I have never had as much insecurity in my abilities until I had a Joseph. Enter all the doubt. Before, you would find me at the bar with friends shooting the shit not giving a fuck about anything. I was confident in my work, my relationships, my abilities as a human, and my appearance. I haven’t really ever been an insecure person. I know I have like a million faults, but I was pretty ok with them or understood they were/are a work in progress. They pop up every now and then and cause a shit storm, but for the most part, I was a pretty confident Shelby. Albeit, sometimes too confident.
A baby bomb went off in my life and it was like a doubt cloud started to follow me around everywhere. There are so many questions I still have for other moms on how they do certain things with their babies. I did not master it the first time. I would do loads of things differently and there’s a shit ton I still don’t know how to do. I mean have you tried to swaddle a newborn? It’s complex shit. There should be a class.
All of these areas of insecurities I am going to talk about are really personal. I don’t know why I take everyone’s opinion on my parenting so personally because, ya know, they obviously don’t. As much as I don’t want to care about others’ opinions, what you say about my parenting is most definitely going to be something I take to heart and then mull over all night. This is from the girl who has a mom blog, with mom experiences who is asking for your input, comments, and advice. I know, contradiction city.
At the top of the insecurity chart has got to be Joe’s attachment to me. He is the ultimate Momma’s boy or so I’m told? Because please tell me ONE more time. It doesn’t shock me whatsoever that he only wants me if I’m around. He grew in me. He came out of me. He got his food from me. He used to literally need me to survive. He sleeps on me. We hang out as much as we can. After all that, I mean come on people, give the kid a break. It’s got to be an innate need for security and survival.
To prove my point, I’ll, naturally, use a goat example. We recently went to a goat farm and all but one goat came right up to us to be pet. I asked why the one was shy and so untrusting and he said that she was the only goat that wasn’t taken from its mother as a baby. That particular goat was allowed to nurse and be with its mother as it grew. So, hmmm….I am no scientist, but I can read big books and this makes sense, right? The other goats were bottle fed by humans and are completely ok with the attention from all these random people walking around in their shit, petting them. But, the one that wasn’t raised with them was basically like GTFO. I wish all the people who have given me crap about Joe being “clingy” would just go to a goat farm. That would show ‘em.
Goats aside, last year we pulled Joe from daycare and got ourselves a nanny angel. The reasons for taking him out are an entirely different post. That aside, he was alone with one wonderful lady all day and he loved it. He has learned so much in such a short amount of time. So many positive things and then someone feels the need to mention, “But, don’t you worry about him learning to interact with kids? Maybe you should have another one.” People. People and their voices ruining my stable mentality. *I did have another baby. You’re welcome judgey people. Problem solved, right? Who knows.
Of course, I worry about that sometimes, but we just got to a good place with my work/mom balance and Joe’s health. I don’t need to worry about this right now. I just got over having panic attacks daily at work while he was at daycare. We are good for right now. This is an issue that I need to let go of. He will be fine because we are all doing fine, right?
AND if there’s one doubt that all women feel, it is how they are going about feeding their baby. Other people are the WORST for putting unnecessary and unsolicited pressure on how you are getting liquid or food down your baby’s throat. I cringe every time someone asks unless I already know what they want me to say and if my answer will appease them. As long as I’m feeding my baby the nutrition he needs, why the hell do you care?
This argument, for me, goes two ways. I have breastfed Joe from the start and breastfeed Noah, but I was fully prepared before I had that if it didn’t work out, we would go to formula. I am super happy that breastfeeding has worked out for us, but what if it hadn’t? My doctor would be disappointed, some of my family members would be disappointed, and ya know, the general public might shoot a disapproving eye. On the other hand, I have some people in my life who still push me to quit breastfeeding like it’s absolutely the most disgusting thing ever. I don’t judge how a mom chooses to feed her baby and I never will. The amount of pressure is insane and so uncalled for.
Joe and I had a breastfeeding relationship for 15 months until my milk started to suddenly disappear and a baby suddenly appeared in my uterus. The nerve. But I thought, by now, the pressure from the outside world would have been alleviated. Nope. People still give too many shits about how Joe is fed. I get the eye now about how big he’s getting and how it seems weird. There would come a point when it got weird for me, but I wasn’t there yet. It was the easiest way to calm him down, but lollipops were making a close second.
Another stupid insecurity is Joe’s low level of swag. Getting myself dressed in a decent outfit is a rare occasion, so if you see Joe in a cute outfit, you know things have gone really, really well that day. Guess how many days with a baby go really, really well? Like 2 days a year. I am sincerely jealous of the moms that dress their kids in the cutest clothes, but that jealousy doesn’t surpass my exhaustion. My exhaustion always wins.
I, first of all, hate spending extra money on clothes he’s going to inevitably trash, but more annoyingly clothes that I am going to somehow fuck up in the wash. I am the WORST laundry mom. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. What I’m doing right is literally throwing money down my washing machine’s drain.
Now that you know I am in dire need of baby clothes, let’s move onto other insecurities. When Joe was born, there wasn’t much to do with him besides breastfeed and change his diaper. As he got older, I struggled with how to fill our days. He could do some things, but he wasn’t mobile so there was a lot of sitting and just dangling crap in his face. I felt like at this point I should start teaching him the alphabet or calculus to fill our hours together. I was unaware of what things to teach him or better yet what things he could actually be taught. He was good at nursing, pooping, crying, but when would he get good at things like painting, talking, or emptying the dishwasher? I knew how to fill a day with a person, but I had no fucking clue how to fill a day with a baby.
Joe can now run laps around our house, so filling our days is much easier, but I still struggle at times and wonder what other moms are doing with their kids. Are they all lesson planning and creating cognitive activities for their babies that still eat dog food? I also feel like I’m the only one asking these “weird” questions. Does it come naturally for everyone but me?
My biggest insecurity is just a fear. I feel really scared to write about it and I feel really stupid admitting it because I know it bothers the people closest to me. Joe and I share this fear. That fear is of leaving him for an extended period of time. I can feel the weight of this for everyone and it is all consuming. It generates some serious mom guilt and anxiety. But that amount of guilt and anxiety doesn’t even come close to my anxiety of leaving him for a day.
Don’t all moms want a break? Yes. What kind of mom am I if I can’t leave my kid or am not ready to leave him? A bad mom? A not normal human being? That’s what it feels like. This particular fear makes me feel like a freak almost constantly.
I’m good if he’s running around with kids/family and I’m in the vicinity of him in case he freaks out and wants me. But, I am not to the point where he annoys or stresses me out enough to leave him for a day(s). It’s a weird thing to write about because all I ever get on this is, “When will you be ready?” And I don’t know. Will I ever be ready? I don’t know. Is it like ripping off a band-aid? Because I still hate doing that.
Before Joe, I had no idea that people’s opinion would have such an effect on me because they never had before. I am slowly, like drunk turtle-paced, becoming more confident in my mothering skills. I am giving into the fact that I am the one that knows what’s best for him and have to mindfully try to keep everyone else’s opinions from not allowing me to sleep at night. Plus, having Noah has alleviated many of my doubts and has solidified that I do, in fact, know what I’m doing some of the time.