Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Best Moms I Know

I will readily admit it: I am quite possibly one of the laziest people you will ever meet. I am notorious for letting tasks wait until their deadlines before I jump into action. It drives my super responsible and on-top-of-everything husband crazy. 

I have tried many times to change this aspect of myself. Well, I say tried, but if I'm honest, the attempts are half-hearted and short-lived. Because this laid back and slow approach to life? It's what I'm comfortable with. It's what's worked for me.

Parenting has proven to be no different for me. I'm still a pretty lazy mom.

Parenting, though, is one of those things that doesn't lend itself well to this approach. At least, not usually in the Mom World. You know what I'm talking about: competition among moms runs rampant. If you sit on a park bench long enough, you will inevitably overhear mothers discussing who's child reached which milestone early and, perhaps most disheartening, which moms in their circle have children who aren't as "advanced" as theirs. 

When Cohen was a newborn, I experienced this, and I'm shamed to admit that I participated in it as well. Whose child slept through the night longer? Whose child is cuter or wears more stylish clothing? Whose child is sitting/rolling over/standing/talking first? It's exhausting and steals the joy out of being a mom.

Because, seriously, who cares? My kid has rolled, sat, and walked "early". Does it make him any better than any other kid? No it doesn't. Does it mean I'm a better mom? No, it doesn't. It just means my kid rolled, sat, and walked early, and I've been exhausted his whole life. 

When Cohen was about 6 months old, God blessed me with an amazing support group of mom friends. These women are unlike any women I've ever know before: they don't judge or compare or try to compete. They just accept me and my son for who we are -- their friends. I am so incredibly thankful for these relationships, and I pray every day that I provide them with the same support and acceptance that they've given me.

Because being a mom is hard, y'all. I'm learning as we go, and I pretty much feel like a failure on a daily basis. I don't need anyone else in my life to help me with that. And thankfully, I don't.

So when Cohen's first and then second birthday passed, and he was still clutching his bottle as he slept? I knew it was something I needed to address sooner rather than later, but I wasn't ready and he wasn't ready, so I didn't push it. And my mom friends didn't judge.

And even though all of Cohen's friends are well into potty training? I wasn't ready and he wasn't ready, so I didn't push it. And my mom friends didn't judge.

And there is immense freedom in that.

My parenting philosophy has become a sort of wait until he's ready mantra. All of Cohen's friends are out of their cribs and in toddler beds right now. And Cohen? He's snoring away in his crib. And the beautiful thing is that I am not a bit self conscious about that. Because we're not ready for the bed yet, and we might not be for a while, and it helps that the people I have surrounded myself with understand and support that.

So when Cohen and I do reach these milestones, it's so sweet to share them with my support group. In the last week, Cohen has given up the bottle (and all liquids in his crib) cold turkey. And he's done wonderfully with it, and my mom friends have cheered all along the way. And tonight after his bath, I let Cohen run around without his clothes on for a few minutes, and without any guidance at all, the boy sat down on his potty and peed. And my mom friends cheered. 

No judgments. No criticism. Just other women who've been there too and know that sometimes you just need a cheerleader.

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