It doesn’t matter

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When you fret and worry about whether your kid takes to the breast, or won’t take the bottle or you can’t get a good attachment and need a breast shield, or a pump or not to pump, to demand feed or feed strictly every 4 hours. Whether you still give your baby a bottle in the middle of the night, or feed them to sleep or rock them or whatever it is you do. That worry?

It doesn’t matter.

A week from now. A month or a year later? It doesn’t matter.

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When you worry about whether to feed the kid purees or solids, rice cereal or chunks of food they can feed themselves. Whether they use a spoon , or their head like a dog. Whether they start at 4 months or 6 or only really have milk with a bit of stuff? That worry and overthinking about that thing, because it’s the first time you’ve done it or you read somewhere about a way, or your Mum said that’s not how she did it?

It doesn’t matter.

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The constant beating yourself up because the kid that “should” know how to do something by now. Whether it’s sleeping in their own bed, wetting the bed, doing their shoelaces or swimming lessons. The inability to sleep in, or stay up too late. Or those “should haves” that you think about at traffic lights, that burn when people ask you about them, the secrets we keep because they “should” know this stuff by now?

It doesn’t matter.

I mean some things matter. And of course you can worry about things, because that’s what we do when we become parents, we worry. We worry because we care SO much, and we want to do the right thing by this whole human being that we have created and who we are responsible for. But ALL that worry about the little stuff along the way?

It truly doesn’t matter.

Is your child fed and happy? Great. Are they comforted and safe when you rock them to sleep? How lovely. Are they growing? Are they loved? You’re doing it!

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The last few weeks I have had to remind myself of this. I have WORRIED. I am worrier! An olympic worrier. And when someone mentioned something like “when are you going to stop doing that?” and it was a flippant remark that they have long forgotten about, it tapped into all those worries and fears and “secrets” that we keep as Mums, all of MY worries and concerns. The little quirks that we all do for our children, because they need it, and because we love them. It might be a bottle in the night they “shouldn’t” be having. A mattress on the floor in the bedroom that they “should” have grown out of by now.

I have literally beaten myself into despair trying to “fix” problems because I thought we “should”. IT’S ABOUT TIME! And in the process? Well I’ve driven everyone in our family into a spin as I did it and I’ve almost made myself mad too. And you know what?

It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter. Beth, IT DOESN’T MATTER.

In a year from now will it still matter? I know from looking at my almost 10 year old and my 1 year old that all the things I really worried about, don’t matter. Shit, there’s a gazillion MORE, bigger, harder things to worry about now.

I’m giving you permission to let it go.
I’m giving myself permission.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

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This parenting business, while one of hardest jobs you will do, goes by too fast. And I wish that I could get some of that time back, that worrying, and just enjoy it. Whenever you stop listening to your parenting instinct, that voice inside that actually KNOWS what it’s doing. The same loving, caring voice that allows you to lay down with your child so they can go to sleep at night, and instead listen to a “should” voice, well you are going off YOUR track (which incidentally is the right track for you and your child) and you may end up on the kitchen floor sobbing in despair. Cough. Maybe that was me this week? Cough.

A problem is only a problem if you (or someone else) let it be one. Because maybe someone else thinks it is?

And of course if it IS a problem for you or your child, if you are not coping with what you are trying, well then something has to change, and that’s an entirely different kettle of fish all together.

But, if not, then smile and listen to that advice and nod. Then forget it. Read that article, those comments and click away. Listen to that family member’s advice and then promptly forget it. You really do know what’s best. Even if you have been doing it for 3 minutes. Listen to that instinct. It’s loving, and caring and everything your child needs from you.

And remember. That 3 weeks/months/years from now?

It doesn’t matter.
It’s OK.
You’re doing a great job.

If no one else will tell you today, I will. And one last thing, that loving, caring and nurturing side of you as a Mother? Use some of it on yourself.

Comments

  1. You are so right. My babies are now adults and I feel there is so much pressure on mums of today. Use YOUR instincts. Go with YOUR gut feeling, your little one will soon let you know if what you are doing is right. A beautiful post Beth.

    • Gosh Beth you have written the ultimate Mumpreciation post here and I’ve loved every word. I was a teacher in my pre-kid life and have been doing the stay at home mum for 5 years now. Oh gosh I worry and it peaks about 3am.
      I’m finding my footing with handling the worry- running, starting up a work from home earning gig and some really awesome herbal teas that are the bomb diggity of slowing down my mind.
      Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou. Don’t think a blog post has resonated with me more.

