When my dog had puppies she thought they were toys. She would play roughly. She would ignore them. She would walk away when they tried to eat. Or she would sit on them. She was a horrible, neglectful mother to those poor, sweet puppies.
You, on the other hand, are not a bad mom.
Frequently I hear women cry out for affirmation that they are not a bad mother. They worry they are being judged. Well, yes you are. So is every single mother in existence. Someone thinks you are bad. But it is ultimately not you but your action or choice that is bad to them. Bad is in the perceiver. It isn't a title, like Mister or Miss. Because there are just too many options and never the ability to be perfect in everyone's eyes.
So, just let it go, right?
From experience I know it is difficult to avoid feeling lacking or faulty in this opinionated world. Cry-it-out or co-sleep? Strict diet or let them choose? Make them follow your routine or let them dictate yours? Push academics or play? Spank or never discipline? Do it for them or make them do it? Save for college or invest in experiences? Consequences or mercy? Somewhere in the middle of each of these parenting spectrums? Or, bounced all over the place from one day to the next. (Oh, indecisive me!)
Is my child going to benefit from my choices or be weakened by them? Am I expanding or—gasp!—limiting my child's future? Why are there so many grey areas? (Don't see the grey? Well, you may see something as unquestionably black or white, but someone else may undoubtably, with facts, see the very opposite.)
It isn't a cookie-cutter world. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Your child will be able to deal with a situation that another would find unbearable. They might be able help someone in a moment in which another would be clueless or uncomfortable. Your parenting will repel them from some ideas and pull them firmly to others. All so that they can serve their individual purpose.
Maybe after some counseling. But still, they will be unique.
My child won't complain about the weather because she's gone swimming in a cold lake in the chilly rain or jumping in puddles fully clothed. She won't be startled by loud noises because of her rambunctious dogs and her handy-man dad. But she might have trouble sleeping because her parents baby her too much. She might be out of the loop with things like Disney characters and packaged treats. So be it. This is her life.
You are a human being subject to the experiences of your own childhood. Affected by the limits of your mental, physical, and emotional strength. Swayed by the influences of your peers, the media, and your chosen health care professionals. Limited by your own personal time and resources.
None of that is an excuse to live out of your weaknesses. You can't accept something like harshness when you know it's wrong simply because it is what you experienced. You can't completely ignore expanding knowledge on matters of health. You have to be willing to grow. But, you have to do if for you and your child. For your present sanity as well as their future well being.
Not because someone told you to. Not to be better than so-and-so. Not to impress an old friend. Not to prove something to your parents. Not to win your Facebook crowd. Not to make up for a past lack. Not to avoid being wrong. Not to give in to pressure.Not to follow a trend. Not to gain the Pinterest trophy.
Only you know the convoluted internal cogitations that lead to your public conduct. You know what you chose to look into and chose to ignore. You know your true priorities and goals. You know your compromises with others and your improvements within yourself. Others can only assume all of this based on how they see your actions filtered through their own faulty package.
Take what you know. Test what has been passed on to you. Be open to new information. Be patient with yourself. Be honest with yourself. Forgive yourself. Take responsibility for your life and your future. Take it one step at a time.
You are forever a mom. A mom who makes mistakes. A mom with an exclusive identity.
Not an immature canine who at too young of an age had puppies. Don't bite or play too rough. Don't walk the other way when they need you. Don't ignore their hunger. Don't suffocate them.
Just be the best mom YOU can be.