Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not alone. Every parent in the history of parenthood has done things they swore against before they had children. It’s easy to decide what you would and wouldn’t do when you’re not actually keeping a tiny human alive. Sleep deprivation and an unbelievable urge to give your baby everything they want can change a person!
I had been preparing for motherhood my entire life, thinking of all the things I would do. I had this image in my mind of being a perfect Mom. I would never lose my patience, I would be nothing less than completely nurturing every moment of every day. I would never use a pacifier, and I would rarely give bottles. I even tricked myself into believing that I wouldn’t feed him anything but organic, top quality fruits and vegetables. And I definitely wouldn’t spoil him.
Obviously, none of those things are true.
I DO lose my patience. Some days I have to leave my son with my husband for a few minutes, so I can have the chance to breathe, because despite what I had envisioned Motherhood would be like, sometimes I don’t want to be touched or needed 24 hours a day (Imagine that!). Some nights when I roll out of bed to feed him, I don’t feel like being a perfect, sweet, cuddly Mom. I just warm his bottle, silently feed him and lay him back down, and the most affection I can muster in that moment is a kiss on the forehead.
Before he was born, how was I to know that sometimes I would rather give him a pacifier than be glued to my bed for a minute longer? How was I to know that despite my strong willpower and determination to exclusively breastfeed, I would cave and give him pumped breastmilk bottles instead of nursing, for my own sanity? I had no way of comprehending what it’s like to be stuck in the same spot for hours, in pain from breastfeeding for the very first time in my life, and healing from giving birth.
Setting some guidelines for yourself before you have children is a good thing. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself breaking a few of them. There is such a major shift that happens after you have a child, almost as if a switch goes off in your brain. You’ll find yourself changing your mind constantly. And there is nothing wrong with that! In no way does it mean that you’re failing as a parent, or not giving it your all. In a perfect world, we’d be the parents we always pictured ourselves as. But this is real life. And in real life, sometimes giving in and going against a rule you set for yourself is what you need in that given moment. Don’t look at it as “cheating” or “taking the easy way out”. Look at it for what it is: Improvisation! To be a parent, you must be flexible and willing to make impromptu decisions based on everyone’s current needs, including your own. You probably didn’t take your feelings and needs into consideration while daydreaming about motherhood, and you set your expectations of yourself way too high. You may feel like a super-hero, creating a beautiful child and somehow juggling everything going on in your life, but you ARE only human. Don’t forget that. Stay strong mamas, and don’t worry about the small things!