Before I became a mom, I thought that that’s all that I would be. Mom. It never dawned on me that, from the moment I conceived my child, the world would be asking me what kind of mom I would be. From the (often unsolicited) advice I received to the articles in my newsfeed to the over abundance of parenting apps to the very medical practitioners I did or didn’t pick. Each decision I made would be judged to determine the appropriate label. My mommyness would be measured in terms of which label seemed to fit. And always, the same question would be asked: Will I measure up?
I have come to the conclusion that, no, I do not. I am simply not enough.
I am not crunchy enough to be a crunchy mom. Our house is filled with baby Tylenol, disposable diapers and prepackaged baby food. Despite the organic food that I serve, the cases of coconut oil I’ve slathered on my baby’s bottom, and the dye-free, perfume-free, diapers that I purchase, I’m just not a granola mommy.
I am not vigilant enough to be a helicopter parent. My son picks himself up when he falls. He plays on his own, sometimes out of my sight. Though my daycare provides a daily curriculum, I rarely read it. I’ve baby-proofed my house to ensure his safety, to the best of my ability. We chose his daycare based on the general philosophies practiced at the facility. Once the environment has passed my “baby’s best well-being” test, I step back and allow him independence. No more hovering here.
I am not attached enough to be an attachment parent. I bottle fed my son. I could never tell the difference between his cries. Elimination communication? That’s when I smell it, so I change it. Right? This baby-wearing, co-sleeping, skin-to-skin loving mama just needs her own space every once in a while.
I am not strict enough to be a tiger mom. My time with my boy is filled with love and cuddles. I shun the push for early education, and encourage play, exploration, and curiosity. All while holding him to age-appropriate and ability-driven standards, which include helping with chores, completing tasks that he is capable of completing without my help and learning at every opportunity. Still, this isn’t enough for true tiger.
I am not laid back enough for RIE parenting. My son has had play mats and jumperoos and walkers. We play together, and often, I find myself quizzing him on what he can say and do. Still, I find myself communicating with him in my natural voice, avoiding baby talk as I show him respect by including him in everything we do. No RIE training for our family.
I am not enough. I don’t make the grade. I can’t measure up.
Because, I’m a little bit of each. I am all of these labels and none of these labels.
I am mom. Just mom. And that is enough.