As a parent, you are going to mess up a lot! We strive to teach our children that they will make mistakes from time to time and what matters most is how they handle these situations. Are they able to problem solve, think with empathy, and move on without dwelling on their errors for an extraordinary length of time? So why must we, as parents, hold ourselves to such a high standard that screwing up doesn’t seem like an option?!
Parenting is hard. Let me say that again: PARENTING IS HARD! I highly doubt that you will ever encounter a parent who would say they have never made an error in judgment. If they claim to be perfect, please be wary, as they are also likely to be a compulsive liar. I, for one, will never claim to be a ‘perfect parent.’
Here are some of my finer parenting mistakes (at least the ones that I’m willing to publicly admit)…
My Not-So-Perfect Moments as a Mom of Twins
#1 – Mixing up my babies
You would think this is just an issue for parents of identical twins, but I think this is simply a ‘parenting more than one child’ issue. You will mix up your children, but especially your twins. I continue to mix up my identical twin boys daily and they are 18 months old. In the hospital, we often looked to the nurses to help us tell them apart, especially when we accidentally took off their ‘A’ and ‘B’ labeled hats. Luckily, when we went home, they were still wearing their hospital ID bracelets, which was very helpful until the boys were about 5 weeks old, when they started cutting off circulation. From there, those early days were a toss up. We would keep track of how we dressed each boy and spent hours looking for their differences. However, simply questioning ‘who is who’ was not our only mix-up. There were times I also mixed up diaper changes, bottle amounts, nursing times, etc. Once your babies are growing steadily, these mix ups will happen far less frequently.
#2 – Feeling Completely Overwhelmed Instead of Excited
My twins are my first (and second) babies. I assumed that I would feel completely in love with them from the second I delivered. While I did love them, I was completely overwhelmed by the two humans I had just brought into this world. All of the fears about raising two children at the same time hit me like a ton of bricks that first night in the hospital. When I think back on this part of the experience, I regret it immensely. However, in talking with many parents (new and experienced), I can safely say that nearly every parent has had those feelings of being overwhelmed by their new situation. For me, this period of time was very short lived and by the time we were going home I felt completely enamored with the twins.
#3- The Nursing Situation
“Breast is best” is the mantra you will hear up and down, forwards and backwards, from other moms and medical professionals. What people forget to mention is that feeding your baby doesn’t always happen in these steps:
- Have baby (or babies in our case)
- Milk comes in within a few days
- Baby eats the milk you provide from your body for the foreseeable future.
My steps looked something like this:
- Have babies 4 weeks early.
- Bring babies to breastfeed every 2-3 hours around the clock.
- Pump in between to try to establish milk supply.
- Get frustrated when milk doesn’t come in.
- Invest in new water bottle, buy every lactation cookie you can find, and power pump around the clock.
- Give up when your boys reach 2 months because this is not a sustainable lifestyle.
- Feel guilty for months because you were not able to provide breastmilk for your children.
- Realize that you love your kids and by spending stress-free time with them you have become a much better mom.
- Let go of the guilt associated with this whole process and realize that your children are, and will continue to be, wonderful!
Do you see what I did there? Breastfeeding did not work for me. I was guilty about that for months. However, when I look back now, I made the best choice for my family due to the given situation. For that, I have no regrets.
#4 – Getting the right “stuff”
Figuring out what to register for could be its very own laundry list of items I did incorrectly. I did all the research and had the “must-haves” covered, but I had no idea what questions to ask anyone giving me advice. For instance, we initially had our boys sleep together in our Playard Bassinet. However, I didn’t realize at the time that the bassinet has a 15 pound weight limit. Although my babies were quite small at birth (~5lbs), two 5lb babies become two 7.5lb babies quite quickly. Fast forward 2 years since I registered and this is exactly why I now work as a Registry Consultant for Gugu Guru (shameless plug!)
#5 – Allowing Them to Have Disappointments
This one may be controversial. As an early childhood educator, I have taught my fair share of children over the past 10 years. Every parent I have encountered strives to do what’s best for their child(ren). Occasionally, this will lead to giving their kids everything they need, want, and then some. I strongly believe that in order to create well-rounded members of society, we must teach our children how to accept and cope with disappointment. Right now, in the thick of toddlerhood, it leads to occasional temper tantrums and down the road I am prepared for whiny moments and arguments. However, using these as teachable moments will help me adequately prepare my little maniacs for the world around us.
Looking back, are these 5 examples the only things I’ve done wrong in my 18 months as a parent? HA! Not even close. At the end of the day, what really matters is the memories we make, the love we share, and the fact that all of these situations will lead to great wedding stories one day.
Abby Ludwig is a work-from-home mom (Baby Registry Consultant with Gugu Guru) to twin boys who lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband. She has quickly mastered running every appliance in the house to try and make sure everyone is fed, clothed, and clean. As a former Kindergarten teacher, she loves to keep things organized and has recently found how cathartic it can be to fold teeny tiny laundry into nice neat piles. While everything may look nice on the outside, Abby promises she’s really a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ kind of mom who loves her little men something fierce!