14 May Am I failing?
I recently was asked by a friend, “I feel like you never lose it. like you are always able to stay calm at home”. This statement has stuck with me the last few weeks and I keep re-playing it over and over again. Because let me tell you, this is so far from true. I feel like if that is what a friend thinks, that may be what others think and I am doing everyone who follows me a disservice.
I was waiting for the right timing to do a blog post on this. I was waiting because even though I put myself out there often, it is really scary. Social media is so difficult but also so important. It is how we reach one another and it is how I grow my company. I started this work to help others. I wanted families to know that balance is possible. Hard days are going to happen, but with some structure and sleep, they are manageable. In order to help, I have to continue to be honest and transparent. Because I am with you! I am in the trenches with you. Day after day. I have two little ones and life is not perfect…
I yell when I shouldn’t. I turn on an extra show for my daughter when I am overwhelmed. I pretend to be watching when slyly looking at my phone. I cuss way too often and in front of them! I cry. Tears of joy, tears of frustration, tears of not feeling good enough. I worry all the time. I worry that I am creating brats who expect so many things in life. I worry I don’t do enough with my second as I did with my first. I worry about my marriage because I am spending so much time worrying about my kids. And VICE VERSA! When does the mom guilt end??
Reese was born the day before the 4th of July and my husband and I were in full denial that she was coming. I was in labor for a good 24 hours before I would admit anything was happening. I never went into labor with Harper so the fact I did with Reese was mind blowing. Don’t ever make a plan in your head…
The first month of Reese’s life was incredibly hard and I had to make a feeding choice for our family and I. At three weeks old, I stopped breast feeding. Ten months later, I can look back on my experience and know without a shadow of doubt that I made the right decision. But the hours leading up to it, I was a wreck.
I can give you all the reasons that I stopped. The reasons that make me feel better when I say them to others. The reasons that I feel when explained to people who would judge that decision cast a little less judgement after hearing them. Yes, Reese has pretty bad reflux. She was an inefficient eater because of it. She was starving after feeds. We were having to feed, top with formula, pump. Feedings were taking over an hour plus. I felt like Harper was not getting my attention and on and on and on I could go…
But I stopped. I stopped because it was what I wanted to do. I stopped because I was sobbing every day, multiple times a day. I was frustrated with my baby. I was unable to enjoy this time, enjoy my toddler, enjoy my husband, my life. So I stopped. Did the above reasons contribute to my decision? Yes. But ultimately could I have pushed through a lot of that? Maybe. but at what cost? For me, I was not willing to find out.
I called a dear friend of mine. I was sobbing. Between breaths I asked her, “what will I tell my clients when they ask me?” and she gave me the best advice. She told me, you tell them. You tell them you story, your struggle, both your experiences. I breast fed Harper until six months and Reese until 3 weeks. I have seen both sides. Been successful with both. I could share my experience. I could be honest. I could maybe help another family who is struggling with the same pressures I felt and still feel sometimes.
This is what I do. I share my story. You get asked all the time as a mom “are you breast feeding?”. This question is always so strange to me. Does it really matter how you feed a baby as long as they are happy and healthy? But sure enough, I have found myself asking those same questions. Adding to the pressure that we all feel. Maybe it isn’t feeding but sleeping. “Does the baby sleep well?” and if they don’t, and you have to answer no, How does that make you feel as a mom? Not good enough? imperfect? Helpless?
I remember being so nervous to make up a bottle in public. I didn’t want anyone to see that I was making up a formula bottle for my 1 month old. Even typing that makes me cringe. I cannot believe that is what I was so focused on but I was. I was so worried what people would think, say, and at that time, I was just so raw. I couldn’t bear to hear anything negative.
Reese didn’t transition to formula and her feeding issues disappeared. It was a long journey for us. Multiple formulas. Patience. Tears. (from her and me). But we have come a very long way. She is healthy and happy. I am healthy and happy. We, as a family, are healthy and happy. In the end, I do believe this is what matters. This is what is important.
This post is not about formula vs breast milk. I promise you. I do not care how you feed your baby. I want all babies to be well fed, happy and FULL. I say this over and over to my clients, a baby who is well fed is what it is important. That can look so many different ways. All formula, all breast milk, all bottles, half and half, etc. For me, I am an all in kind of person. I couldn’t do that half and half. So I switched. At 3 weeks, I switched. And I would do the same thing all over again.
As a mom, of two young children, I understand. I get it. Every situation is so different but I do get it. I get you and what you are going through. Reaching out for help with discipline or sleep is never easy. Asking for help with your children can feel defeating. Like you are not capable of doing it on your own. In turn, you feel like you are not a good parent. I say this because I have felt that. I feel that often. I think that is part of being a mom. You feel like a failure sometimes and other times you feel like you can take on the world.
All I do know is that I am here. I am here to listen. I am here to help. I am here to share. I LOVE what I do because of the people I work with, because of the honest conversations I get to have and because of the connection. I never want anyone to feel like I never lose it. I lose it more often then I would like to admit. But what I do know, is it takes a village. I am so grateful for this platform. For my ability to be able to reach so many even if just through a blog post.
Parents, you got this!!! I promise.