Hi, I am Nataly and I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!
I write the daily Work It, Mom! Blog where I talk about issues affecting working moms, goings on in our Work It, Mom! community, new site features, updates,and contests. I also share my own juggle between work and family and love to see members jump in with comments. Come and visit often!
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I was inspired to write this post after reading this GREAT article by Julie Wainwright, titled Five Life-Changing Mistakes and How I Moved On. It’s an article everyone who has ever failed at something should read.
I don’t think we talk about our mistakes, failures, messups nearly enough — not as moms, not as career women, not as entrepreneurs. I am truly guilty of this because many people I know think I’ve got it all figured out. (Ha!) And while I’ve gotten better at sharing just how imperfect my life really is — and have found out how great it feels to find out that I am definitely not alone in that — I think we can all benefit from sharing our mistakes more often. For me, the best thing about sharing my mistakes is realizing that none of them are the end of the world.
So I thought I’d share some mistakes I’ve made as a mom, and then in other posts, mistakes I’ve made in my career and as an entrepreneur. You know, pretending that you guys care to read this stuff.
#1 I drove myself crazy trying to get my daughter to 6 months on only breastmilk
I had a tough time breastfeeding from day one. My daughter would not latch on well, she wouldn’t stop crying long enough to feed, she had some reflux, etc. It wasn’t fun, but for the first 3 months while I stayed home on maternity leave, we managed. Then I went to work and had to pump - my milk supply dropped dramatically and no matter what I did (eat tons of oatmeal, drink tea with condensed milk, drink special tea, dark beer, you name it) I couldn’t help it. My daughter also got used to the bottle and refused to breastfeed.
By month 5 it was taking me 45 minutes of pumping to get a few ounces so I’d do this 5 times a day. It caused endless issues at work, where I’d have to skip meetings to do it, and I was in pain. My husband, our pediatrician, my OB, and my mom all told me that it was OK to give my daughter some formula, but I was stubborn about the 6 month deadline which I arbitrarily made up for myself.
We did make it to 6 months, by which point I had almost no milk, and I felt proud of that, but in retrospect, I tortured myself and my poor husband for those few months without a good reason. Breastmilk is great for babies but so is mom’s sanity, which I completely gave up for that period of time.
#2 I kept a nanny for much longer that she should have stayed with us
The second nanny our daughter had was great when she started but I started to notice that she was less involved and less active with our daughter after about 9 months. I had a strong instinct that we needed to make a change — our daughter was becoming much more active at two years old and needed someone who didn’t mind running around and interacting with her a lot. But I didn’t listen to my own inner voice and the nanny stayed with us for longer than she should have.
I know that this has no long-term repercussions for our daughter but I felt like a failure. It was my responsibility to ensure top-notch care for my daughter while I was at work and I failed to do it. (The good news is that the next nanny we had was the best. nanny. ever.)
#3 I was a scheduling sanctimommy for the first three years of our daughter’s life
Breakfast is at 7:30, no later. Nap time is not to be interfered with (and since my daughter would only sleep in her crib, this meant that we ran home mid-day to make it happen, even on weekends.) We go outside in the afternoon regardless of the weather. Bed time is 7pm, no questions asked.
Believe me, I had really great excuses for being so firm with the schedule. My daughter was a very tough infant who would not sleep or eat well, and we found that sticking to a schedule helped her and us. But c’mon, I could totally chill out after her first year but I didn’t. I’m better now, but looking back, I annoyed a lot of people and made life unnecessarily stringent for everyone.
#4 I felt too guilty to take time for myself and was an annoying, snappy stress-ball
This is a mistake in progress. I still do this, although I am a tiny bit better. I did not leave my daughter’s side, except to go to the doctor, for the first 3 months of her life. My husband and I did not go out without her for the first 9 months, and not for lack of great babysitting. I thought I was being a great mom doing this but in fact, I was being an annoying mom and a terrible wife. I was so stressed out from never having a break that I was quite unpleasant to be around.
I am working on this, really. I now go to get a manicure and pedicure and actually stay long enough to dry the nail polish (yes, this is an achievement). I try to make time to go out with my husband at least a few times a month, even if it’s for a quick coffee on a weekend morning, while my parents are with our daughter. When I need some breathing room and I am alone with her I ask her to please play quietly in her room and don’t feel like a horrible mom (well, most of the time I don’t.) Like I said, I am working on it.
This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but I thought I’d get it out there. Have you made mistakes as a mom? Please share in the comments!
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