Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today is one of my very favourite days!
On this day of love, I want to share with you a message I recently sent to a friend of mine.
My dear friend recently had her first baby. Like myself, I know my friend is a bit of a perfectionist who will put a lot of pressure on herself to do everything right.
I remembered back to when I had my first daughter. I read book after book after book. I listened to the advice of others. I became incredibly overwhelmed and unsure as to what was right and what was wrong. One book would say one thing, another book would say the opposite and then a friend would say something completely different! How on earth is a new mom supposed to navigate this?! I was so stressed out!
After a few months of trying to do everything right, I became exhausted. I stopped reading the books. I listened politely to the advice from others and kept it in mind… but I stopped feeling like I needed to practice it.
A friend of mine once told me, ” I may not be able to give my child everything, but at least I will be able to give them love.” The more I thought about this, the more I thought she was right. Her advice was the best advice I ever received. Ever.
The beautiful, precious, perfect baby needed me to love her. So I took care of her needs. And I loved her. I let my heart tell me how to raise her. And do you know what? Life got easier.
Here is some of the letter I wrote to my friend –
Read the books, listen to the advice of others… but then do what feels right for you. No friend or expert knows your child better than YOU! What works for one child may or may not work for yours. There’s a lot of good ideas out there and a lot of good advice (bad advice too), but just because you read it or hear it does not make it right for your child. I was SOOO stressed out with my first until I decided to stop feeling like I should be doing all those things or I was failing my child. When it comes down to it, you know what is best.
The most important thing your child needs in life is love. Feeling loved and accepted for who they are is the best gift you can give your child…
…You are NOT a bad parent if you use disposable diapers instead of cloth, bottle feed instead of breastfeed, use a soother (instead of ‘natural’ soothing), let your kid watch TV sometimes, etc… etc… etc… Your choices are exactly that… YOUR CHOICES… and it really is no one elses business how you choose to parent/raise your child.
Sometimes you will screw up. You will. Without question. It’s part of being a parent. Apologize when necessary. Learn from your mistakes and move on…
Loving a baby and raising that beautiful child is all about LOVE and doing what you know and feel is right for your family. And you might feel uncertain at first, but you will do a GREAT JOB!”
I said a lot more in that letter to my friend. The main message though was about love.
So if you have been feeling like you are not the perfect parent (that we all want to be!), I want you to stop where you are. Take a deep breath.
Now go hug your child. Tell them you love them.
I do this to my 11-year-old all the time. She shrugs away. She never says ‘I love you’ back. But I know she hears me. And I know that she knows she is loved. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
Happy Valentine’s Day!