Do Moms Get Do-Overs?


By Mich Lagdameo

Having a one-year old daughter means having a year’s worth of time to think. I once read somewhere that it isn’t the baby that deprives a mother of sleep, it’s the constant worrying and thinking about her child. And in my case, it’s true—late-night nursing, with the lights down low and the house still, my thoughts race as quickly and as constantly as my little girl’s thudding heart beat. A common thought often dominates many a night of introspection: Could I have done better?

Should my baby have eaten more, or better today? Surely there was a healthier option than those French fries and chicken nuggets we hastily bought when we realized it was past lunch time. How many days can she go without drinking her vitamins? I forgot again today. How could I have avoided her slipping on the living room rug; shouldn’t I have read her more books instead of indulging her another thirty minutes of Doc McStuffins; how can I avoid her having a meltdown when I leave her at her grandma’s house—the should haves, would haves, could haves go on and on.

It starts at pregnancy, I believe, the constant state of thinking what could have been done better in order to have what we feel would have been best. I should’ve exercised more and watched my diet—maybe I could have avoided that emergency C-section. Could I have tried harder introducing the bottle, and pumping more milk? What should I have done so she would ride in the car seat without screaming after two minutes of being strapped in? The comparisons to celebrity moms and babies, the humble brags of fellow moms on social media, and the endless stream of information sleep-deprived mom brains are subjected to simply add fuel to this constant state of overthinking. We often pay lip service to the uniqueness of every mom’s journey, yet we also spend way too much time comparing ourselves (and our babies) to others, and trying to conform to accepted standards (breastfeeding, baby wearing, vaccination—the list goes on and boggles the mind; no wonder we don’t get any sleep!)

It’s been a year of thinking of do-overs, of what I could have done better. But then it hits me—it’s been a year. A year of watching this tiny newborn, who would only drink milk from mama, who cried in the car seat and stroller, who curled up and nestled against me inside her much-loved baby carrier, who would get a cold and diarrhea like clockwork every time she cut a tooth, grow into this beautiful baby girl—one who seemingly has a stomach of steel and can (and will) eat anything, who is now toddling around, flipping through her books and swaying along to Sesame Street. A little girl who, by the grace of a higher power, is not only alive, but more than well.

A year of nurturing this tiny human, who thrived despite our parenting hits and misses. A year of somehow not realizing she was fine, more than fine, despite my perceived shortcomings and steep learning curve. It isn’t about being a lax mother, but I’m pretty sure we could afford to cut ourselves some slack. After all, everyone will be quick to point out where we lack in the mothering department, and its up to us to cheer ourselves on and stick to the decisions we’ve made. I spend too much time in guilt, thinking that I was shortchanging her and thinking of what I could do over, when in fact everything I’ve done day in and day out, 365 times, has brought us here—late night nursing, with the lights down low, her sleeping soundly and me silently realizing that there was nothing I could’ve done better. Because more than always doing and being the best, it’s about doing what I can, and that’s what my daughter needs—her mother’s genuine efforts and not her guilt. It’s time to stop thinking about where I went wrong, and focusing on what I do right. And with that, I think I’ll sleep a little more soundly tonight.


Mich Lagdameo is a mom to a precocious 1-year-old. She is a writer and editor by trade and calling, and she lives for books, leisurely grocery trips, cups of good coffee, long drives with her husband, and the Food Network. Her days are punctuated by the sound of her computer keys and her daughter banging into things.


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