Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here's the thing about motherhood, it's uncharted waters. Sure there are tons of books, magazines, websites and blogs on parenting, but it's all just advice. There is no proven equation for perfect parenting. So as mothers, we're all just doing the best we can. So why are we our own worst enemy? As a mom, I am always second-guessing myself. I may seem confident, but internally I do wonder if I am doing everything I can to make sure Ben becomes the best he can be. There's a lot of self-pressure, guilt and worry - so do we need the judgement from other moms? I have found that other mothers can be the best and worst for advice. There can be a dash of judgement thrown in, especially when it comes to different styles of parenting. And believe me, I'm not excluding myself from this list (see previous comment re: the name Jacoby).

Last week I posted on Facebook that I had survived Ben's first dental appointment. Yes, my son is 13-months old and I took him to a pediatric dentist for a check-up and cleaning. This is something that I had done the research about during pregnancy, as one of my favorite former clients is a pediatric dentist with a great practice. He recommended that the baby should come when he has his first tooth and at minimum by 1-year. So, I was already feeling a bit guilty taking Ben in over 6 months after his first teeth. However, what I didn't expect was that people on Facebook would have a mini-debate about it and that when I would mention said debate to other moms at Gymboree they would chastise me too. I kept being told "Oh, my doctor said there was no need until the child is 3." And then, "Yes, yes, my doctor said that too. Besides the doctor checks them at the visits anyway. Why would a child need a cleaning at that age?"

So, while I was confident in my initial decision to go to the dentist and the visit went well. Afterwards I felt like a bit of an idiot. Did I do something wrong? And seriously, it's silly. My decision was mine and your decision is yours. Why should I now feel like a "bad" mom for doing something proactive about my son's dental health? I mean, baby teeth are tricky. How do you clean them properly? When should they start really brushing and using toothpaste? How can you be sure to avoid cavities as best possible? These are all questions that my pediatric dentist answered for me. As well as alerting me to the fact that Ben's first molars are popping through, and which teeth should come next. And let's not mention that it was fun for Ben to see the dentist's office and play with the tools. Sure, he didn't love the cleaning but it took 45 seconds and then we were done.

There's really no moral to this story, just a little thought - you do what works for you, and I'll do what works for me.

Sidenote: Check out Parenting Magazine's January article "Give us a Smile!" - it's all about your child's dental health. "Take your baby to the dentist by her first birthday" per the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Dental Association. Sure, let's judge each other less...but for a moment, vindication is mine. :)