It is unavoidable. I place it in the same category as balance. In ideal world, all of us would feel “balanced” and guilt free. I don’t think that is possible. Life is busy, stressful at times and striving for perfection will exponentially worsen the feelings of failure and guilt.
There are a million different ways to parent. Social media forgets this. The rise of Facebook, Instagram, and the constant scrolling also has brought on the intense world of comparison and shame.
Prior to our society’s huge shift to the smartphone, judgement also occurred but in different ways- it came and it went and wasn’t everywhere you turned. At the grocery store, someone would give their two cents about your snack choice for your toddler, or tell you your baby should be wearing a hat. Now if you look at the lines in the stores, most are on their phones, or don’t even go in because they’ve ordered online!
You got this, Mama!
Mamas, it is okay to find your way. That is how it is supposed to be! You bring your bundle home, and it’s your job to raise her and love her and do what’s best for your family. Guilt seeps in when we let the internet decide what is best. We may conform and do what “everybody” else is doing, only to be left feeling guilty that we didn’t follow our own instincts. Or we decide to parent our way, make our own choices, and face the judgment for being different.
“It is only a problem if it’s a problem for you”. This is my parenting mantra to myself, and I share this with each mama I encounter. It is not my job, the internet, or your neighbors to define your problems. One day I had a mama reach out feeling horrible that she wanted her six month old baby girl to sleep in the crib. She felt so guilty; she thought she had wanted to co sleep and was worried she would ruin her bond with her daughter if she put her in her crib. She just couldn’t sleep with her daughter in her bed and it was impacting her ability to parent in the day. We talked about how she was so tired and worn out that she wasn’t particularly enjoying her time with her daughter. She could see this, but the guilt and all of her online “research” was clouding the best decision for her family. I supported her as she got her baby sleeping in her crib, and could feel her confidence rise as she and her daughter were rested and enjoying their days together.
The solution seems simple. Don’t care what others think and feel confident about your choices for your family. Right. Sometimes that is easier said than done. It needs to go a step further. No one likes to be judged, so have this conversation at your mom’s group. Share this post. We teach our children to respect differences, but are we practicing this ourselves? Refuse to engage on toxic feeds and cruelty online. Don’t participate in the gossip and instead join the huge community of women that are out there supporting each other, even if they are different.
Find your support system- whether it is your bestie, your sister, or an online group of supportive women, they are out there! Make a conscious choice to be proud of your choices as a parent, and to listen to other’s without doubting yourself. You got this, Mama!