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10 Things "Good" Mothers Do

It seemed as though the moment I got pregnant, I started getting advice from everyone I knew. Sometimes it was legitimate, kind and useful, other times, not so much. And occasionally it hasn’t been advice as much as it has been a family member or friend telling me what I’m going to do with my child. I never really know how to reply to that because, uh, what if that’s not what I planned to do?

My grandmother asked me a few weeks ago if I would be breastfeeding the baby. I told her that yes, that was our plan and she replied, “well of course you will, you’re going to be a good mother.”

And in that moment it hit me why I was struggling to feel blessed with all the advice I was being given. It’s because it wasn’t all advice. Every time my mother in law tells me something it’s not a suggestion, it’s an “of course you’ll do” x, y or z. When friends of ours who subscribe to a particular parenting mindset suggest things, they do it with the caveat that if we consider any other method, our child will be a monster.

I realized that we’re not receiving advice as much as we’re receiving subtle parenting threats that we’re going to ruin our child unless we do things one certain way.

Now, at nearly 32 weeks pregnant, I think I’ve narrowed down the top 10 things that “good” mothers do, according to several of the parenting “experts” in my life. I also refer to this list as all the reasons why I am clearly not actually going to be a good mother.

(Before I go on, please know that I think all 10 of these things are wonderful, even if I decide not to do them.)


  • Breastfeed 1 of 10
    Breastfeed
    I have every intention of breastfeeding my son if my breasts will allow it. But I am also very aware of how difficult that can be and am not going to beat myself up if we can't do it for as long as I hope. In short, I'm planning on it, but I'm not married to the idea to the point that I'll risk my health or sanity for it. And though it's news to my grandmother, I hear that formula isn't the anti-christ and that some of the children who consume it are even happy and healthy. The horror.
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons
  • Don’t gain too much weight while pregnant 2 of 10
    Don't gain too much weight while pregnant
    I've actually decided that weighing myself is completely overrated at this point. While at first I was all about only gaining 25 pounds like my doctor wanted, now I'm more about eating relatively healthily, but also, enjoying my life because newsflash, my body is apparently more of the 35 pound camp than the 25 and I don't think those extra 10 pounds are going to be the difference between a healthy baby and an unhealthy one. And to prove my point, I'm going to go eat (another) mini Twix bar. Just so I can seal my bad mother fate.
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons
  • Prepare their own baby food 3 of 10
    Prepare their own baby food
    I'm undecided on whether this is something we'll do or not, but my MIL has already informed me that if I feed my child baby food from a jar, I may as well feed him cancer germs, or first create cancer germs and then feed them to him. I think that if you have time, desire and resources to make your own food, then it's absolutely great, but I also think that there are plenty of kids who are thriving on the apparently completely inadequate jarred food available today.
    Photo from Williams-Sonoma
  • Co-sleep/keep baby in the room 4 of 10
    Co-sleep/keep baby in the room
    I read a lot of posts on message boards and comments on blogs about how co-sleeping is the only way to truly bond with your child. I have no doubts that co-sleeping is truly awesome for some families, but I also know that I have very nearly killed both of our cats by rolling over them in the middle of the night and that there's no way I could safely sleep with my child in my bed. So I suppose we're now stuck with a lifetime of never bonding. Sigh.
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons
  • Skip the epidural 5 of 10
    Skip the epidural
    I am actually doing this one, but I am doing it BEGRUDGINGLY. Drugs are pretty. Pain relief is pretty. Natural childbirth appeals to me personally on pretty much no levels, but for my health, I am doing it anyway. So I guess I might be a "good" mom after all, I'll just become one totally against my will.
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons
  • Baby wearing 6 of 10
    Baby wearing
    Again, we might do this one, if it works for us. But much like co-sleeping, I've been told that the best way I could bond with my child and the ONLY way I'll ever get him to calm down during the day is if I have him against my body in a sling. Maybe if my mother-in-law texts my husband to suggest that we register for a sling one more time I'll register for one and suddenly become a better potential mother. Because the first 10 times she suggested it were clearly too subtle.
    Photo from Target.com
  • Stay home with their baby 7 of 10
    Stay home with their baby
    I finally finish my (very last) degree next month and I know this makes me a terrible mother and person, but I actually really want to make use of it. In addition, the student loans that are about to go into repayment make at least part time work an absolute necessity. Or I guess, only a necessity if I want to feed myself and my child, which incidentally does not appear to be a requirement of being a good mom. I think it is wonderful that some mothers can/want to stay home with their children full time and I am often jealous of that, but I know I somehow survived a childhood with working parents and I'm really hopeful my son will too.
    Photo from Morgue File
  • Take fancy maternity pictures 8 of 10
    Take fancy maternity pictures
    I've been told that I'm desperately going to want to be able to remember how I looked while pregnant and that if I don't get professional pictures before the baby I'm going to regret it forever. As someone who has yet to order a single one of her wedding photos in nearly 4 years of marriage, I'm just gonna say, doubt it. Plus, I have 8000 iPhone pictures to remember this pregnancy with, they are practically professional quality.
    Photo from my iPhone
  • Don’t complain about pregnancy 9 of 10
    Don't complain about pregnancy
    Good mothers answer the question "how are you feeling" with things like "wonderful" and "better than ever." The rest of us bad moms reply with, "enormous" or "exhausted" or "like my child may be using tools in my uterus to torture me all day long."
    Photo from Morgue File
  • Skip fast food when pregnant 10 of 10
    Skip fast food when pregnant
    Do I really even need to touch this one with a 10 foot pole? Yes, I've actually been told this. Yes, I still eat fast food. Because I hate my kid, obviously.
    Photo from Wikimedia Commons

So, while I sit here and eat my McDonald’s and Twix, and stock up on contaminated jarred baby food and plan ways to make sure my child sleeps as far away from me as possible and never bonds with us, why don’t you share some of the “good mother advice” you were given while pregnant?

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