Maggie Moore, first time mother to a perfect baby girl, gives us an informed and honest insight on her Mommy Milestone Meltdown
When December rolls around we all undoubtedly start seeing posts pop up encouraging us to pick a “word” to define our upcoming year. I have seen people choose everything from acceptance to spontaneity. These words, similar to resolutions, are meant to be a driving force for the next 365 days; for many, they ultimately become a focus.
I longed for my word in 2021 to be present; as a first time mom, the dream was to soak in those fleeting newborn sounds and snuggles. At the beginning it was easy. All she was supposed to do was eat, sleep, and poop. Check, check, check! But weeks pass in warp speed when you have a brand new baby. Soon she “needed” to be doing more. And quickly my word of the year shifted to milestone.
My anxiety increased – every trip to the doctor meant a lengthy Q&A session. And I knew that my answers weren’t always going to be what the doctor wanted to hear.
2 month visit milestone: “Is she smiling?”
4 month visit milestone: “Can she push up to elbows in tummy time?”
6 month visit milestone: “Can she roll over both back to tummy and tummy to back?”
9 month visit milestone: “Is she crawling?”
12 month visit milestone: “Does she say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’?”
After one of our appointments, in which our pediatrician suggested physical therapy, I fell apart. It never even crossed my mind that she was failing by not checking off all the boxes; no, it was me … I was failing my sweet girl. As parents, especially moms, we bear a huge responsibility to help our children thrive. We nourish them, encourage them, teach them – we are their safe place. This meant my meltdown, over my perceived failure, couldn’t last.
She started PT in October ’21 and we still attend weekly sessions. My hope is that as she grows, she shines as bright as she was meant to – not that she meets the requirements listed out on a sheet of paper. And my job, as her mom, is to do whatever I can to help her light radiate.
If you’re in the midst of a mommy milestone meltdown yourself, know you aren’t alone. As I shared the weight of my struggle with friends, often I found them in the same boat, battling the feeling of inadequacy silently, as I had been. I encourage you to confide in the women who walk alongside you in your motherhood journey. Also, take a moment to look into our fantastic local resources: Compleo Waco, Elite Therapy Center, and Hope and Believe Pediatric Therapy – along with many others. While social media is filled with endless accounts providing insight on how to increase your child’s word count or how to go from army crawling to crawling on hands and knees, there is nothing quite like an in-person evaluation.
My word for 2022 may turn out to be meltdown. After all, I have a 1 year old who is strong-willed and challenging me at every turn. But instead of running from it, I’m embracing it. I’m taking every chance I can to feel it all – the good and bad of motherhood – and comfort my girl when she needs mama the most. Remember, raising littles is bound to result in a meltdown now and again. So hold your head high, mama – I sure am.
Love y’all BIG.
*** The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both provide extensive lists of milestones for children based on their age range. These sites also guide you through the process to determine if your child has a delay in a particular area and how you can go about getting help via your pediatrician or another resource. ***