I'm Not a Bad Mom
Every pregnancy is different, and so is every kid. But I entered motherhood with the understanding that all mothers experience similar instincts about their offspring. You can imagine how jarring it was to realize I’m not like many of the other mamas I know. It’s easy to equate difference with being wrong, which is exactly what I did. I thought there was a malfunctioned piece of hardware in my mama heart, and the one person it affected most was my baby. The truth is that my baby is affected, but not because I’m insufficient. Our kids learn to thrive in their own skin when they see us embrace ours. Maybe you felt like me, an imposter standing in a room full of professionals. If so, I hope you’ll find comfort in my confessions…
I can’t tell the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry. Everyone insists that you will eventually be able to tell the difference, but I can’t. After what felt like the tenth person asked me if I could tell yet, I started lying. Yep, I can tell! But that’s not true. I do, however, know that difference between a whiney cry, an angry cry, and a scared cry. I can’t tell the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry, but I’m not a bad mom.
I didn’t have a hard time leaving my kid at daycare. I thought I would because everyone says it’s the hardest thing about being a working mom, but my baby loves daycare and so do I. In fact, my husband and I took a week off work and I still took her to daycare! I don’t have a hard time leaving my kid at daycare, but I’m not a bad mom.
I didn’t worry about my child’s well-being when she first slept through the night. This is a big one. I’ve talked to so many moms who worried that their child died when they first slept through the night. It makes sense when you think about it: you’ve spent months waking up every 2-3 hours to feed or soothe a crying baby, so the first full night of sleep feels unsettling. But this was not my experience. My first full night of sleep was met with praise and thanksgiving (and a much-needed pumping session), not worry. I didn’t worry about my child’s well-being when she first slept through the night, but I’m not a bad mom.
Here’s the truth: every pregnancy is different, every kid is different, and every mom is different. Uniformity was never God’s intention, which is why we can celebrate our differences. How does your life look different from those around you? Where is God using your differences to impact others for good?