You know how some memories tend to stick with you? One of these for me was getting sage advice from a woman who surely never imagined her words would stick. She wasn’t even talking to me, but I overheard her tell another mother, “Guilty moms make bad choices”. Those wise words were spoken by a colleague, re-assuring one of our young single mothers who had chosen to bottle rather than breastfeed.
I’m not proud of this but I cannot tell a lie. I was one of those militant La Leche League, Attachment Parenting extremists. Let me describe my commitment to natural weaning like this. I weaned my daughter using a sticker chart. She understood the concept of earning a prize for not drinking “boo boo”.
It was an innocent attempt to be a perfect mom. Admit it. We all want to be one. As a result of these ideals I became severely sleep deprived.
Night after night of allowing a mini monster use me as her personal pacifier practically drove me into a catatonic state. I was naively unaware that if I had taken better care of myself, I could have been a much more present mom.
At one point I did try out the cry-it-out method. After the wailing stopped, I tiptoed into her room. There I found my little girl asleep in a sitting position, head slumped into the bumper and with a diaper full of distress.
So I opted to live like the walking dead for the next 2 years.
I still wanted to be the quintessential mom but life got involved and messed up my plans. I won’t lie. I felt guilty my daughter was eating Fruit Loops for breakfast and SpaghettiOs for lunch. That was the tradeoff for a nurturing environment.
I won’t lie. I felt guilty at the time, but at least I didn’t send her to my nephew’s daycare. That place was a virtual war zone. One day when I picked him up, I found him plopped in a playpen in front of a 55” TV. That electric box blared and flashed images of protests in some foreign country, I saw a man emerge, bloody and stumbling from an angry mob. Oh, did I mention my nephew’s playpen sat no more than 5 feet from the screen?
So, while our ideal might be for our kids to eat 100% organic, we may occasionally find our beasts running in endless circles in the supermarket because we’ve powered them with red dye #40 and sugar.