So, I went to dinner last night and immediately found myself mom-shaming MYSELF. To the point where I almost didn’t give Emma her dinner because I was SOOOO concerned that the mama behind me would think what a bad mom I am. (Types the woman who was about to not feed her child due to her own shame and guilt.)
This mama’s baby was older than Emma by about a year, but she was eating like a champ. I shakily pulled out Emma’s purée pouch. I felt my body tensing as I knew the woman behind me was watching me because her daughter was very excited to see another baby and I could hear them talking about how good Emma was behaving.
I searched my diaper bag for Emma’s bib (dirty and not able to be used) and her burp cloth (no where to be found) and had to tie a loose swaddle blanket I keep in the bag for colder weather around her neck. I had to wet my napkin to clean up.
As I was spoon-feeding Emma her purées I thought, man, this mom behind me knows how old she is and is probably judging the crap out of me for still spoon-feeding my 8 month old and not giving her pieces of my quesadilla. She is probably judging the blanket I have on my daughter as a bib. She must be judging my daughter spitting out all of her purees because I’m a bad mom and I don’t know how to teach my sweet precious baby how to eat.
Then as I looked at Emma opening her mouth for another bite, I almost cried. Slapping her hands on the table because she loves her Spinach-Banana-Squash puree mix so much. Smacking her lips because she wants more. Laughing like crazy anytime I said the word “eat”. Looking super cute with a fake bib tied around her with puree all around her face.
I realized the only mom that was shaming me was me.
Even if the woman behind me was judging, she couldn’t possible know my story. She couldn’t know if my baby had a feeding issue, or if I chose to not do BLW, or if I was so scared of choking that I couldn’t bring myself to do it (yet.) She couldn’t know if her doctor recommended purees for a little while longer or if my kid just preferred purees to other foods. She couldn’t know if Emma had already had real, solid food that morning and we were doing purees for dinner. She couldn’t know how stressful my week was and that I had just emptied my diaper bag and forgot to put the essential items back in. She couldn’t know that it was a spur-of-the-moment restaurant visit. She couldn’t know that Emma has only been to three restaurants because of the Pandemic and that I’m a #PandemicParent learning how to be a new mom. She just couldn’t know.
What she could know, what I do know, is that the baby in front of her, the baby smacking and laughing and banging her hands, is the happiest, healthiest, safest baby in that moment because her mama was feeding her and taking care of her.
My baby doesn’t see those “mistakes” I felt like I was making. My baby sees that she’s taken care of. My baby sees that she is loved.
And isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t that what makes a good mom? Yes, I’m a mess. As my friend Liz put it, “Hot Mess Mama.” But man, I’m my baby girl’s hot mess mama and for her, that’s enough. And for me, that’s enough. I’m enough.