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.