    • Thanks as ever Donna for your lovely, kind comments x

  2. Amen Beth!
    PS. I’m late to the “nurture the nurturer” concept but I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly since I got crook.
    Hope you’re enjoying your day out. You looked lovely.
    A x

  3. As a foster mum I really felt the worries that I was doing it wrong & wasn’t good enough. The babies I had were with me because they had been removed from an unsafe environment so I felt I had to be perfect. I remember the looks from other women when I went into the parents room & heated a bottle, I felt so guilty that I couldn’t feed them “properly” even though I knew logically it didn’t matter, they were being fed. After a few babies I grew a tougher skin & wasn’t so easily upset by other peoples comments but occasionally something will still hit a nerve & make me second guess myself & my “baby” is 13 now

  4. My current worry is my 15 month, 3rd child, still breastfed, no signs of stopping, fussy eating, old enough to say “Boo Boo” when out in public while slapping my chest. If I could keep it a secret it wouldn’t bother me. In fact I make a joke about it and make people laugh about it while shoving a sweet biscuit in his mouth to shut him up, further endorsing his fussy eating. Maybe it’s not really others judgement that bothers me but my own?

    • If it makes you feel any better, my second was solely breast fed until 11 months, rejected all solids until that point. And I weaned him off the boob at 18 months as I was pregnant with my third and couldn’t keep it up due to pretty bad morning sickness. Everyone commented about him still being breast fed – but I just did what worked for us at the time. Best of luck and if you need any advice Simone from Play With Food is fantastic to talk to about fussy eating xo

    • It’s good to write it out sometimes and see that don’t you think? Hence why I can’t stop blogging…cheap therapy!

  5. Grace Hanks says:

    What about for yourself though ? I worry I’m not doing enough, being enough, earning enough, being thin enough, happy enough for ME… not them… they’re bloody awesome but I’m restless and worried I’ve stuffed ME up! ?

    • Grace, the worry of all the things is what stuffs us up. Thin enough, earning enough? Gah! It doesn’t matter. It couldn’t matter LESS, unless you give it power to. Be KIND to yourself. Just that. Kindness matters.

    • Worry about stuff like that WILL drive you mad! YOU are enough. Promise! x

  6. So true Beth so true. A wise woman once said to me ‘ask yourself will I care about this in 15 years time… if the answer is no then let it go it doesn’t matter’. That and my nana’s phrase ‘This too shall pass’ are the two thoughts I have often held onto when holding ‘It’ together. ‘It’ being this whole mothering gig,

  7. Really doesn’t matter!! I had to have a c section and boy did I think ( and was made to feel ) that meant I hadn’t really given birth. Then I had trouble breastfeeding him – another nail on my failing mother debut… but alas, that baby is now 9. Has no horns or extra limbs due to being bottle fed from 3.5 months or from being born via my tummy. I’ve gone on to have 2 more kids and if they are not bleeding nor squarking ( cos that drives me batty) then I’m happy! But there are some days when it creeps up and you think all those little are important….but it does not matter. Thanks for the reminder

  8. I think if we get it right 30% of the time Beth we are all doing a great job. We need to listen to our gut instincts as parents and seek support from those who care and support us. It takes a village to raise a child.

  9. You are so right, it doesn’t matter. My daughter had a bottle until the year before big school every night. 8 ounces of milk. I was happy because she was such a fussy eater. She is now 36 with her own child and looks pretty normal to me. Although in my day, I don’t remember being judged as much as today, no social media, I guess. Just do what’s right for you and your family. A wise doctor once asked my mother who was concerned about the dummy with my brother, how many adults on the train today had a dummy?

  10. I just found this sleep aid on Facebook and thought you might be interested. I guess a lot of people have given you advice for Harper and her sleep routine. Kids not sleeping was one thing that used to do me in! This light might be worth a try if you haven’t tried anything similar.

    http://www.glowdreaming.com/

    Cheers – Joolz

  11. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    So true Beth and You are doing a great job at this parenting gig and never forget it Beth Xx

  12. Such perfect timing for me. 3 week old Bub (my third. But I still feel clueless sometimes) and I have always struggled with breastfeeding. Am doing my best with it yet again but this post has really truly made me feel a little bit normal again.

    • Breastfeeding is HARD Em. Stick with it, do your best, and go easy on yourself. I had a shocking time with Daise so I know your pain xx

  13. Ohh this post came at the right time! I’m a first time mum and at four months in I find myself in a constant state of worry. Just this week bubby has decided to wake every half hour from 2am until 7am. Doesn’t matter what I do, he still wakes. I’ve tried waking him for a feed at 10pm, leaving him to sleep until he’s hungry (usually at 1am), giving him a top up feed. My worry is that whatever I do end up doing will form bad habits. My husband tells me not to stress but I feel lost sometimes.

