I faced a wailing toddler last night because she didn’t want to get her bum washed after she pooped. I tried everything that I can to woo her.
I asked her nicely, bribed her with the promise of milky time after I wash her bum, pretended to wash her Teddy Bear’s bum, put up my angry face, but nothing worked. I just looked at her point blank as if asking why, why won’t she come with me? The answer is very simple, she was too tired and all she wanted was to sleep. I can’t let that happen, so as much as I would want her to rest, I scooped her up and asked Ha (my brother’s partner) for help.
What followed was a tantrum storm, so I just allowed her to cry. I know that she had to deal with her emotions on her own. I explained to her in a sing-song manner that I had to wash her bum even if she was sleepy because it was the right thing to do. This produced a follow-up tantrum scream to which I answered a big warm hug. It was all that I can do to calm her down.
After this boo-ha-ha of an event I felt guilty, should I just have wiped her damn bottom instead of washing it? Should I have just bribed her with her favourite, Kinder Egg or perhaps an episode of Pocoyo? Thinking about offering her screen time, however, made me feel bad – because some might see it as a bad parenting decision. I felt the parenting pressure build up in my throat last night that I just decided to nurse my daughter to sleep.
Living Up to Today’s Parenting Standards
What I experienced last night was another episode of my “Am I a Bad Mom” guilt trip. Believe me, it wasn’t the first time that I went through the whole should I do this or that, I should have anticipated this and that phase. I know that I am not alone in this battle as well.
Case in point, I saw a post on a private Facebook Group about screen time for kids. Most moms commented that they didn’t allow their kids to watch TV or even hold gadgets. I felt a bit guilty (okay, A LOT) because I allow Bunny to watch TV and even play gadgets (must be supervised and under 30 minutes). It made me question my whole belief on whether kids should be exposed to technology. It was all thanks to E that I was slapped back to reality that it is okay. I just muttered under my breath, it is okay – to each her own.
Aside from technology control, moms are now also pressured to feed their kids organic food or healthier food options. I originally wanted to feed Bunny all organic snacks and get her used to eating fruits and veggies.
Holy moly, it is HARD. I tried everything that I can to get that toddler to eat fruits and veggies but she has a mind of her own. Fine, some would say that I’m the adult but really have you ever tried making a picky eater consume food? I cried to E about it and we both resolved to just ensure that she consumes food every day.
Another parenting issue I dealt with is choosing to breastfeed Bunny. Day in and day out I would hear people say that it’s great that I was able to breastfeed her. This complement could end there or have a follow up of, but wouldn’t you think it is best to switch her to formula, or aren’t you afraid that your boobs will look bad, or she’s too big to still be latching. This is a sensitive part for me, mostly I just smile and ignore but deep inside I am stopping myself from screaming. I honestly worked hard to continue breastfeeding my daughter for 2 years while working full time. Hearing discouraging and judgmental statements aren’t helpful, it’s just plain disrespectful.
My Own Parenting Style
To help relieve myself from the pressure I experience as a first time mom, I will now approach each situation in my own style.
I will accept criticism and pieces of advice with caution. I will only apply what I think is good for my daughter since I would always know what is best for her.
To other moms out there, I know that sometimes you question decisions that you have made for your child. There are times that you may have doubted your “mom instinct” but please don’t. There’s too much pressure coming from different areas of your life to be the best mom. The only thing that your child need though is you and your love. So the next time you question yourself if you are a bad mom, just take a breather, remind yourself that you are an amazing woman and mom-on!