I remember vividly, being pregnant and stuck in an elevator with a few fellow social workers. They had just heard that I was not going to be returning to work, and they were laughing and saying that within a few months I'd be back. They already had children, and they were saying oh girl, you will WANT to work! You will be broke, or your kid will be driving you nuts...
That was my first real indication that a lot of people have A LOT of opinions about what other people should do. Bottle or breast. Crib or family bed. Cry it out or coddle. Spanking or time-outs. Stay home or work. Public school, private or home school. TV or a "non-tv home." Plugged in kids or kids that don't know how to work a computer. All of these things I just mentioned all have arguments, all good ones. But sometimes, it drives me crazy.
I feel like sometimes, moms just want to feel validated for the choices they've made, by making them the "best choice" in their minds. Myself included! But some choices I made weren't really my choice, it just kind of happened. Whether it was out of influence of my friends or families choices, or just out of survival (no I didn't let my babies cry it out! I would have gone loony!) - I feel kind of...guilty...when I hear about other moms choices and how it's working out so well for them. I had my babies at 24 yrs old and 26 yrs old...because that's when God chose to give them to me. It just happened (yes I know how...and now I also know that some forms of birth control are of the "you can run buy you can't hide" variety). Sometimes I am so thankful that I am on the younger side of parenthood, and sometimes I really wish we had taken time to save money before having kids. I breastfed both kids, but with Bailey we gave one bottle a day that had salt in it bc of her CF, and she started to refuse to nurse at 4 months old and pumping was for the BIRDS (read: I threw my breastpump against the wall in a fit of frustration and hormones and broke it), so she ended up being bottlefed. I felt so guilty I must have cried myself to sleep for a week, and yet she didn't get her first cold until she was 2 years old (it helped I went absolutely no where with her). Taylor nursed until she was 9 or 10 months (she and I decided to stop when she started thinking it was an awesome game to bite me so hard I got an infection so bad even the dr said "ew.") And even though she nursed longer, she had her first cold at 2 weeks old.
What's my point anyway? Moms need to give each other A LOT of slack. It is an accomplishment to just feed, clothe and cuddle your children each day!!! An accomplishment! But we put so many more expectations than that on each other - and mostly on ourselves - that we end up feeling defeated before we're even out of bed in the morning (ugh another cereal day and I know so-and-so always makes her kids a hot breakfast). We are all made differently, with different gifts and resources. I don't homeschool because you'd end up seeing me on the evening news. "Local mom screams at children while trying to teach them long division...children found cowering in the corner...mom on anti-depressants because she doesn't even know long division."
That's a true story.
So at Christmas, maybe the thought of making a ton of Christmas cookies has you wishing for your private island. So don't do it!! Trust me, the kids would rather have a happy mom than a stressed out one. Do what I did when my kids were younger (read above - we validate the choices we made and now they're the best ones, remember?!) and buy store made cookies, tint readymade frosting green and red (ooh sounds like a homeschool lesson!) and let them have a plastic knife and decorate them. Take the frosting and knife away as soon as you feel your blood pressure rising and shove cookies in their mouths. Or scrap the whole cookie thing together and put Santa hats on their heads and go for a drive and look at lights. Return home as soon as you start swinging your arm wildly in the backseat to smack one of their legs because they're fighting over whether the house with the blow-up Santa on a motorcycle or the house with the 10 Rudolphs was prettier.
In closing, be kind to yourself and your fellow mamas. We're all just trying to make it through the day. You don't see daddies having a pissing contest over whether their baby was bottlefed or nursed. In fact, if I paid Kevin a million dollars I know he couldn't tell me how old either of my kids were when they weaned. And then he'd ask what "weaned" meant. Yeah, take a hint from the daddies, because they've got their act together for sure.
A bit of sarcasm on that last sentence. But in this instance, yup, they have one on us. They're not feeling guilty when they read on Facebook that one of their friends just made Christmas cookies to deliver to nursing homes, churches and the homeless...they're just wondering if there's any left.