From the moment you choose to become a mom, you will find yourself to be the target of unsolicited advice. Whether your baby was planned or you tried to conceive for ages or you chose to adopt, everyone will have an opinion on everything.
Put on your Mom Armour
If you fall pregnant, people will delve into your eating habits and whether you are getting enough sleep. Every time you walk past someone, you will brace yourself for having your belly rubbed. People would never do this if you weren’t pregnant so why does your body become public property while you are growing another human life?
While you are trying to conceive, you will be gifted with every old wives tale in existence. There is always someone who knew somebody who had brilliant results from this concoction or that home remedy. Then, when you fall pregnant, well you can refer to the paragraph above.
Adoptive parents don’t get off lightly either. They need to be prepared to answer the most personal questions ever. And then judged for their answers. “They mean well”, you might say, but if that was the case then they would accept your unsolicited advice in the same manner.
In a world where every piece of media is telling you, “You are good enough but do this, eat that, wear this if you want to be accepted”, it’s pretty hard to trust your way. I heard this tag line at the launch of Baby Dove, where moms from different walks of life shared their experiences, and invited us to trust our instincts when it comes to raising our children.
In my 12 years of being a mom, it took me about a decade to realise that I am (actually) good enough. My kids are amazing despite my failings. Of course they aren’t perfect, but neither am I and that’s okay.
If I had to give one piece of advice to all parents, it would be to prepare yourself for battles, and then pick the ones that really matter. Your kids won’t be psychologically damaged if you give them ready made meals once in a while. Nor will they be emotionally traumatised if they climb into bed in their gumboots. Stick to your guns, by all means, and stay consistent in everything that matters, but first make sure it actually matters.
When faced with people who want to know intimate details of your life like whether you will be having natural birth or why you are or aren’t breastfeeding, stare them down. You don’t need to answer them and you definitely don’t need to justify your choice. Oh, and if you’re pregnant, step back so that they can’t touch your tummy. It’s just too bad if they get offended. Alternatively, rub their belly right back and ask them if they had a nice big lunch.
Moms, we need to arm ourselves and stop being so damn nice. Unleash the tiger mom in you and let her roar, often. You are enough. That is all.