Friday, April 15, 2016

Don't Apologize

Today I'm here with a handful of parenting advice you didn't ask for. You're welcome.

Don't push that red X in the corner just yet, though. I'm not touting the miracles of breast/bottle feeding or ticking off a list of ways you've probably screwed up your kid. I'm here to do the opposite. I have a simple message I've been led to share after perusing my Facebook news feed: please don't apologize.

Here's a sampling of the recent apologies I've seen mothers post to Facebook: they ordered pizza for dinner instead of cooking, their newborn baby cried in Walmart, and they rocked their pajamas in the car line. Every time I see these mothers, new and not-so-new, asking for forgiveness for raising their children, it makes me a little sad. I get the feeling they don't think they're doing it right. I want to take this opportunity to let them know they are.

I'm going to be real honest with you for a paragraph {don't worry, I'm honest most of the time}, I have a lot of insecurity and self-esteem issues, mostly involving what I see in the mirror. I try hard every day to improve my health and my attitude, but it can get hard to actually live this post I wrote about postpartum bodies. To get to the point, with all the insecurities I have floating in my busy brain, not a single one of them has to do with what other people think about my parenting. I do often worry whether I'm an adequate mother. That has to be common {right?!}, but when it comes to other people's opinions on the ways I have carried, birthed, and raised this bunch, it just doesn't matter.

The true friends, the people you need to surround yourself with, won't judge you on Facebook.

If you feel the need to add #dontjudge or #badmom to your social media because there's someone reading it who you feel you owe an explanation, that person is likely unnecessary. Sure, I love self-deprecating humor as much as the next mom who's struggling to keep her head above water, but if you are apologizing because you feel pressured to, do me a favor and take a step back. Read through the following checklist:

1. Is your child safe?
2. Is your child fed?
3. Is your child loved?

High-fives, you're doing it right. All other details are up to you. Parenting is hard, but it comes with a healthy dose of grace. Don't let anyone take that from you. Some days are high, some days are low, and some days you send your kid to school with the night's drool in his hair. This parenting gig is all yours, though. Now, I'll meet you in the car line in stained yoga pants with a toddler not wearing any. Don't worry about the Happy Meal bags littering the backseat.

Hold your messy hair high. You're doing a good job.

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