As moms, we know we’re role models for our children. When you eat your own vegetables with a smile or sympathize with the driver who cut you off instead of swearing, you’re setting the tone for your kids’ behavior. In the midst of the good habits we try to cultivate, a few unhealthy patterns can slip through the cracks. Do your best to avoid these parenting pitfalls.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that different families parent differently. Sometimes, though, when new parents are faced with the helplessness of a newborn baby, it’s all too easy to slide into judgment over different parenting choices. If you have a new baby, you may have been on the receiving end of shaming from another parent. You may even have doled out some judgment yourself!
There’s no one perfect way to raise a child. Parents breastfeed, bottle-feed, or figure out a combination that works for them. Some babies are born at home, others in a hospital, some via vaginal delivery or C-section. Let’s not even start on potty training methods.
We all want to do right by our babies. Casting shame and judgment doesn’t help anyone. Surround yourself with positive-minded parent friends, and feel free to create distance from people who badger you about your parenting choices. And if you catch yourself wanting to mutter, “I’d never use that method with my baby,” take a deep breath and remember you’re not in that other family’s shoes.
Your family doesn’t need some Franken-mom version of everyone you envy or admire. They need you, your imperfections, love, talents, and mistakes. Being the best version you can be of yourself is the best gift you can give your family.
Let’s start with a disclaimer: moms (and dads) deserve breaks when we need them. Parenting is hard work, and the last thing we need is to feel guilty for laughing at a funny video instead of using that time to stare into our child’s eyes.
When screen time climbs upwards of nine hours a day, as some reports show, that can be an indication to be mindful of your time. Pushing yourself to multitask constantly and over-relying on screen-based distractions isn’t great for your mental health.
Your family might decide to make mealtimes screen-free or pick a point in the evening to power down devices. Carving out some dedicated quality time gives you a chance to connect more fully with your partner and kids. The Internet is full of conflicting parenting messages and pressure, so it can be nice to get a break. When you keep a grounded perspective on your real life, you may be able to enjoy your screen time activities without getting caught up in a flurry of mixed messages.
Trying to “Be It All”
Partly as a result of all those social media examples and pressures from other moms, too many of us are trying to do way too much. Your attorney friend made partner, while your stay-at-home-mom friend keeps an impeccable home and bakes every weekend. A fitness-oriented mom fits in her old prom dress, even after three kids. Can you somehow take the best of both worlds, fitting in a thriving career, washboard abs, and perfect homemade buttercream frosting?
Probably not! There’s only so much time in a day and money in your account. Don’t beat yourself up for spending an hour reading stories instead of working out (or cleaning, or writing your novel, or countless other things). We all need to choose the areas we want to focus on in our lives, and we all need to sacrifice or scale back on some things to make room for top priorities. Your family doesn’t need some Franken-mom version of everyone you envy or admire. They need you, your imperfections, love, talents, and mistakes. Being the best version you can be of yourself is the best gift you can give your family.