child eats chicken nuggets, but only home made chicken liver nuggets that are gluten free. Her children can read on a 5th grade level by kindergarten and have a gut microbiome so robust scientist are asking her for their stool samples, perfect.
And parts of me are still with that mom (really, please feed your kids gut flora) BUT I am so far from being THAT mom.
And I fell so far down the rabbit hole of the world wide web searching how to be her that I lost moments that could have been spent finding the mom that I already am.
I searched through articles, Pinterest, mom groups, Montessori and parenting books because I was going to succeed. I was going to be that mom. But in the moments I spent, face illuminated by my phone screen, searching for how to be just that, I missed out on the smallest moments that were already shaping my daughter.
All she saw was her mom playing with something that she couldn’t play with. She has to play with primary colored blocks by herself. What kinda scam was this???
I gave up on the organized shelving in favor of baskets, but my daughters know how to put her toys in them.
Her favorite toy is a barn that makes noises and sounds and all that other hooblah that’s no good, but she knows the names and sounds of all her farm “aminals”.
She loves watching “tartoons” almost as much as she loves being read to, and reading books herself.
And, despite many saved Pinterest recipes, I still haven’t broken down and cooked a grass fed, pasture raised liver to this day. Maybe in the future I will have a taste for offal, but right now it’s just awful.
I’m not giving up on being the best mom, I’m simply being the best one I can be. I will never stop educating myself to make the best choice, but I will stop obsessing over the best choice.
I will never stop striving to give my children the best, and maybe some day that will include gluten free chicken liver nuggets. But in the meantime-no more searching, I’m found.