Friday, March 18, 2016

Breaking up With the Mommy Groups


One of the best things I've done for myself as a new, first time mom is to break up with all the (online) mom groups. You know the ones? The Facebook groups and the birth club boards and the message boards with other moms in similar walks of life as you that you originally thought held all the answers to parenting and babies that you couldn't bear the thought of functioning without them? If you don't know, then consider yourself lucky because as full of helpful mamas as they are, they caused me to obsess over things in a really unhealthy way. 
 
I spent hours of my day when Porter was first born reading posts in these groups from anything to do with breastfeeding, pumping, sleep training, schedules, solid foods, and the list goes on. When Porter was just a newborn and cried and cried and cried whenever I tried getting him to sleep, someone mentioned that maybe he had reflux and a few other well meaning moms chimed in and said that their reflux baby had the same tendencies and off to the doctor I went. The doctor said yes, sounds like reflux, prescribed some meds and after about a month on it, I noticed that they seemed to be making him so much worse instead of better so we stopped the meds and it wasn't until he was five months old that we discovered he had a dairy intolerance that was making him miserable and the medicine was only creating more stomach pain for him.
 
This wasn't anyones fault on the mommy group by any means-but its is just a small glimpse into how much stock and weight I put into what I read and heard from these other mamas on the internet that I didn't even know. I was obsessed with finding the perfect, magical schedule that would solve all of Porters sleeping issues, and I would read posts from other moms about their worries and concerns and wonder "Should I be worried about that too?" 
 
I was obsessed-there's not another way to put it. Not necessarily with the mommy groups themselves, but obsessed with doing the "right" thing by my baby, and I thought that every problem or situation I encountered had a right or a wrong answer that I just didn't know yet. What I failed to realize is these mommy groups are made up of a lot of other moms just like me-moms who actually don't know what they're doing more times than not, and moms who are experts in their baby but not necessarily in mine. 
 
Mommy groups aren't bad and they even can be extremely helpful. Getting advice from what worked for other moms who once were in my situation was helpful, until I thought I was failing as a mom when their advice didn't work for my situation or for when I was doing something that other moms warned against. 
A mommy group I haven't and won't break up with-these are real moms and real friends from church
The lord has used motherhood to shape, refine and prune me. He's exposed major areas of my heart that are just ugly. I was desperately trying to control everything around me, seeking that perfect formula for winning at motherhood that I was stressed and anxious more then I was soaking up and enjoying that fleeting newborn stage. For me, one small step in opening up my hand and giving up control was breaking up with the mommy boards. Now, when things don't go like I planned or if I have questions, I talk to other moms in my real life community, I call the nurse line at the doctor, or sometimes I shrug my shoulders and say "Babies rule the world!" and accept the fact that I am not in control and that is a good thing. Porter continues to surprise me and has me shaking my head in disbelief often, but I've come to embrace that part of motherhood because I know this is only the beginning.
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