There is no motherhood guidebook. Sure there are great resources out there. Books, mobile apps, Pinterest links to blogs like this one, your own mother, etc – but there is no ultimate guide that we are all working from. No uniformed source, that we can reference to.
I remember the first few days when I started my job with the company I am with now. Eight years ago, my job was digitally focused. I created email campaigns, website pages and was on the brinks of something big which would one day be termed “social media.” Part of my tasks was to update the company’s website on a regular basis with the various outlet’s hours of operations. I remember asking my director, “Well, where is the guidebook? ” He looked at me quite strange. I had all these places to go to look for the many outlet hours and very few resources matched. “How am I suppose to know which of these options is correct?” I again spoke up and asked.
I could tell I puzzled the man as he blinked hard and said, “Well, you will just have to call around and ask.”
It is the same with motherhood. No real – book or resource to end all books and resources. No real “Bible” of parenting or motherhood. We are all mad collectors of information. We ask and sometimes we receive without even asking, tips and tidbits on ways to coop and handle our kids. Sleep training and potty training, building self-confidence, discipline methods, best foods for their diets and how to the lose the pacifier and the bottle. We are absorbent creatures. But how do we know if our way is the right way? Or if there is even a right way at all?
A few of my girlfriends are expecting babies and turn to social media for recommendations. They will post things such as – “Looking for a childcare recommendation. Looking for the best brand of baby monitors. What are your baby registry must haves? Do I really need a wipe warmer?” I use to thrive so much more in assisting and offering my opinion. I mean they are asking! But, I have learned that everyone has an opinion. Everyone! To the point that I have made a recommendation based on my experience and then had someone comment below me basically telling the friend, “Do not listen to Ashli. Instead do this…” Well not in those exact words. It was more like a big “NO” and a pointer finger emoji pointing to my comment and then the exact opposite advice. It hurt my feelings quite frankly. First, because someone had the nerve to call me out in front of everyone and secondly, that my personal opinion was discredited as “wrong” and hers “right.” How could it be wrong when it worked so well for me?
I often like to participate in chat loops on Instagram. Last week, a group of mommas included me in one and the one mother posed the following question, “What is one thing you said you would never do before becoming a mom and now you do?”
I actually referred back to This Post on the Blog and shared how I said I would never give a binkie, or allow them to watch too much TV or co-sleep and now my two year old sleeps in between us at night, while watching Sprout, with a binkie in her mouth. Mom fail?! No, definitely not. Motherhood has taught me many, many valuable lessons. One being – never say never, but ultimately that you have to do what is right for you and your child without the influence of others. I added, “Each parent and each child are on their own unique journey.”
What is right for one family, one child or one parent may not necessarily work for another and that is okay. We are all dealt different circumstances that alter our wants and needs in this life. Everything little thing can add up in a big impactful way. If you ask me my opinion or my advice, know I will gladly share because I want to help you, but also know it is coming from a place that has worked for me, and may not you, and guess what – that is okay.
We all learn as we go. Some days motherhood is pretty great and others days lousy. Some days I feel like supermom and other days question my sanity. We can talk about those things too. The good and the bad. It is not all roses being parents, and having a bad day does not define who we are or how well we are at raising our kids.
Social media has a brilliant way of making us look like super stars, with perfect lives, doing it all the right way. We don’t post pictures of our grimy kids, who have not showered in two days and have dried maple syrup on their sleeves. We would be mortified if someone posted a video of us losing our minds when our kid(s) have literally pushed us to our breaking point and we would be devastated to share the not so nice words we say to our spouse over something so minuscule because we are tired, no, take that back – exhausted and completely stressed. But, that is really our real lives, and that is okay. I am here to say. I got you. I understand you. I have been there. I am there.
There is no guide to being a great parent. There is no one-stop, end-all-be-all, that will tell you exactly how to handle motherhood. There are a ton of great resources and there is a great deal of mixed advice. The best advice I can give to you – There is no wrong or right. There is only your wrong and your right.
And, as a parent, you will learn what is best for you and your own children. Learn it, love it, accept it and own it.
Here are some of my other favorite motherhood and parenting posts: