Yesterday morning a little voice spoke from the other side of my bedroom door.
“Mommy, can I watch my shows now?”
I glanced at my clock to confirm what my body already knew: it was far too early to get out of bed. I groaned, weighed my options, and without thinking said, “Why don’t you just come lay down with me for a little while?”
It wasn’t until much later that I realized I never let me kids crawl into my bed. The last time either Aubrey or Sydney slept in my bed was when we lived in Georgia and a hurricane was predicted to smash through our area. That was around ten years ago. I just don’t like having kids in my bed, and I never have. After breastfeeding time is over, it’s my bed. All mine. I share with Josh when he’s home, but otherwise, no thanks. I’ve reiterated this rule on many occasions to friends who complain of little ones who sleep with them sideways or snore or repeatedly kick them in their sleep.
And then yesterday, without a second thought, I broke my own rule. And it wasn’t too bad. I mean, I’m not planning on making it a habit, but it did buy me another hour of sleep so you won’t hear me complaining.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started this post and couldn’t find the words. I have known for a few years now that I have spent my entire adult life as an I-would-never Mom. I would never breastfeed more than a year. (Alli and I made it to 21 months.) I would never spend over a hundred bucks on a baby carrier. (At $114, my Ergo was a steal!) I would never breastfeed in public. (I’m quite certain that folks on both coasts and all in between have caught a glimpse of my “girls”.)
And it definitely goes further than simply I-would-never comments. Before I had Alli I couldn’t understand why a parent who didn’t work would place their child in daycare. Now I know. It’s for my sanity. Before I had Sydney, I couldn’t fathom why anyone would plop an older child, plenty old enough to walk, in a double stroller. Now I understand how difficult it is to push a stroller, hold a hand, and maintain any sort of direction. Add in a bottle of water and phone call from my man, and someone is bound to get lost. And don’t even get me started on all the things “I knew” before Aubrey came along. It’s funny how before I had kids, I was such a great parent, and fifteen years later, I still have no idea what I’m doing.
I guess I never realized, in the midst of it all, just how judgmental I was being, and I know I didn’t realize how my opinions and comments (and to be honest probably a few sneers and eye rolls) could affect another mom who was just trying to get by. I find myself now in the position of just trying to get by, and more and more often I find myself breaking one of my I-would-never rules. I have seen a few eye rolls and sneers pointed at me, and I know how angry and hurt and self-conscious it makes me feel (which is really saying something because normally I don’t give a crap what people think), and it makes me feel all the worse for the bad feelings I’m sure I have caused over the years.
But I’m learning … the hard way.
Each time I break one of my own I-would-never rules, I feel guilty and say a little prayer that whomever I sneered or eye rolled at simply sneered or eye rolled back at me. Each time I realize how judgmental I have been, I do my best to not ever do that again, and when I spend time with younger mothers who might need a little advice or just a little boost, I try to advise them that whatever works for you and your baby IS the right thing to do no matter what anyone says.
I also try to advise them not to judge other moms. We all have to make our way, and whatever way works is the way we should be accepted and loved for. I hope if I can pass on anything, any word of advice or any tidbit of knowledge, that’s it.
I mean, I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life. Of course not. I would never …