I’ve only been an ‘official,’ real life, completely responsible for another human’s life, mom for ten months. So I understand, I may not be THE most credible source. We all have learning to do, especially a mom who hasn’t even survived the terrible twos and threenager war zones yet. But I have accomplished something worthy of recognition recently. I made a realization, I let it sink in, began to wholeheartedly believe it, and have now made it my daily (okay, hourly) mantra.
It is okay to not know.
We live in a world where we are inundated constantly with resources, which is incredible. It is a HUGE blessing to be able to surround yourself with a real life, in-person village to help raise your littles and stay sane, as well as an online village to run to when answers seem hidden everywhere else.
It’s a wonderful feeling to login to my social media feeds and see moms giving advice to other moms, to hear women comforting other women. Anything from a bottle of spilled liquid gold to debating what school to send children to can be discussed. Strangers offer free clothing, formula, food, even assistance until the next paycheck comes through to complete strangers. These are perfect examples of the miracle these networks have become.
In the past nine months I have found myself scrolling these feeds without purpose, though. I’ve spent anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours hours reading through comments that have nothing to do with me or anything I was seeking. I’ve been sucked in to the ongoing tornado of social media.
It’s easy, it’s convenient, and it’s a heck of a lot better than facing the stack of dishes next to our sink.
What most often comes from reading the unending posts is stress. I worry that I’m not using the correct dish soap for bottles (who knew there was specific dish soap for baby bottles?) I worry that I have never had her on the right sleep schedule from day one, so she’s doomed until she’s at least 18. I’m convinced I need to spend money on new sock booties that are guaranteed to stay on her feet. I find myself feeling like somewhat of a mom failure, sad that there isn’t room in our budget to buy more cute things (that we don’t need), and with a wasted nap time, because now the baby’s awake.
I’ve also found myself, in times of despair, automatically thinking – “I need to post this problem online right now. SOMEONE WILL HAVE AN ANSWER!!” But the truth is, with babies, this isn’t always the case. As basic as it is, it’s so important to remember that babies are babies.
Babies are unpredictable at times, and what works for one is not guaranteed to work for another. Having the advice and suggestions of how other moms have survived the sleepless nights is absolute gold. Though, when it seems like you can’t stay awake for another minute, it can also be the last straw as you realize not a single suggestion is working for you or your baby.
“There must be something wrong with us then, right?” your sleep-deprived brain may think.
No– babies are babies. Babies don’t sleep some nights. Babies get fussy. Some babies love bananas, some hate bananas. Most likely the ones who loved them on Wednesday will dislike them on Monday. There is not always a simple Facebook or Instagram remedy to every “wrong” that happens. There is no need to constantly seek an answer. We don’t always need to waste time online searching for something that isn’t doing us any good.
Please, new mama, find the peace in not knowing.
I wholeheartedly believe there is so much good available at our fingertips. While I’ve taken advantage of the blessing many times, I simply want to give comfort to any other mama who may also feel overwhelmed by everything they’re not doing, not posting, not buying, etc. compared to other online moms.
I will most definitely still reach out to my online mom tribe in times of need. I will also most definitely remind myself that it’s okay if I don’t have an answer. The baby will survive – even if she is doing this weird thing where she hits herself in the head with the TV remote every time she finds it.
You are a new mom for a reason. You’ve been entrusted with his or her little life for a reason. They say you have an automatic ‘mom instinct’ for a reason. Now convince yourself to trust it.
You will be okay, and the baby will be okay, even if you don’t know it right now.
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