I’ve been thinking lately about the pressure we’re under as moms, to achieve a quality finished product of a human being. We have to get it right, or our kids will be dumb, or weird, or unpopular. And our kids are kicking against the goads, because they want to be dirty and loud and weird. But the weight, the burden of their futures rests on us. So we force them into things. And some things, yeah, we have to. There are laws. They have to ride in car seats, be schooled in some way, stuff like that. But a lot of the variables are variable.
I remember when I had just R2, and he had all these autistic behaviors, and I had a bevy of experts breathing down my neck about changing him, forcing him into more “normal” looking behaviors. There was this ache in me, this resistance to fight for something that didn’t seem like it mattered. He was happy. He loved to rock and flap his arms and he was a joyful little guy. I listened to them for a long time, holding his arms down, trying to redirect him. Then one day I realized, I was shutting down his favorite way to communicate, just because somebody told me I should. So I quit. And we celebrated with him, and we celebrated him.
Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to that internal “mommy voice” that says, does this REALLY matter? Do they have to eat their vegetables? Do they have to go to preschool, or wear matching clothes, or sit still in church services? Really? Do they have to share all their toys? And I asked myself questions, why do I feel like co-sleeping is a secret? Why am I torturing myself by trying to keep breastfeeding (one of them) when it’s become so stressful? Why can’t she just eat the butter and not the cornbread, or sleep in a swimsuit? And on and on. I feel like I’ve learned, I’m learning to respect the child instead of the “mommy rules”. Every kid is different, and if you give them a little room, you will be blown away by what can grow in the wild.
There were days, and are, when I wonder if I’m missing something critically important, and I’m going to deeply regret letting my 5 year old eat macaroni with his hands. So far, very few regrets. They are brave, funny little independent people. I am thrilled to be able to watch who they are becoming.
If you’re a mommy and you’re fighting your instincts, quit. Obey the laws and trust yourself on the other stuff. You know what’s right for you and your kids. Listen to me. Don’t let anyone guilt you into fighting what you know is best for your kid. You know your kids.