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I'm Going Gray

Well, yes, my hair is too.  But I’m not referring to those beauties on the top of my head that my children and entering my mid thirties brought about.  This is my new stance on mommy wars.  I’ve finally come to the conclusion that NOTHING related to being a parent is black and white and so I’m officially joining team gray.
In my pre-kid era, I watched from a far.  I heard about a few of the hot mommy topics from other parents and thought I knew where I stood despite that fact that I was actually clueless on everything kid related.  I passed judgment on other people’s parenting and their children’s behavior.  “I’ll never…” are the famous last words of the pre-kid era.  Karma’s a bitch. Now I hear first time pregnant women telling me all of the things they will do perfectly.  And all of the things they will never do.  Trust me, I was never going to let my child scream in public either or use an iPad to entertain them when I needed a break.  But guess who has one of the loudest screamers at the store and hands her son an iPad so she can talk to her husband at the restaurant.  ME!
I started out motherhood not really knowing anything at all.  And inside I was really scared.  I joined a few mommy forums and was overwhelmed by the amount of hot topics and strong opinions on each.  I read the very lengthy debates that no one ever won but kept quiet on my own thoughts since I was still feeling very insecure about my new role and ability to make the right decisions.  But by the time my first son was about 6 months I was feeling really good about this whole motherhood thing.  I know.  I know…  6 months is that beautiful happy baby age where our little ones are becoming aware, they are cute as a button but still not moving.  It is truly the sweet spot of babyhood.  And so my confidence as a mom started to grow.  My first son started sleeping through the night at 12 weeks old and took the most amazing naps.  I’m talking about 4 hour naps!!!  It had to be because of me, right?  Clearly, I am very good at getting little ones to nap and eat.  <insert sarcasm> And so, with things going so smoothly and that magic advanced maternity age of 35 sneaking up on me, I got pregnant with my second little guy when my first son was just 10 months old.
Throughout my pregnancy I felt 10x more confident about what I was getting into.   When my second son arrived, I planned to do all the same things and I was sure he would sleep and eat and probably be an even easier baby. I enjoyed giving advice to other moms in the forums and taking a stance on the many debates that would arise despite my limited experience.  Pacifiers , vaccinations, sleep training, breast-feeding… you name it.  I was now an experienced mom and had strong opinions one way or the other.
I’m literally laughing out loud at myself right now.
My second little love came into the world via emergency c-section.  What?!?  That was not the plan.  I don’t have c-sections!?!   And he had terrible reflux which lead to a lot of sleeping and eating problems.  As I slowly started to realize that none of the things that worked with my first were working with my second, it became almost comical that I had been so overly confident.  Thank you for knocking me off my pedestal, sweet #2.  I needed that.  I needed you.
In the last 2 years since I had my second son, and since my other son became a threenager, threenagers are a fun topic in themselves, I’ve slowly started viewing the mommy wars in a whole new light.  I struggle each and everyday with something mommy related and I realize now more than ever that there really isn’t one right answer to any of this.  The truth is that every child, mom, age and situation is different.  I feel very guilty for the times I had tried to convince others that my way was the best way.  And I now see that most of my experiences to date actually fall into a very gray area:
  • I had one child vaginally and the other via c-section.  And guess what!?  The reward was the same.  They are both the most precious little boys I could have dreamed of.  So what does that mean that the same mom doing all the same things delivered each of her babies in a different way?  I guess I fall into that gray area.
  • Both of my children were breastfed and formula fed.  I did the best I could.  And I feel good about that.  Did I breastfeed?  Yes, but not for as long as a lot of others.  So whenever someone asks me if I breastfed, which is kind of a weird thing to ask BTW, my answer is not black or white.
  • We kind of, sort of did sleep training and kind of didn’t.  Parents seem to have different definitions of what that means but the truth is that we all have the same goal and that is to have well rested, healthy children.  And my children each needed different types of support from me to help them sleep.  It really wasn’t black and white.
  • We don’t co-sleep regularly but we will let our children come into our bed when they are scared or sick.   It depends on the situation.  It’s just not black or white.
  • I was a working mom for 3.5 years and now I’m a SAHM.  Neither choice was right or wrong.  And one is not easier or harder than the other.  They are both challenging and rewarding in their own ways.  Just call me gray on that one too!
  • When I was working we tried daycares and nannies.  They both had their advantages and disadvantages.  And each of my children did better in a different situation.  There was no perfect answer.  In the end, we did both.  We did gray… daycare on Tues, Thurs and Fri and a nanny on Mon and Wed.
I could go on and on about why I have recently decided I’m on team gray.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are so many mommy wars and debates going on daily because there truly are so many different right ways to do things.  If there weren’t there would be a manual of how to raise kids.  But there are no black and white answers to the many tough decisions we make along the way.  There can’t be!  Our kids are all unique individuals and so are we.  I’m done choosing sides.  One of my new goals at this point in my life is to give support and receive support on whatever choices we all make knowing that, as moms, we are all doing the best we can to make the right choices for each child and each situations..  And we will mess up sometimes but we do the best we can.
The answers are gray.  So let’s help each other find which shade of gray works best for each of our children.  Are you with me?  I need all of the help I can get.
The shoe that fits one person pinches another, there is not a recipe for living that suits all cases. ~Carl Jung

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