On any given day, you can catch me freaking out about something, often under the judgmental eyes of teachers, strangers, and my own inner shade. I’m always searching for the “right” way to do things, because if I don’t, then of course my child is doomed.
To what? I have no idea.
Recently I had the chance to talk to Dr. Tanya Altmann — a working mom, UCLA-trained pediatrician, and American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson — about finding healthier perspectives when it comes to raising our kids so moms can blessedly chill just a little bit.
Here’s six common triggers for mom freakouts:
1. When Your Child Is the Pickiest of Eaters
My preschooler eats the same thing all the time, and I stress about it. Dr. Tanya is reassuring: “As long as your child is getting appropriate nutrition to grow and develop, it’s often okay if they want to eat the same things over and over again.” “My job,” Dr. Tanya says, “is to offer healthy options but not to enter into a battle I’ll never win because our kids get to choose what to eat and when. My advice is to offer one food you know they like with another healthy choice and let them choose what to eat.” My daughter loves to drink milk — which is full of protein, calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and other important nutrients — so I make it available with every meal. By drinking one more glass of milk a day, I can relax knowing my daughter isn’t falling short in what she needs for a healthy body with strong bones.
2. When Your Child Isn’t a Prodigy at School
The pressure to be exceptional at school is real, from reading on grade-level to entering advanced placement classes for college admissions. But that pressure doesn’t have to come from you. So what if they’re abysmal at math — then your child won’t become an architect or engineer. Encourage your child’s strengths and know that being a really great person who uses a calculator gets you somewhere in life too.
3. When You’re Flooded With Parenting “Advice”
If you’re breathing, then you know how difficult it is to find solid advice on the internet. Opinions and beliefs are often masked as facts and wading through the difference at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday — when you probably can’t even spell your name correctly — is maddening. Dr. Tanya knows this struggle: “It can be overwhelming with so many different opinions coming at you, and you often can’t tell what’s true and what’s just fake news. I tell parents to choose reliable, reputable sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics parenting site, HealthyChildren.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have questions, ask your own pediatrician and always trust your gut instinct as a parent.”
4. When Taking Away Screens Is Really a Punishment for You
Who hasn’t given their kids an unrealistic ultimatum like “no screens for a week if you don’t clean up your toys” and then turned around two hours later and taken it back? The reasoning? It’s really a punishment for us and there’s no way we can stick to it. Should we limit screen time? Absolutely. But many of us need many minutes a day to feel like an adult human instead of a 24/7 role model to tiny humans. However you achieve that balance, go right ahead. Just remember that punishments shouldn’t really punish you too.
5. When Your Child Is Snack-Obsessed
I’m not entirely sure what my kids love more: me or snacks. They’d follow any snack to the end of the earth and me maaaybe to the driveway. When my oldest comes in from school, he’s like a tornado engulfing anything that’s nearby and edible. In an effort to tame their hangry and give myself about three seconds of peace about their choices, I’ve started offering more milk. I put yogurt in their lunch bags and pour a glass while they snack after school, and in this way I’m helping my older kids make healthier choices in a way I can’t with my picky-eating preschooler.
6. When Perfection Is Something You’re Trying to Attain
You know what really takes the edge off? Realizing that the perfect mother doesn’t exist. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you’ll never get to perfect. As Dr. Tanya points out, “Your child will remember the overall love, attention, and experiences you provide, not the one day where you missed the playdate or dropped the popsicle. Just spend time with your child every day playing, reading, and loving them, and it will all work out in the long run.”
Honestly, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. It will all work out, so let those freakouts go.
Milk Life is a multifaceted campaign highlighting the important role milk plays in helping families reach their full potential. As the top food source of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium in Americans’ diets, and a simple and affordable source of protein, milk matters for both kids and adults at mealtime. Milk Life means wringing every last drop out of every single moment.
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