If given the opportunity, I’ll analyze just about anything. I lie in bed at night and think about short conversations from a week or so ago, wondering to myself if I did or said the right thing. I analyze my hairstyle, my diet, my social media feed and whether or not I was the kind of mom I wanted to be that day. It’s in my nature and something I’ll likely do forever.
Yet, as parents, we tend to berate ourselves over every tiny thing, second-guessing our decisions to the hilt until we begin to question if anything we choose is ever the right option. I once spent four hours of my life researching organic baby shampoo to make sure I found a totally green formula. If that doesn’t make your eyes cross and your hair fall out, I don’t think anything else will.
To make it a little easier on you, here is a list of five things that I’ve heard most moms my age stressing over and why most of them are molehills masquerading as mountains.
1. Picky Eaters
Unless your child is eating nothing but french fries for weeks on end (one kid I knew in elementary school actually did this), chances are, he or she is just fine. While I don’t claim to be a dietician or pediatrician, I do know that it’s almost impossible to not sneak a goldfish or two into your diaper bag every once in a while, even if you do try your best to feed your child nothing but fruits, veggies and lean proteins.
Keep in mind that children with underlying medical conditions should follow their doctor’s recommended diet. Yet, otherwise, if your kid is in the middle of a picky stage, learn to roll with it and even make it fun, coming up with alternatives for her to try or fun ways to sneak in those nutrients without him noticing.
2. Screen Time
No one will recommend you plop your child in front of the tablet and leave her there while you perform hours of housework. And, chances are, you’re not doing that. Yet, it’s pointless to beat yourself up over pulling out the smartphone so you can pop in a load of laundry or respond to a few emails in peace. Remember, we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to how much of a role technology will play in our future lives and careers. Getting your children (safely) comfortable with its use and function now can help them adapt better down the road.
3. Monthly Milestones
My daughter walked when she was 11 months. We were staying at a hotel in Nashville and she took her first little baby steps across the carpeted floor in front of the couch. So, as soon as my son turned 11 months, I started looking for those signs that he was ready. None came. He was still scooting about, crawling backward with no intention to walk any time soon. He was actually about 14 months old when he took his first steps and now, I can’t get him to sit still.
All of this to say, talk to your pediatrician if you have real concerns about your baby’s development but if you’re simply comparing him to what your friends are posting on social media or what your other children did at that age, remember that all babies are different and take their own time to grow.
4. Nightly Infant Baths
I don’t advocate going for days on end without washing up but when babies are still little and their skin is still sensitive, you can skip a day or two of actual sudsing up as long as you’re cleaning with a warm washcloth in key areas (think armpits, under the chin, behind and inside the ears, etc.). And while you’re at it, don’t worry if most of your baths take place in the kitchen sink rather than in a fancy schmancy baby bathtub. As long as they’re safe, secure and protected, they’re good and so are you.
5. Early Potty Training
File this one under the “every kid is different” category. While you can push children toward it, real, successful potty training requires them to be mentally, as well as physically ready. Feeling pressured to get it in before they turn three? Don’t be. That was me two years ago and my old, wise pediatrician looked me in the eye and said, “I promise you this: She won’t go to college wearing a diaper.” Even if it feels like the day will never come, rest assured that soon enough, you’ll be packing that backup change of clothes for the last time.
This list isn’t exhaustive but look at how many things we parents tend to overthink! While it’s definitely easier said than done, I suggest we give ourselves a little grace, time and patience as we figure this whole “raising a human” thing out. We’re doing just fine, you and me, picky eaters and all.