Thursday, September 8, 2011

Am I Doing This Right?

Why is it that I can never stop thinking there is a right and wrong way to do everything? Really when I stop and think about it, there really are very few things in this world that have only one "correct" method but somehow I always find myself worrying that my methods and choices are somehow incorrect. . Two plus two equals four is correct and two plus two equals five is obviously incorrect, math is like that. But just about everything dealing with how to live our lives really doesn't have a right or a wrong, just a my way and your way.

Back when I was TTC naturally the fear I was doing it "wrong" was huge. You start out thinking there is no way you could do this wrong. I mean, you just do, you know "it", and nine months later you become a parent. When that didn't happen I worried about what I was doing wrong. Maybe the days weren't right, or the times of day or the amount or what I was eating. As I fell further down the TTC rabbit hole, I worried that I was charting incorrectly or not interpreting my CM the right way, Then during IVF and FET I obsessed over the "correct" amount of time to be on bed rest and whether to eat pineapple or not.

Pregnancy wasn't too much better when it came to the "Am I doing this wrong?" game. OB or midwife? Birthing Center or hospital? Which one was the "correct" choice. And if that was bad, it is nothing compared to the everyday decisions of parenting and feeling like somehow there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way. I know I shouldn't, but I continually worry I am not doing it right. I love my daughter and I shower with her love every single day and I know that's the most important thing, but when should I be introducing solids? She's 5 months old tomorrow and I have moms insisting to me I should have started a month ago and that she'll be behind and yet others who swear that you have to wait until 6 months. And naps! She naps multiple times a day, sometimes 2, usually 3 and sometimes for 45 mintutes, sometimes 2 hours. She sleeps through the night but sometimes wakes up in the middle to eat and sometimes doesn't. And I keep hearing about what a baby my age should be doing as far as sleep and routine. We have a routine but it's a very flexible one, and sometimes I feel like that in itself is somehow viewed as wrong.

Intellectually, I know that none of that is true. Yes, there are some very basic guidelines about providing for my daughter's needs but so much of what people tout as the "correct" way to do things are really just their opinions. I know this but I still have to stop and remind myself constantly that what we do in our household works for our family and that's what really matters. Yes, Eliana might be taking a 30 minute nap today at 9am and then a hour long nap the next at 9:30. Some nights she wakes me up at 1am to eat, others she sleeps right through. No two days are alike, but that that works for us. If I am happy, Chad is happy and our daughter is healthy and happy, we aren't doing it wrong no matter what the moms on the playground or the parenting magazines say.

It is easy however to fall prey to doubt and fear of getting it wrong when so much is on the line. During TTC and IVF the obvious fear was that if I missed a crucial day of BDing or took myself off of bed rest too soon, I would never become a mom. Now that I finally am one, the fear is that if I go in to comfort my Snow Pea too often when she is going to sleep or start her on rice cereal too early, I will be starting a chain reaction of problems and issues for her as an adult. And of course you can find a scientific study or firsthand experience to back up the claims of every side of an issue. For every mom who swears her baby slept through the night as soon as she started solids, there's another that insists her child became so constipated that he was awake all night crying in discomfort. Just further proving that in so many situations there is no right or wrong, just what works for you and what doesn't.

It isn't even the world around me that tells me I am doing it wrong so much as it is me. I have crazy standards and expectations for myself sometimes, and if you know me, you know I can be insanely hard on myself. I sometimes try so hard to get everything right and beat myself up when I don't, that I can miss seeing how great everything is, in spite of or even because of, its "wrongness". So I plan to keep doing what's working, what makes me and my family happy. Because that in itself means I'm doing something right.


Robyn said...

I couldn't agree with you more! I have gone through periods where I obsess over what I've read in the baby books. I've obsessed over sleeping and napping the most. My little guy is 4 months old and we just moved, so all my books are packed and I really don't know where they are. Not surprisingly, I'm way less stressed about what I "should" be doing as a mom since I haven't read the books!!

Kakunaa said...

This is so true. I feel like this every damn day. Schedule? Not us. Sleep through the night? Nope. So many things everyone swears are wrong. But we are happy.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote something on my blog that is similar to this. You do the best you can and do what is right for your family and that's all you can do!

Christa said...

Amen! If it works, don't fix it. You are doing a fabulous job with your daughter.

crazytwinmomma said...

Moms can be the worst! They are so competitive in a passive-aggressive kind of way. If your daughter is happy, then her sleep is fine. If she is growing, then her eating is fine. If she is changing and developing, then you are doing a good job. Half of these moms who claim their kid was crawling at 4 months and eating steak by 8 are just exaggerating or lying! I guess having twins was a blessing in that I was just worried about surviving and didn't care what other people were doing :)

Holly said...

You got it totally RIGHT in this post! Nothing wrong about it. Just keep on keepin' on. I know you are doing great!!! I LOVE YOU and Sweet Eliana. Your hubby is pretty great too!