I am waving my white flag. I have had enough. Enough of the should-do’s of parenting I am confronted with at every turn. It seems someone is constantly telling me, either in person, or on Facebook, or on a blog, or in a magazine, or on TV, what I should be doing.
I should breastfeed my babies.
I should feed my toddlers homemade organic babyfood.
I should fill my kids with only healthy, unprocessed food. Food which I make myself so it is healthier, more frugal, and environmentally friendly.
I should cosleep with my children because before I know I know it they will be all grown up. Or, conversely, I should put my children in their own beds, face up in their crib with no bumpers, blankets, or pillows, and I should not spoil them by running into their room every time they cry.
I should never discipline my children, which would shame them and cause damage to their self esteem, but rather gently and lovingly use every wrong doing to teach them how to be independent decision makers and ethically outstanding individuals.
I should stay home with my children and teach them myself. Or, again conversely, I should work outside the home to set an example of women being breadwinners and having their own careers while both demanding equality from my public schools and not coddling my children by swooping in to fight their battles or overprotect them.
I should, I should, I should…
There are not enough minutes in the day for all the loving, intentional, enriching activities I should be doing with my children. I don’t have enough energy in my body to be growing or preparing or making all the meals and snacks I should be feeding my family. I don’t have enough money in the bank for all the environmentally friendly and organic products and foods I should be buying and using. I am exhausted from trying.
I have tried for over six years to follow all the shoulds and to do as I was told. I have tried to read every label and follow every technique and speak all the right words and buy all the right toys. And even more exhausting is the guilt when I can’t do all the shoulds. When I buy the processed macaroni and cheese. When I put a crying child back in his bed because I am tired and want to sleep without feet kicking my back. When I buy the made in China polyester sweatpants because they are only $5 and my son has torn holes in the knees of the last five pairs I have bought.
I am declaring enough. Enough listening to the shoulds and wearing myself thin trying to follow them and feeling like a failure when I don’t do what I should.
No matter what my kids eat, or where they are during the day, or where they sleep at night, or what games they play, or what books we read, it is enough. It is enough because it is done out of a love that fills me so much it overflows out of me and over them, like a blanket covering them on a cold snowy night. It is enough because a content and confident mom is so much better than an exhausted and guilt-ridden one.
So, my friend, help me to wave our white flag. The should do’s are loud and constant. Help remind each other that we are enough. Because we can be louder than the doubt and the guilt. We can be enough.