I have friends that grow, cook, and make almost everything from scratch that their kids eat. They are amazing. I salute them while I rip open a box of macaroni and cheese and add an extra few tablespoons of butter. It’s Annie’s Organic on a good day…otherwise we are not above the 19-cent variety.
A friend of mine researches every health related issue, and spends her extra change on the supplements she reads about. It is her passion, and it’s how she loves her family and friends so well. I spend that money on lattes and stretch pants.
I look at the “Wait Until 8th” pledge and think, hell-if-my-kids-will-have-smart-phones- before-they’re-sixteen-atleast. I know, my oldest is 10, and I may eat my words, but I just don’t want the internet in the back pocket of my teens. I have friends that give their kids phones as soon as they start playing sports. I totally get it. We both gotta do what we feel is best for our kids.
I have a friend that rarely (if ever) raises her voice or loses her cool. I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT. I would call my parenting style “fiery with lots of fire”. If I’m mad, or sad, or scared…my kids know it, but they also know that I love them fiercely.
I have a friend who keeps life simple so they can afford to send their kids to private school. She makes daily sacrifices to continue their education. Her love and dedication to her kids is amazing, and I’m humbled when I think about it, but I don’t blink twice when I drop my kids by the flagpole at our local elementary.
We are all good parents.
I choose babysitters like I’m recruiting for the FBI. It is a strenuous process. My friend will knock on the neighbor’s door and ask if the nearest tween would be willing to pop over for a minute while she runs to the grocery store. She high-fives the youth as she sprints out the door.
I am outnumbered by sisters who homeschool. They are good at it, and I can tell that it has had a healthy impact on their kids. I tried homeschooling once. I want my kids to still like me (and also know how to read), so I stopped. It’s not for me; I’m not good at it.
I have friends who baby-wised, who co-slept, and who attachment parented. I have friends who nursed and who bottle fed. I have friends that feed their kids snacks after dinner, and those who don’t. I’ve got friends who are working moms and stay-at-home-moms.
We are all over the map.
We are all good parents.
We need to trust ourselves more.
Each of us makes different decisions for our kids, but we are all fantastic moms. Do you know how I know that? Because we love them. We love them with our whole hearts and we do our best. Each of us would stand in front of an oncoming bus to protect them.
We would walk through fire for them, and sometimes we do.
The internet is a liar; there’s no “one-way” to do this well. WE DO OUR BEST…and guess what? OUR BEST IS ENOUGH, and even if it isn’t…that’s all we can offer.
There are a thousand, million, opinions out there about the “right” way to parent.
Sometimes we gotta let that shit go, and trust our gut.
There are some things that are out of our control, but as Jack from This is Us said,
We’re their parents,
we do the best we can,
but at the end of the day…
what happens to them?
It’s bigger than us.
Why is it so hard to trust ourselves when it comes to parenting?
Is it because we’re scared? Is it because parenthood has become more like an Olympic sport than an organic process? Is it because we look back at the mistakes our parents made and are scared to make the same ones? Is it because we’ve realized that the standard we judged our parents by was actually pretty unfair and even impossible?
Is it because we think the preschool we choose might be the actual difference between raising a humanitarian or a drug dealer? Is it because we doubt that our love is enough? Is it because we long for a futuristic thanksgiving table full of friendship and laughter…not one we saw once on a SNL sketch?
Yes, I think so.
A word to my generation of moms…
We’ve got this. Mom guilt is a liar and the internet is a liar. No one can do it all. Trust your gut and do the best you can…we are in this together.
The kids are going to be fine.
This post originally appeared on The Wonderoak Blog
Jess Johnston is a coffee enthusiast, a TMI sharer, and owns a concerning amount of hoodies. She is mom to four kids and writes about the craziness at wonderoak.com. You can follow h
er there, on Facebook, and on Instagram.