I can’t quite pinpoint the details on whether I found her, or she found me, but Janna from Manic Mama has been along for the ride pretty much since the beginning of my mom blogging journey. Right away, we clicked. I have found a friend in Janna and I am happy to have her as my first Guest Blogger. In her blog, Manic Mama, Janna discusses what it’s like being a mom with anxiety, how it affects her family, the importance of having mom friends, and life as a mom. Janna has been my greatest influence as I dip into my own journey as a mom with anxiety. She is caring, she’s funny, and a great mom to an adorable little boy. I hope she inspires you the way she has inspired me.
Trusting my gut, or my ‘mother’s intuition’ if you will, since now I get to call it that, is something I’ve had to really learn to do since becoming a mother. There is SO MUCH conflicting information out there, and I’m not just talking about the shit you can google – I’m talking about certified and educated doctor’s opinions.
When my son was born 2 years ago, we had an entire influx of babies being born in our group of friends. That meant that I had a great support system (go #momsquad) of like-minded individuals who happened to be in the exact same stage in their lives as I was. This was great in terms of having good people around who could commiserate with me, but it was insanely confusing when it came to making choices with regards to parenting. As a new mom you really have no idea what you’re doing – or at least I had no idea what I was doing – so I tended to rely on three different groups of people for advice… my mother, my friends, and my pediatrician (I very quickly learned that using mommy groups on Facebook for advice was something that would just augment my stress and make me more confused… if you think your family members have a lot of opinions, ask a parenting question on Facebook and get ready, get set, and go straight to the land of panic and confusion because that’s just another 5,000,000 people Caps Lock screaming at you that you’re doing something wrong).
Now my mom and my friends’ opinions were never just their own opinions, because every single one of these individuals either had someone else to ask (like her best friend who also just became a grandmother, or their own mother’s opinion, respectively), or had read something somewhere that insisted that things should be done this way and not that way. So, something as simple as which diapers and diaper cream to use would become a 3-day debate with flow charts, pro and con lists, and at least one breakdown (I’m told that this is very much a first-time parent thing, and that with the second baby you just kind of wrap them in newspaper and hope for the best). Not to mention the fact that not a single one of my friends had their baby attending the same pediatrician – so that’s another 5 different doctor-based opinions.
Do I give my kid a pacifier? He’s been screaming for three days nonstop and I think my nipples are about to fall off because he’s cluster feeding, and my mom says the latch looks good, but my friend says that if my nipples are still bleeding like that then I have to go see a lactation consultant, and my other friend says that giving a pacifier will disrupt his breastfeeding learning curve and give him nipple confusion, but the third friend said that her pediatrician insists that there is nothing wrong with giving a pacifier from day one, and, and, and, because, because, because. It’s an overwhelming stream of consciousness, especially with all those hormones thrown in. (For those of you who are wondering, I shoved that pacifier in his mouth like my life depended on it, and once he finally took it, it was like the clouds parted and the heavens sang down in freaking hallelujah).
Now all these opinions are not to say that any of my friends judged my choices (my mom probably did, but she’s a grandma now, she’s out for the count and thinks she knows best and that’s why I love her so much), they were all very supportive regardless of what I chose – but that wasn’t the issue at hand. The issue is that all these conflicting opinions make it that much harder to make a decision as a new mom. A new mom who has no idea what she’s doing! So, I had to learn to go with my gut. I had to learn to watch my baby, and listen to him (no he couldn’t’ talk, I mean this figuratively). A lot of it was trial and error, and A LOT of it was guess work, but I learned that the best way for me to sift through all the advice, was to listen to what my mother’s intuition was telling me was right, and if it was wrong the first time? Listen harder, listen again.
So, do your research, ask your friends, hell even go on that Facebook mommy group and ask them by the thousands – but remember, this is your kid, you’re the mom, and ultimately YOU know best. Oh yeah, and maybe ask your partner to weigh in on some of this stuff… I guess he is kind of co-parenting with you, but chances are he’s just as clueless as you are, so I guess yay for unity in complete ignorance?
To read more by Janna, please visit Manic Mama