An experienced mother can spot her from a mile away – the first time mom. With organic diapers, milk and baby food, diaper bags filled with the latest gadgets and doohickeys that we were told at the store every mother must have and our constant obsession with making sure our babies are hitting and exceeding those developmental milestones.
I must admit. I was one of them. When I got pregnant the first time, I read every baby book and magazine I could get my hands on from cover to cover – What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Fit Pregnancy, American Baby, the list went on and on. I even consulted the What to Expect app on my iPod Touch for daily updates on how babies develop as well as the group message board for moms due the same month I was.
After going through the overwhelming experience of setting up a baby registry at Babies R Us, I would scour product reviews on the web, updating and re-updating my registry until it was “perfect.”
Once my daughter arrived, I used the gentlest baby products, sanitized every surface multiple times a day and exposed her to educational toys and activities from the start.
Fast forward three years later – I’m not as much of a germ-a-phobe. Sometimes dust and crumbs accumulate for a few days before I get to them. We eat a fair amount of organic food but mix “regular” food in too. We go to story time at the library and read several hours a week but if a day goes by and we haven’t read a book, I don’t freak out. And I allow her to have some space and freedom to play without mom hovering over her.
Now that I’m expecting another little one, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I looked at my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. From time to time, I’ll open the app on my phone, bypassing the baby progress update and head for the birth month group discussion board. I read Fit Pregnancy every once in a while on my iPad but if I miss an issue, it’s OK.
Am I a bad mom? No, I think I’m a good mom (if I do say so myself) and I think others would agree. I just think I’ve found more balance. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be perfect. Mothers did a great job raising their children before our obsession with organic and antibacterial everything. Gadgets are great but most kids can have hours of enjoyment playing with an empty box or pots and pans (I know many parents can attest to this). Plus kids develop at different rates and have their individual strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate the strengths while providing encouragement and support in the midst of challenges to help build a healthy self-esteem.
Whether you’re a first time mom or an experience pro, in many ways we’re all figuring it out as we go.
Serena Smith is a senior marketing communications specialist at ProMedica. She is responsible for facilitating media coverage of ProMedica and writes health articles for ProMedica HealthConnect. Her passion is health and wellness. She’s an avid runner and enjoys competing in half marathons. She loves to read, watch television and spend time with her husband and daughter.