Ten years ago, when my oldest was a toddler, I wouldn’t have given in to a pacifier during the day. “Nope…. it’s just for bedtime!” I certainly wasn’t going to be that parent whose child walked around Target with a paci in their mouth when they could talk. No way. I was never going to be that mom.
I also wasn’t going to have children who threw tantrums in public, a kid who couldn’t fall asleep without a parent laying beside them, or a child who refused to eat vegetables. I was never going to be that mom who yelled, bribed, or gave time outs. But five kids and eleven years down the road, I have been that mom more times than I can count. Nearly everything I thought I knew about parenting has been challenged, turned upside down, and thrown out the window.
I went into parenthood with high expectations about the kind of mom I was going to be. I knew the “right” way to parent, and surely I was never going to be that mom: the kind who made mistakes and did things wrong and cried into her cookie dough ice cream at night.
It turned out, I was wrong about sooooo many things. But the one thing I do know: I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve been given.
So when you see something that would “never fly in your house,” stop yourself before you say you’re never going to be that kind of mom. When you pass a mom in Target whose kid is throwing an epic tantrum or when you visit your kids’ school and are tempted to judge another mom’s lunch choices, remember this: we are all doing the best we can.
Someday you might be that mom with the nearly four year old with a pacifier that you just can’t make him give up, because he’s having a rough transition with the new baby, and it’s the one thing that brings him comfort. Or you might be the mom of a child with sensory processing disorder who only eats peanut butter and jelly because pretty much everything else makes him scream.