I’ll never forget one particular moment after my second child was born.
I was admittedly in survival mode – just trying to get through each day as I figured out life with two kids. See, when I had my first baby, I had a lot of expectations for myself and how I would parent – mostly regarding screentime, sugar, and how I would manage things day to day. But when the second kiddo came around, it was as if – like the Fresh Prince says – my life got flip-turned upside down. The baby had a few medical issues in the beginning, so I wasn’t sleeping much at all, and she never wanted to be anywhere other than mama’s arms. Meanwhile I was recovering from a C-section and chasing a toddler…. needless to say, all of a sudden I had no choice but to let some of my self-imposed rules slide a bit if I was going to survive.
So that day, as I was feeding the baby, I looked over and realized my daughter was doing everything I said I wouldn’t do, ALL AT ONCE. She was in her second hour of the iPad, eating potato chips and fruit snacks for dinner, still in her naptime diaper even though she was potty trained, with messy hair and a dirty face. And you know what? It no longer mattered. She was content, and I was able to sit and nurse the baby peacefully in that moment. And that’s just what I needed in order to keep my sanity.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to parent perfectly. Too often we align ourselves with absolutes: “I will not give my child sugar before age 5.” “I will never let my child have an iPhone.” “I will never give my kid formula because breast is best.” But life is not black or white, it is many shades of gray. Circumstances change year to year and even moment to moment. If we give ourselves too many “rules” when we parent, we are setting ourselves up for failure, guilt, resentment, and feeling inadequate. It’s ok to say you don’t know how you will respond to a situation until you are IN that situation. It’s ok to give yourself a pass when you are almost at your breaking point. It’s ok to ease up and laugh it off. It’s all ok. Because when all is said and done, a happy mom is the best mom.
So, that’s what today’s segment on The Everyday Show was all about. And – sidenote – I always feel like these segments are too short to really dig into all that we experience as moms. Truly, I usually go in with a page of talking points and end up hitting two or three. So I hope you will join the conversation and connect with me on facebook, instagram, and by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers… now go break some rules!
Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.