I am a mother of three boys under the age of six. My 4-year-old twins were born early at 30.1 weeks and had to be in the NICU for over three months with one twin coming home before the other. During my labor which could not be stopped, I asked myself “what if…?” Could I have changed anything in my diet, the way I worked out during pregnancy, or how much I worked (stress levels)? This is one of the many scenarios I have grappled with since becoming a mom, thinking “what if?”
My oldest son was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Being his first year in “big boy school,” this mom has cried lots of happy and sad tears. From bad conduct grades, and A’s on a test to the constant redirection during class, I have ridden the ups and downs of this school year with him. I put him in tutoring three days a week and fought to get him a 504 plan and a diagnosis. This situation once again had me wondering “what if?” and “if only,” and his diagnosis hit me like running into a brick wall. Did I do everything right?
I am drowning in thinking, “If only” and “what if?”
My oldest boy was late for everything. He was late to crawl, walk, talk, and potty-train. We ended up having to put tubes in his ears due to many ear infections, which would be the reason why he was late to talk. He could not hear properly. I blame myself for my oldest being ‘late’ with everything. “If only I…,” right? Could I be the reason why he was late for everything? “What if I …?”
I’m drowning, right now because I am also not an “on-point mom”
I don’t read to my boys every night and never have. Our boys eat chicken nuggets and mac & cheese while we eat a meal (because they don’t want what we are eating). We let them go in their birthday suits to play on the slip-n-slide outside (yes, we have a privacy gate and a very secluded backyard). From sun up to sun down, our house is a zoo. We play hard in our house but love big during snuggle time. When it comes to structure, it took many trials and errors to figure out somewhat of a routine, but I’ll be honest, we still don’t fully have one. We have somewhat of a routine, and I’ll take that as a win! We may not eat at the table as a family every night (we’re trying), but the boys know not to bring food out of the kitchen. Once again, small wins!
Even with the small wins in our household, I’m drowning in the fact that I’m not the ‘picture perfect’ or ‘on-point’ mom. I’m drowning in the ‘what if’ I was a stay-at-home mom since I worked so much when my boys were newborns and infants. I blame myself for my oldest struggling in kindergarten and how when he went to school on his first day, I got told his fine motor skills were weak because he didn’t know how to hold a pencil. I blame myself for my oldest fully potty-training right after he turned five-years-old, and my twins being partially potty-trained at four years old. I’m drowning in bigger priorities and wins as a family than being worried about potty training. Shoutout to my fellow co-writer, Elizabeth Boudreaux, for also being in the same boat with her article Toddlers in Diapers: When Potty-Training Isn’t a Priority.
I’m swimming in blame right now. I’m drowning in “what if I was a better mom?” Is it okay to be a “good enough” mom?