Today I had the displeasure of stumbling across a very abrasive parenting article that left me feeling like I must be a candidate for worst mother in the world. Why? Because, God forbid, I’m a Mum who is working on getting their baby into a routine and occasionally has to let her baby cry.
It haunted me all day, that damn article; such was its strong message that to do differently was WRONG. And thus, the inevitable seeds of self-doubt began to blossom, with questions, like weeds, creeping out to twist themselves around the thoughts in my mind.
Am I a bad mother because I am trying to bring some sort of structure into daily life, so that I feel I have some tiny semblance of control? Sure, I know in reality who is calling the shots around here, and that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when it comes to babies and routines, but if it makes me feel less like I am about to lose my shit, isn’t it a good thing to try and introduce one?
Am I a bad mother because I find it impossible to meander along, going with parenting flow? Sadly, I need organisation in my day, even if it’s loosely based. If you have other children, I argue you never need routine more. If I didn’t have a strict night time schedule to stick to I would never get two children bathed, fed and in bed by a reasonable hour. And because most nights of the week it’s just me here to oversee it, I need to be even more organised. Without a routine we’d none of us be fed and in bed before overtiredness set in.
Am I a bad mother because sometimes I have to leave my daughter to cry? That at times her only means of getting to sleep involves screaming the house down? Because when you have tried everything else, and still she is fighting sleep, sometimes you just have to put them in a safe spot and walk away. You need to catch your breath, you need to regroup. Hell, you might need to curl up in a ball and cry right along with her too. (Been there, done that too.)
Am I a bad mother because I have another child that requires my attentions too, therefore rendering it impossible for me to sit around cuddling my baby all day, like some would recommend? That because he has his own important needs, it means I literally do not have the luxury of being able to jump to it every single time I hear her start to cry? Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly detest hearing her cry and I am all for lovely, squishy baby snuggles, but the truth of the matter is I do not have the chance to cuddle all day long. Last time I checked the dinner didn’t cook itself.
So, after second guessing myself all day long, and feeling raw with inadequacy, what I eventually remembered was this: if all that I do as a Mum is infused with love then there can be no harm in having routine. As well, I reminded myself everyone is entitled to their own opinion (and no other subject is more fraught with them than parenthood!) and I could simply agree to disagree and move on.