To all my fellow supermoms who work so hard to manage their littles and their personal lives as perfectly as possible, I have a short but powerful message from Elsa of Annandale:
“LET IT GO. LET IT GOOOOOOOO.”
I’m so serious, start letting things go! I have realized in my four short years of mommyhood, that being a high stress, perfectionist kinda person doesn’t jive well with motherhood. Parenting is stressful enough without added pressure to execute everything by the book or by setting unrealistic standards for yourself and your kids!
I started understanding this more fully after Zahra arrived, because now there is only one of me, and three of them. I just can’t get to all of it all day every day, and I’ve realized that’s okay. But there are other things, bigger than laundry piles and dirty dishes, that are also okay if they aren’t happening on schedule. Here are some big ones that I think a lot of parents stress over:
- It is okay if your child takes a bottle until they are age 5. I’m serious. Can you seriously tell me you can tell a difference between people who took a bottle til age 2 versus age 5? Nope you can’t. And if you’re thinking of dental issues – even kids who quit the bottle at age 1 are eligible for crooked teeth and what not. The dentistry profession could not survive if bottle-drinking was the only reason people had bad teeth. So quit battling your kid every night, frustrating him or her, frustrating yourself, and leading to over-anxiety in your home overall. GIVE THEM THEIR FREAKING BOTTLE and let your entire household gloriously sleep. The kid will eventually give it up, I swear. Every kid does. So trust me, it’s gonna be okay.
- It is okay if you do not switch out your baby bottles every six months. I’ll take it one step further. It is also okay if you do not sterilize all your pump parts, bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers on a nightly basis – assuming you are thoroughly washing it with hot water or at least are giving them a run in the dishwasher in-between. I mean, some people in third world countries don’t even have purified water to wash their baby’s bottles with – and their children make it to adulthood just fine. Trust me, it’s gonna be okay.
- It is okay if your 4-year-old doesn’t go to piano class, karate, Kumon, arts and crafts day at the Library and Sunday School. It’s okay for your kid to sit at home and be a kid. And even to get bored a little. (GASP!) To actually learn how to use their imagination and entertain themselves and explore and grow their own intellect. It’s okay for them to spend time bonding with you instead of attending society’s mandatory grooming sessions from age 1. Your kid will not be any less smarter than others. Your kid will not be hindered from accomplishing any less than others. Your kid can still join the stinkin karate class when he or she is 8 years old too. Trust me, it’s gonna be okay.
- It is okay if your kid is not potty trained yet. They will eventually get there. You don’t have kids running around elementary schools having “leaks” and “accidents” everywhere. Clearly they all figure it out eventually. So yours will too. Quit destroying all your furniture and carpets by pushing them to figure out their urges when they can’t even say anything other than ma-ma, da-da, and iPad yet. Jeez. Once again, look around the room – you can’t tell which of your friends were potty-trained at age 2 and which of them didn’t get it til age 3 or 4. Yet they all seem to be able to use the toilet just fine now, right? So trust me, it’s gonna be okay.
- It is okay if your kid eats an unhealthy meal. I can just imagine all the organic moms freaking out just reading this. So, I will repeat: it is okay if your kid eats an unhealthy meal. It’s better than your trash can eating 50 organic, gluten-free, cage-free, DHA-fortified, sodium-free disgusting ones. I think it’s amazing that some moms are motivated enough to take the extra step in pursuing organic and fresh ingredients. You guys truly understand the long term effect of all these hormones and bad preservatives on the human body, and are taking great care to keep your children away from its harmful effects. Meanwhile, most moms are just struggling with teaching their kids to eat balanced, healthy meals. But all I’m talking about here is the occasional unhealthy meal. IE: Don’t freak out when you’re ill and your kid has to have pizza and fries for dinner – for three nights straight. Or don’t freak out if they eat cake at a friend’s birthday party. Junk food, carbs, snack food is a part of life. Teach your darlings how to eat everything in moderation including the bad stuff – because that will build a good habit that is more realistically sustainable for their whole lives. And please remember that the human body is amazing. There are people in the world who don’t even get to eat three proper meals a day and yet they still continue to labor and live. So, trust me, it’s gonna be okay.
Again, I’m by no means promoting that you don’t try to teach your kids good habits or train them in these areas. It’s our duties as parents, and even more specifically for stay-at-home-moms, to try and introduce concepts at the right developmental ages. All I’m saying is to not beat yourself up and go crazy if your kid doesn’t catch on when the textbooks or the picture perfect PTA mom tells us they should. Every kid is different, every household is different. I also am a firm believer that we live in too fast-paced of a society with too many excessive pressures on us and our children. You can’t be completely oblivious to those things because they are the norm now, but you have to take a step back and keep perspective. These are our babies – we owe it to them to fight against expectations and do what works best for them. Lets take a break from being helicopter parents and give them room to play, to grow and to be innocent. So maybe enroll your kid in one less class this summer and let the whole family enjoy a little more down time together. Let the little one run around in a pull-up a little bit longer. Eat pizza together in front of the TV. One day, when our children are grown up, happy and super successful (God-willing, inshaAllah), it’s not going to be the picking and dropping from art class or how often you sterilized the baby bottles that you’re going to remember. It’s going to be the memories of cuddle sessions at home, family game nights and silly conversations at the breakfast table that you will cherish the most.
So let go a little bit, supermoms. Trust me, it’s gonna be okay.