I always knew when I had kids I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I have loved being around kids ever since I was a child myself. I even dreamed of being a teacher, but changed majors when I found out how much money they make (sorry, I really like to shop, and didn’t want to depend on a man to support me).
When I had Morris in 2004, it was an easy decision to give up my career in physical therapy and marketing. I’ve always strived to be the best at whatever I do. As a competitive person, being a mom, meant I had a new challenge to conquer. I had to be the “best” mom out there. So, I went into overdrive mode. I read every parenting book on the market, I experiemented with all the different parenting techniques, and listened to what the “experts” said on everything from sleep training to breastfeeding.
I became an out of control, control freak. All of Morris’s activities of daily living (feeding, changing, sleeping, bathing, etc) were done by me just so I could ensure nothing would be done “wrong”. It nearly killed me and practically destroyed my marriage. I was nursing 7-10 times a day for the first year, barely had enough energy to brush my teeth, lost all my baby weight and some extra within 4 months (thus dubbed The Olsen triplet by many Angelenos), and had little to no adult interaction for many days at a time.
I almost lost my mind.
Girls Night Out? What was that? Is it when all my girlfriends hang out and pop champagne while I was running into Morris’s room 5x/night to soothe him the second he cried? I never spent one night away from him (sure sounds pathetic now, but I really believed I would be a bad mom if I wasn’t there for him all the time).
Fast forward to 2008. Along comes Bronson. No more manic mommy this time. It wasn’t a pre-meditated decision I made, it just happened naturally. I was much more relaxed.
I realized his brain would stlll grow and develop even if I didn’t play Beethoven and Schubert 24 hrs/day. It wasn’t necessary for his toddler social calendar to be filled daily with playdates and classes. Bronson wasn’t already on mommy and me waiting lists before my placenta was delivered.
No, Bronson got an old fashioned upbringing: he accompanied me constantly to Morris’s school and social activities. He learned to play at home with pots and wooden spoons while I cleaned the kitchen and got stuff done. And I sleep trained him at 6 months old to learn to soothe himself and sleep through the night.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had my overachiever moments like when I decided I was gonna puree organic vegeatbles every day instead of giving him baby food from a jar (yeah right, that lasted about a month, that food processor quickly got retired to the pantry to rust).
So, for the parents dealing with all the daily decisions we are constantly faced with: RELAX. Your kids will be fine.