I went to the library today with my son for their Story Time program as I usually do on Tuesdays. I was feeling a bit stir crazy, since we didn't get out yesterday, so we went to the 10am program. My playgroup buddies were missing in action, as both their babies were taking naps at unceremonious times. So I was there solo.
After the program, I was approached by a lovely woman carrying a six month old infant in an Ergo baby carrier.
"Excuse me?" she asked "Can you do me a favor? Can you help me fasten this?" She was referring to the back strap of the carrier. She was unable to reach the strap herself to click it together securely.
"No problem!" I said and I obliged.
"You know, I had actually had the same issue with the Ergo carrier myself, but I learned a trick." I told her."Pretend like you are fastening your bra strap together."
"Oh!" she replied with surprise. "I hadn't thought of that."
She tried my trick, and it worked. She was thrilled.
We got to talking, so I asked her out for coffee.
She told me about the issues she was facing with her son, starting solid foods, his unwillingness to nap etc. I commiserated with her on all of the things she was bringing up. Here was an intelligent competent woman just trying to do the right things for her son. I felt I was looking at myself just a few months ago.
It was really reassuring to know that I'm not crazy. That the issues that I was facing six months ago are common ones among mothers. That's what meeting this mom reminded me of.
Babies don't come with an instruction manual. As much as we would like to think that we know what's best for our kids, we are all (to some extent) flying blind. We can receive advice from many sources but ultimately, the way we raise our children is up to us as mothers.
I remember the day that I came home from the hospital with my boyfriend and our son. We got into the apartment. We put our baby in the crib. We looked and each other and thought
We had no idea what to do. But the point is, you figure it out. My son has survived one year with me stumbling through, trying different things, figuring it out.
And that is what I will continue to do. I have to remind myself that all I can do is try.