I sat across the table from a woman who had her three kids in tote. We were having lunch with a mutual friend and waiting on our food. My daughter was getting fidgety in her high chair, so I did my best to entertain her with Mum Mums, and toys before her steamed veggies arrived.
When I looked up and across the table I noticed the woman across from me also entertaining her children. But with sugar packets. One by one I saw her reach into the container holding sugar and wannabe-sugar, open up the packets, and pour them on her son and daughter’s drink coasters. Her two and three year olds were as quiet as can be as they licked their fingers and dipped them into the growing pile of white goodness.
I couldn’t help but chuckle. Here I was feeling guilty for not wiping the table down an extra time before letting my daughter devour a banana, while this experienced mom of three pacified her kids with Equal.
I had to tell her how funny it looked. And I laughed as I wondered how many other moms do this when no one is watching.
You know how people say with your first baby if their paci falls to the floor you pick it up, sanitize it, run it through the washing machine, re-sanitize etc before putting it back in their mouth? Then with the second kid you rinse it off in the sprinklers, with the third child you blow on it and dust it off on your pant leg? Well, let’s just say I’m trying to treat all of my children equally and I’m just skipping to the third child tendencies.
While I don’t see myself letting my kids down a bag of sugar while I’m making dinner, I understand no one is perfect.
So why do I feel like I have to be?
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my daughter to come into this world, what kind of diapers she should wear, what to bathe her with, pre-washing her stuff, deciding where she sleeps, what she’s eating at what age, agonized about pumping and providing breastmilk, and whether or not she feeds herself or I help her and so much more. But when I stop and think about these decisions and then think about the scope of the rest of her life I can’t help but think these decisions aren’t what’s most important, nor what will have the biggest impact on her life.
So what if I practice baby-led weaning and she can use a spoon when she’s eight months old. Ladeefreakinda. She doesn’t get a medal. Nether do I. And what, is Harvard going to be knocking down my door, promising a full-ride scholarship to be used 18 years from now because my infant can use a spoon? Unfortunately no.
I could care less if my mom let me cry to sleep or not. As far as I know it didn’t have an effect on me. And despite feeding me formula I’ve turned out pretty healthy, I don’t hold it against her the least bit. I’m sure she tried her best and I’m thankful for that.
She taught me about commitment, about compassion, charity and integrity. She taught me values, respect, and showed me how to love. All of those things made me who I am today. Made me who I’m proud to be.
I’m not a perfect mom. But no one is. I was spanked, (actually I got woopins, which in my opinion is much worse than the “spankings”people gasp over) and I’m not against them.
I spent half an hour in torment up and down the baby isle debating which teething remedy I should get my daughter. Hylands or Orajel, tablets or gel? Which was best? Would the wrong one kill her?
But then in the same instant I let my daughter eat paper, and only stop her when I realize she’s gagging on her spit wads or eating something I need.
|something I need
Lately I’ve been trying to be better about spending quality time with my husband because I think my relationship with him will make a bigger mark on my daughter’s life. More so than whether or not the apple I’m feeding her is organic.
It’s not to say that spending extra time researching good things for her isn’t worth it, but sometimes I think it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and marketing of what people tell us what’s best, when really, what we teach them has far more impact.
I don’t know any mom who has it all down pat. Who doesn’t ever get frustrated, occasionally yell, feed her kids junk food (or sugar packets), or peeks to see if anyone’s looking as she dusts the paci she just picked up off the floor on her pant leg before putting it back in her baby’s mouth.
You show me a perfect mom and I’ll show you a broken nose. Because no one should be that good and have a perfect face.