I’m two months and a few odd days into motherhood. Phew, I feel the tough days of “I don’t know what I’m doing” are partially gone and now I’m speeding ahead to new territory, with lots of smiles, laughs, and dirty diapers. I’m back at work. Daycare has started. Another cold crept into our household, making us all sick. Newborn clothes are packed away, on to 3 month sizes. Benjamin is full of life and loves to grab, hold, and use his hands more and more each day.
All is good, but once in a while, an evil game plays in my head. More like a scenario, questions of “what ifs.” Maybe because I’m a novice, learning how to navigate through the world of diapers and trying to decipher every cry, spot, mark, ache, scratch, and rash on my baby. It’s a doubting voice in the back of my head, questioning if I’m making the right parenting choice. Maybe this voice or thought or game will never go away, or it’s challenging me as a parent to think things through before instantly reacting.
It starts like this, “Am I a bad mom if…”
“…I don’t visit my baby at daycare over my lunch break but rather stop by the gym for a quick run?”
“…I don’t change my baby’s diaper in the middle of the night, every night? He is sound asleep after a feeding. Do I wake him to check his diaper or gamble with the mess in the morning? It’s only been a few hours.”
“…I don’t change my baby’s clothes after every little spit up? It’s only a little bit. Or, do I? Or wait until spit up number two. Or three?”
“…I supplement with formula for a quick meal because I’m trying to stock up on my milk supply?”
“…I don’t give my baby constant attention the second I get home? I need to get supper ready. I hugged and played with him for a little bit. But can he play in his bouncy chair without me hovering by and giving him constant attention?”
“…I never put my baby down? He loves to be held. Really, really loves to be held. Am I enabling a bad habit?”
“…I eat something a touch spicy? Diced up jalapenos in salsa tastes so good. I ate spicy food when I was pregnant. Will my baby like it now? Or scream two hours after feeding him because the spice is too hot?”
“…I’m failing to keep up with my pumping. My supply is low, but TIME, TIME, TIME gets in the way of feeding the baby, diapering the baby, putting baby to bed, and so on. Are these only excuses?”
“…I keep putting off my son’s baptism for no reason other than time?”
“…I spent way too much on one fancy, smancy baby outfit and I don’t even really like it now? I’ve been budget friendly with everything else, but splurged on a designer brand jumper that doesn’t hold up to its price tag.”
“…I rock my baby back to sleep in the early morning, even though he might want to get up, so I can squeeze an extra thirty minutes of sleep?”
“…I get annoyed when a fresh diaper is instantly soiled right after changing it?”
“…My baby likes the TV? Sometimes, I need to chill out and watch horrible reality TV (my dirty addiction) to refocus. I don’t revert his eyes from the glowing screen. We might have a problem in the future.”
In all honesty, none of these thoughts and mind games constitutes me as a bad mother. But as a new mom, I constantly question my motherhood skills. There is no “right way” and there is no “real answers.” As long as my baby is happy and healthy, and I’m happy and healthy. It’s all head games. Tiny doubts in my head, that will probably be there until my son is eighteen or older, when I’ll question whether I did everything I could to be a good parent to him.
Here’s to a life time of questioning whether I’m a good parent. Cheers!