This post is by Sarah Powers, Happiest Home contributor and Managing Editor, and blogger at Powers of Mine.
As a new mom – and an observant one, having always been someone who looks for patterns and categories as a way to make sense of things – I became familiar with most of the major Motherhood Labels: attachment, free-range, helicopter, breastfeeding, babywearing, organic, hypoallergenic, you name it.
I also gathered from casual observation and obsessive blog-reading that certain labels seemed to go together: The babywearers co-slept, the breast-feeders stayed at home, the organic people cloth-diapered, the helicopters were more likely to engage in lots of of extracurriculars. (And the free-rangers? I don’t know what else they were doing, but their kids were hanging out by themselves in the park after dark while they were doing it).
Or so I thought. This is where I was wrong, where my tendency to categorize led me astray. This is where I assumed, as new mothers are wont to do, that everyone ELSE had their you-know-what together and that I alone was the one with the…issues.
From where I stood on that little island of new motherhood, it seemed like all the other moms were on a clearly marked path. A path they had chosen carefully and after much research. A path with well-lit signs along the way to guide their decisions on everything from vaccinating to preschools. A path they followed confidently, while I wandered in circles trying to make sense of it all.
Here’s what I thought then: I needed to pick one of those labels I’d studied up on and join its movement, settle into its camp, make friends with its champions. I needed to find my path and stick to it - no matter what. Veering off course, taking an unexpected turn, or changing directions altogether would mean I was weak, or worse: hypocritical.
Here’s what I know now: I was already on my path. My perfectly imperfect mothering maze. And the wandering around I was doing? So was everybody else.