    • Oh Steph! You are doing an amazing job! I know exactly how you feel – why do they change all of a sudden? But as soon as it changes, it will right itself again and then as sure as that sorts out, it will change again. Buckle yourself in for the crazy ride! xxx

  14. As always, a fantastic post. It’s always reassuring for me to read your words (and those in the comments section) and to know that there are so many normal people out there using common sense to raise their kids. Parenting these days has been turned into a “skill” and there is so much worry involved because society places so much importance on doing it the right way (whatever that is).

    I hope you never stop Blogging – your posts (particularly your parenting related posts) are a breath of fresh air. There are other Mummy blogs out there that claim to “tell it like it is” but they still feel fake to me and the truths are rather contrived. Go you.

  15. you seem to be doing a mighty fine job beth!
    I think intuition and love saves the day! along with a good pinch of humour!
    love m:)X

  16. Holy moly Beth mac I needed this today. You are speaking to this first time mummas soul.
    Newborn are tricky!!
    Hope this has helped you too lovely!
    Xoxo

  17. Kate Connelly says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! 12 year old in my bed, I’ve lost the plot and he’s driven me to the Scotch…fingers ?

  18. Thanks. I had a shit time breastfeeding – literally no milk. I didn’t know it was possible to have no milk but it is very possible and without formula and a lactation consultant telling me to start it my baby would have died. And I’m sitting here with my thriving child feeling a bit sad because I couldn’t feed them like I was supposed to, and I needed to hear this today.

  19. Thank you for telling me I’m doing a good job because you are right, I rarely hear it.
    Lately I’ve been trying to calm my mind on my kids eating. Half of my four are TERRIBLE eaters. And I mean truly TERRIBLE but I was pretty fucking dreadful in the eating department for almost 30 years & look at me now?! I know I provide my kids with all the right foods ( & yes, some of the wrong foods too) but I cannot force them to eat it. They are all doing fine. Is their diet ideal? No but I am doing my best & I need to remind myself of that.
    I know ive said it to you many times over the years Beth, but thank you. For your words, your support, for you. You put it all out there & this blog,YOU, help mamas like me, who often feel like they are the shittest of shit, feel ok. If I ever see you in real life I’m likely to knock you to the ground with the force of my hug. xxx

  20. Gosh what comforting words from one mum to another. Your honesty is inspiring. Thank you Beth 🙂

  21. My best example of this is when my oldest was 15yo, and my youngest was 5yo and had been at school for a few weeks, I’d just found out my 15yo was smoking weed and I’d been having over-reactive nightmares about him becoming a hardcore drug addict etc etc (as you do), standing with the “new” mothers of 5yos at the classroom door waiting to pick up our darlings – they’re busy discussing how they’d only had reading books twice that week, and that really wasn’t enough, how were our kids supposed to learn how to read? etc etc … I’m standing there thinking, hey ladies, this is nothing and believe me in a few years really isn’t going to matter at all!

  22. Love this Beth. I agree wholeheartedly. I worried about different things with my daughters when they were little and in the scheme of things, they didn’t matter. They do learn to sleep through the night (well they might when they’re teens!), they do learn to use the toilet and well eventually they do leave you one day to make a life of their own. xx

  23. What a beautiful , real , honest , heartfelt sharing . When we give this gift to each other and ourselves , it reminds us that we are not alone ! Thank you ! I actually find it takes real conscious thinking on my behalf to not let the worry of big and small overtake … Certainly a work in progress .

  24. Oh Beth, thank you! You have such a way with words and I’m so glad that you put your thoughts in writing. You just said what we all think and feel. We are not on our own but sometimes this mothering thing feels so lonely and I question myself all of the time and beat myself up for all the times I go for a ride on my broomstick. We definitely need to be kinder to ourselves and give ourselves a pat on the back occasionally for doing a bloody good job. Well done mums!!! It’s a tough gig.

  25. Last night, I sat with my newborn in my arms and we cuddled and cuddled and cuddled. I’m going home to a three year old and a two year old and I know that the time which I will have for newborn cuddles will be fleeting. Don’t hold him, pop him into the cot, you’ll form bad habits…. It’s okay, I’m just going to love him – I just want him to know that he is so very very LOVED.

  26. Jackie Daysh says:

    The only advise my Mum gave to me…
    “if you are not screaming and the baby/child is not screaming you are doing the right thing”

  27. Thank you, Beth. Just what I needed today. My mummy heart is heavy. X

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