The journey of being a mom has not always been easy. Even though my daughter is only four it feels like she has been on this planet for a lot longer and each new season has been filled with challenges. From my child throwing up, pooping and peeing at the same time to potty training and the terrible twos to the epic tantrums my daughter now throws, none of these things have been as challenging as letting go of what other people think about me and the decisions I have made when it comes to my motherhood.
You see, my husband and I have made the choice to have one child. And since there is such a stigma against couples having only one child my husband and I have encountered many opinions. My mom who wants another grandchild has an opinion that having one child is bad because then she doesn’t get another grandchild. My cousin who said my daughter needs a sibling at a recent family get-together has an opinion that my daughter won’t be fulfilled unless she has a sibling. The random coworker of my husband, who said my daughter will be unaware because her husband was an only child and he was unaware. Essentially saying that anyone who is an only child is unaware – which I don’t know about you but my husband is not an only child and he is definitely unaware sometimes. Heck, I would say I am unaware sometimes too. It’s part of being a human.
Most people have an opinion when I tell them we are going to have one child and normally it is not a good one. Whether it be “oh, she is going to be selfish,” or “She is going to be so introverted” or my personal favourite because it is so untrue since my daughter shares better than most children “She isn’t going to know how to share.” We have been so conditioned by society that having one child (or no children) is a bad thing. I even thought that two was better than one because my husband and I started trying for kid #2 when my daughter was a little over the age of one. We tried for a few months before I asked myself deep down what I really wanted. I realized having a second child was not what I wanted and I was just going along with what everyone else was doing. So we stopped trying and I went back on birth control. I haven’t looked back either.
I love being a family of three. But just because I accepted my family doesn’t mean other people have. Like I said above, people have their judgments. Whether voiced or not it has not been easy to let go of what other people think of me as a mom and what people think of my daughter being an only child because I am a mama bear when it comes to my child. If someone says something bad about her I tend to get defensive. I would love to argue with every single person that thinks having one child is bad but the thing is it would be a waste of energy because people are going to think whatever they want.
That’s the piece I have had to let go of though. I can’t change anyone else’s opinion of me or my child. I can only live my life and let others live theirs. As I write this it sounds easy but from experience letting go of what other people think of me and my daughter has been hard. It has been hard to just be okay with other people saying bad things about me or not approving of my choices. It has been hard letting go of people saying my daughter will be selfish or introverted. But other people’s opinions don’t have to matter in my life
unless I let them. And the thing is If I let others opinions rule me I actually turn up as a worse mom because I am harder on my daughter expecting her to show all these people how well behaved she is. When I let all the other opinions go besides my own, that is where the magic happens. That is when I allow my daughter to show up as herself and also show up as the best mom I can be.
So how have I let it all go? Three things. I have learned to love myself. I have learned to love my family. I have learned to be fearless in my opinion and stance on how having one kid is right for me. This has not come easy. It has taken a large amount of hours working on myself. It has taken many life coaching sessions and hours upon hours of meditation to really come to know and love the true Amanda – not the false Amanda that considered having multiple kids even though she only wanted one. Or the Amanda that people pleased by being kind when people were calling her daughter selfish or unaware. That Amanda is now thankfully long gone and the Amanda that loves herself and her family is here to stay.
I can confidently say the work of letting go of what other people think has changed my life. It has changed how I interact with people – both people I know and who are also complete strangers. It has allowed me to open up and just come from love for anyone and everyone. It has taught me how to love both myself and others harder and deeper, how to stop yelling at my daughter, and how to show up for my life in a way I am actually living it, not just going through the motions. If someone decides to have zero children that is up to them. If someone decides to have ten children that is up to them.
I have learned that having children doesn’t make anyone any better or worse than anyone else. Everyone is human. Everyone has bad times and good times. But the thing I know most is that we are all 100% worthy. We are all worthy of the love we could have for ourselves if we just set aside all the judgment we have for ourselves and others. If we just stopped worrying about all the things we think other people are thinking about us (most of the time they aren’t thinking about you anyways) and just love ourselves for all our quirks and
things that make us, us, then magic would happen. Because love feels so freaking good. And there can never be enough love in this world.
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