Something I feel all parents ask themselves daily, what am I doing wrong? Call it mum doubt, parent-noia (aka parent paranoia, aka constant-unnecessary-worry-about-not-much-at-all), mama worry, first time parenting-itis…we all experience it as parents as we all strive to be the best caregivers we can for our little Vegemites but we tend to forget to take a minute to sit and reflect on our hectic and exhausting day to realise that we are doing nothing wrong. We are doing just fine!
We parents put immense pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parents, but what is a perfect parent? How can we expect to be perfect at something we have never done before, or for second/third/fourth etc time parents (btw you’re crazy if you are the ‘etc’time parent!) how can they expect to be perfect parents of their newborn when little Tommy or Trisha have only ever had them to call ma and pa? Where are we even getting this pressure from to be the best at this parenthood gig? Those babes don’t pop out expecting or demanding better, little Johnny (sorry about all the random baby names) didn’t just peak from your V hole complaining of the taste of your boobie juice or even if you feed them formula – if they are fed, changed and warm they are generally happy, unless you have a reflux or colicky baby like me then they will likely complain more than most. But my point is we push ourselves to be extraordinary at something that requires no special certification, no prior training, it’s not a competition, you don’t need to be the best in your division – you just have to do the best you can and some days just the best you can muster up in the moments of chaos is still okay.
It’s inevitable that we are going to worry, from the consistency, size and smell of their pooey nappy to the first time they take their first driving test. It’s our job to worry, but to think we are doing things wrong is something we just shouldn’t be worrying about. Yeah we are going to make mistakes, like that one time you didn’t shake the bottle enough and bubs first gulp of milk was a tad too warm or not refilling the nappy bag with fresh nappies before heading out for a few hours (“Fuck, quick – find the nearest IGA! We’ve got a category 4 shit storm on our hands!”). There is no magic handbook with all the answers, every baby is different so what works for one isn’t always going to work for another. You can read as many parenting books as you like, when baby arrives they’ll still shake up your world like you could have never imagined.
The thing to remember is that your little mini monster will always forgive you. He isn’t judging you, he doesn’t think your failing – he thinks you’re the ducks nuts! Some bubs may have a funny way of showing it – Chloe hates being held and cuddled, always has! Sometimes it makes me sad that when she falls and hurts herself and she will squirm and push away as I try to cuddle and soothe her. I would say “Why won’t you let me comfort you, what have I done wrong for you to not want me to hold you?!?”. Some days I would just put her on the floor and cry along side her as I didn’t know what I had done to make her not want to turn to me to console her. It took a while to realise (and some days I need to remind myself) that she just isn’t a cuddly baby. She is extremely independent and sometimes just needs to have a good cry, not unlike her mama.
I don’t think there is wrong and right when in comes to parenting. There are so many parenting styles out there, some will suit your family and some will seem totally foreign to you and that’s completely fine. Do you, do what’s best for your family. Only you will know, no one can or should tell you how to be a good parent. And if they do tell them to go take a flying leap, as long as baby is happy and healthy it’s absolutely none of their concern. Give yourself a break, you’re not doing anything wrong – you got this mama!