The mummy war inside…

alternatively titled “how I struggle to do the ‘right’ thing”.

So much has been written over the last few years about the mummy wars – bottle vs. breast, attachment vs. free range, sleep train vs wait it out, working vs. stay at home. You may have even seen the following video doing rounds on social media, produced by US formula manufacturer Similac:

I try my very best to tune out well-intentioned yet mummy-wars inducing comments from the mums I meet. Attachment parenting and strict RIE philosophy have never worked for either me or CJ and so we mosey along, working out what makes us both the happiest along the way. Likewise I’m firmly in the vaccinator camp but, much like with my faith, we can still be friends even if we don’t have the same beliefs.

The biggest opponent I’m fighting in this mummy war? Myself.

Breast-feeding was hard. Hard physically, of course, for both me and for CJ; but also hard mentally and emotionally in so many ways. Every time I “gave in” to a change in our feeding routine I felt guilty. The first bottle, the first formula top-up, the nursing strike and the decision to stop. And for what? In the end formula feeding made CJ so much happier – he really is such an insatiable baby – and isn’t that the main point? I bought into this breast is best philosophy and I gave myself a metaphorical flogging when it wasn’t best for us. It’s only with the passage of time that I can look back and feel confident in my decisions.

Now you’d think that I would have learnt my lesson but I’m starting to beat myself up all over again about my return to work. Despite researching child care options carefully, despite doing transition visits, despite doing budget after budget to reconcile another regular outgoing with a irregular income… I still can’t help but wonder whether we are doing the right thing. I mean, for us to get ahead at all, and achieve our future goals (like buying a home) I have to work. Providing a stable home for CJ is hugely important to us. We’ve chosen an in-home carer who has the same philosophies as us and will continue to take him to activities outside the home. So much of me knows that CJ will be SO happy having two little friends to play with every day but that small wee asshole of a voice still pipes up in there saying that I’m a shitty mum for letting someone else raise my kid. I know, my inner demon works in hyperbole!

I’m soaking up all the time I can with my little guy right now, knowing that in two weeks things are going to be a little different in our house. I’m trying to keep us as busy with fun activities as possible so that I don’t have time to dwell on the thought of missing my little dude, my adventure buddy. Most of all, I’m praying that with the value of hindsight I will look back on this and realize, like with bottle feeding, it was the best decision I could have made for our family. I’m ordering a ceasefire on this internal mummy war.

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4 thoughts on “The mummy war inside…

  1. I’m not a parent and don’t plan to be for quite a few years yet, but I think this post speaks volumes about how, despite your internal struggles, you are doing the absolute best for your son. You make the hard calls for things that will benefit you both. I love reading your blog and seeing the photos of your happy little boy. It sounds corny, but you’re the kind of parent I want to be when I eventually start breeding! Keep being your awesome self. 😀

  2. Oh I hear ya. The ‘mummy wars’ are so stupid, but it’s even worse when we internalise them. I promise I’ve been there (the feeding thing was a huge part of it) and I’m sure most mums have (the good ones who don’t rage against everybody else to keep their own insecurities at bay which is why I think the silly ‘wars’ exist in the first place).
    You are an AMAZING mother. And I am saying that to you as a SAHM. Any fool could see how much you love your little CJ SO MUCH and you do so much to make him feel loved, happy and to keep him learning and discovering. You are fantastic. Going back to work will not change that. You are his number 1 lady. Always will be. I have no doubt he’ll rave about his carer but let that be nothing more than a compliment because you made the RIGHT choice.
    I wish you so well as you start this new chapter. Lots of love and hugs! 🙂

  3. Oh, I hear you. So much of parenthood has been flip flopping between decisions and emotions for me. Some days I just don’t feel like I do anything right! Then I try to get a bit of perspective and realise everything is a work in progress. You just do your best. You’re doing such an amazing job. CJ gets to see you being brave, loving and selfless every single day. You’re his home base but he gets to explore the world and a little bit of independence during the day. I think everything’s going to come up roses and even if things don’t go smoothly, you’ll be able to handle it!

  4. OMG, that video is HILARIOUS! I had to show Brandon haha. Great message too. But, I totally understand how you feel. I beat myself up 110% more than others do. You’re doing great, mama! And no one ever knows EXACTLY what’s right… we just have to go for it, try it out, see what happens and make a change if needed!!

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