I find it ironic that in multiple arenas you’re required to have training and then be licensed, certified, or degreed to perform a role. Driver’s education and licensing is required to operate a motor vehicle. Physicians are required to attend extensive schooling and on the job training before obtaining their status of Medical Doctor. Even the workers at your neighborhood Jiffy Lube are required to attend training and obtain certifications to change your car’s oil. I’m sure you can see my concern when I’m allowed to bring innocent beings into this world with no training and no credentials to ensure I will be a good parent. It’s a frightening thought!
When my first child was born I prepared for parenthood by reading every book recommended. I searched endlessly online and left no question unanswered. All of my preparation fell out the window once I brought my baby home. Bedtime, bath time, feeding, naps, I questioned it all. As my mother reminded me, “babies don’t come with instruction manuals.” Boy was she right! As my daughter aged and progressed I felt successful as her mother. There are days when she obsessively wipes down her table and I realize the clean freak in me is rubbing off on her. When she tells her dad she can’t clean up her toys because she has a headache I cringe knowing she has heard that from me.
After the birth of my second child I realized how neurotic I was with my first born. Everything had to be done perfectly, on an exact schedule, and everything had to be done my way. Baby number two is so laid back. He goes with the flow. I’d like to say he’s a better baby but the truth is, I’m a better mother. Am I a parenting expert? By no means, no. But I find that having two children does make you an expert to some. Daily I message my friends on facebook with answers or advice about breastfeeding, sleeping, teething, childcare, etc. It makes me feel good to be a resource for other mothers.
My gauge on being a top performing mother is my children. My children are happy, healthy, thriving beings and that’s the best indicator I can find. I’ll admit, it’s always nice to hear, “you’re a good mother,” or “you’re doing a good job.” Everyone likes a pat on the back.
Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resources and is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.