To the mother who breastfed her baby until they needed it no more; I know the amazing feeling that comes with knowing your little one is getting everything they need from you. Your body is an incredible thing. I know too, the sheer exhaustion you have felt when it’s all down to you, your nipples are cracked, and you don’t get a break. We are not rivals.
To the mother who formula fed her baby; I know the overwhelming rush of love you felt seeing your husband feeding your baby, and your mum feeding her grandchild like she did you all those years ago. I know too, the guilt, the pressure and the judgement you have felt from the outside looking in. I know you dreaded telling the health visitor your reasons. We are not rivals.
To the mother who made every puree from scratch; I know the peace of mind you had knowing exactly what your baby was eating. I know too, the crushing disappointment when your baby spits out your hard work. Not to mention the sheer hell that is dicing a butternut squash. We are not rivals.
To the mother who stock piled the baby food from the supermarket; I know that time is precious and a commodity you don’t have a lot of, as is freezer space. I know too, your shopping bill seems to have doubled and that stuff smells gross. We are not rivals.
To the mother who co-sleeps with her children; I know the privilege you feel to watch their sleeping faces and wrap your arms around their cozy bodies. I know too, the times you have wished for a queen size bed as you hang off the edge whilst your child starfishes. We are not rivals.
To the mother who placed the baby in the nursery after 12 weeks; I know you worried about rolling onto your child. I know you relish the space that it your own bed. I know too, the temporary panic you feel each time you pop your head round the nursery door to see if they are ok. We are not rivals.
To the mother who picks her baby up each time they cry; I know they aren’t little for long and these cuddles are precious. I know too, the exasperation of a baby who won’t sleep when you are so longing to yourself. We are not rivals.
To the mother who teaches her baby to self sooth; I know you long to pick them up when they cry, and I know you will question whatever technique you are using. I know too, your baby will wake up and smile at you in the morning and not love you any less. We are not rivals.
To the mother who returns to work; I know the joy of adult conversation and the time to be yourself. I know too, the guilt you feel and the sadness when you kiss your children goodbye. We are not rivals.
To the mother who stays at home; I know the joy of a day filled with simple pleasures and giggles. I know too, the relentlessness of the demands you have to meet and the need to justify your place in society. We are not rivals.
There is no wrong way. There is just your way. Sometimes it’s a choice, sometimes it’s a circumstance. We all parent differently. But we are all the same in that we are doing our best.
We all agonise over the decisions we make. We all feel the guilt that comes with being a parent. We all occasionally wish we could leave the house with a smaller bag. We all love our children with a passion we didn’t know we were capable of. We all cry on their first day of school.
We are not rivals. We are mothers.
This post was featured on Huffpost and was number 12 in their top 20 most read posts of 2015. It was also featured on Netmums and in the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail online.
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