She never breast fed, it was too hard, and I have personally seen her fill a tippy cup with Dr. Pepper.
And as our babies, almost identical in age, sit at our feet and play together we talk about the words they are picking up, and the faces that they make. We talk about the flu's they've caught and the falls they've suffered, and the valley of darkness called teething. We talk about how love catches you by surprise, how it turns your life upside-down. We talk about what we want to teach our children.
And I tell her that she's an amazing mother. That she is doing a really good job.
I don't say it because its a nice thing to say, because I am trying to be supportive, because she's barely turned 17.
I say it because it's the damned truth. It's the swearing-in-the-middle-of-Lent fucking truth.
I know she's heard 1,000 If-you-loved-your-baby-you-would's. You would breastfeed, you would co-sleep, you would leave those pierced ears alone, you would, you would, you would... I've head them too. I've been berated for delaying immunizations until I could throw something, and then 2 hours later berated for giving them at all until I could cry. I've been told I should this and I should that, and I've had days that I would give anything and do anything just to have someone tell me I was doing a good job. That I was a good mom.
Do you know how hard this is? All these choices?
The sad part is that the only people that really do, other mothers and other parents, are the ones that beat us down the most. That tell us what we'd do if only we loved our kids.
No, not everything she does is the "best" thing. Maybe not even the "right" thing- whatever that means. But I'm not doing every "best" thing ever. Neither are you.
We're all doing the "best we can" thing.
And let's take a moment and honor each other for it.
So, I say to all the mothers reading this: Good job. Truly. You are doing the best you can. I know you stay up at night worrying about the things you can't, the things you don't know, and the things that you won't. But I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't. You're an amazing mom.