Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I was reading an article the other day about the so-called “mommy wars” that’s going on. Like the stay-at-home moms versus the working-moms, the breast-feeding moms versus the ones who say formula is just fine, the city moms versus the suburbs moms… the list goes on and on. But as I was reading the article, I began to think: Are these wars really about caregivers who feel that their ways of parenting is best? Or does it have something to do with insecurities? Like, do moms, especially new ones, feel the need to “put-down” other moms’ ways of parenting just to make themselves feel a bit better? Or is it a mixture of both strong beliefs and insecurities?

I must admit that when Aiden was a newborn and as he progressed through different stages of his development thus far, I let the “mommy wars” get to me. Before I gave birth, I vowed that I would breastfeed my kid until he was at least 1-year-old; I swore that formula was not as good as breast milk, and couldn’t understand why mothers would even give formula to their babies. When breast-feeding became too difficult, I wanted to quit. But I still strongly believed that it was better than formula. Until I went back to work. It really became very hard for me to pump while at work so I quit breastfeeding way before I thought I would. And up until my kid was 1-year-old, I regretted it and always felt that I shoulda breastfed him for longer, and that I coulda breastfed him for longer, if I woulda been more driven. And my guilt and insecurities didn’t stop at just breastfeeding. I shoulda stayed home longer with him, I shoulda found an apartment in the suburbs somewhere, I shoulda enrolled him in Mommy-and-Me classes a lot sooner, I shoulda started him on solids a lot sooner, I shoulda had him potty trained before the age of 2 ½… yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. The list can literally be everlasting.

Now whenever I feel an insecurity creeping up, or something out there that challenges one of my strong beliefs, I shake it off and remind myself that we are all doing the best that we can. I truly believe that. And if most mothers are doing the best for their family circumstance, then in the words that someone said some time ago, Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?

Hey, it’s totally okay if some other fabulous mom has a different way of doing things than I would do it, and vice versa. Who am I to judge? I don’t want to feud with her; I want to applaud her. For doing her best. So here’s to fantabulous parenting… the very best way you know how! Cheers!



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