Moms, we need to talk. Come sit and put your feet up, because I know, as a new mom, you could use a minute or two to relax. Let me hold the baby, too; you look like you might be a little touched out. Now, I'm not sorry to tell you, to your face and unequivocally, that you need to stop apologizing. Because you do that a lot, and it's so completely unnecessary. In fact, I'm going to give you a whole list of things moms can officially stop apologizing for. If I make it a rule, perhaps, you'll take it to heart.
Look, real talk: you're not doing anything wrong. The constant apologizing isn't a failing of yours in the slightest. Oh no, it's society that has failed you by tricking you into thinking that you're required to justify your entire existence, one decision at a damn time. (And OMG there are so many decisions to make as a parent!) And remember, when it comes to this whole parenting thing there are no "right" answers. There's no winning, either, but the extreme pressure I know we all feel is definitely telling you that there is winning and it's a zero-sum game.
I probably don't have to tell you that the aforementioned is true of women in general, whether or not they have kids. Hell, we've all felt this extreme pressure to be picture perfect at various stages in our lives. But moms have their own unique set of issues they're made to feel like they have to apologize for. (Pssst: you don't!) So, and I say this with all the love in the world: knock it off. You don't need to apologize for the following... ever again.
However The Hell You Got Your Baby
Did you give birth via C-section? In a kiddie pool in your living room? Did you use a surrogate? An epidural? Did you adopt? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, great news: you have nothing to apologize for. You don't even have to explain yourself. It's all good, because there's no "right way" to welcome a baby into your life. Unless you turned to human traffickers and stole a child, you have nothing to apologize for. (And if you did, OMG, please turn yourself in.)
However The Hell You're Feeding Your Baby
Wait a second are you.. breastfeeding? In public?! Uncovered?!
Is that... a bottle I see?
Ummm... you're pumping?
Cool, cool, and cool! These are all scientifically-proven excellent ways to nourish a growing child. Well done!
Not Wanting Company Just Yet
If someone wants to come over to see you and your little one and you're just not up for it, you're more than allowed to let them know that while you're excited to hang out with them, you're just not up for it yet. No apologies required. No, really. Not only do you have to honor your own boundaries, but the people wanting to visit (hopefully) love you and will understand that you have limits. And if they don't, well, that's their problem and not one you have to apologize for.
Not Losing "The Baby Weight"
You owe absolutely no one a particular kind of body/weight/muscle tone. Not your partner. Not your family. Not your wardrobe. Certainly not random strangers you pass on the street. You are not unworthy of love or respect based on your size, weight, or appearance.
A Messy House
Girl, something's gotta give in this roller coaster ride of parenthood and, honestly, the placement of inanimate objects is the safest bet.
Leaving Work On Time
Leaving on time is not (or should not be considered) an act of rebellion. That daycare closes at [X]. You have [Y] minutes to get there. You need to leave. That's it. Or, hell: you just want to get home to your child. You're not cheating your employer out of your labor by leaving at the contractually agreed-upon time. In fact, they are trying to cheat you if they pressure you into staying later. You don't have to apologize to them for living your life.
Not Being Ready For Sex
Whether or not you gave birth (but especially if you gave birth), the early days of parenthood are a lot to handle, and your partner will get over it if sex is on the list of "things you can't even" for a while. You don't owe them your body or services.
Calling Your Pediatrician
That's what they're there for! They got into pediatric medicine so that they could treat small children and make sure they're healthy. And it's not like they didn't know cautious (and even overly cautious) parents were part of the deal. Call them! And don't say "sorry to bother you" when they pick up, either. You're not bothering them. Chances are they're going to be more than happy to grant you peace of mind!
Calling Your Care Provider
Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever hesitate to or apologize for calling your healthcare provider if you have any health related concerns. Your concerns are valid, your health matters, and it's better to check in on "little things" than let them snowball into bigger things.
Not Wearing Makeup
I feel like this is very often a woman thing in general, but I often see it playing out among moms who, perhaps, don't have the same time to commit to a "beauty" routine that they did before children. Like, don't post a wonderful picture of you and your baby and say, "Sorry for the lack of makeup, but just look at my little guy."
Why?! Why are you apologizing for your lack of makeup? You don't have to wear makeup! That's not a rule anywhere unless, like, maybe you work at Sephora or something?
Not Doing Something You Said You Were Going To Do
"Oh we'll never co-sleep!"
"I'm going to exclusively breastfeed!"
"My baby will only wear organic clothing."
Yeah. It's great if all your parenting plans work out, but I don't think I've met one person who had everything go according to plan. (Imaginary babies are much easier to raise than real ones.) Don't apologize for that. You grin sheepishly, you own it, and you move on.
This can be really, really hard, especially if you're a people-pleaser like me. But the fact of the matter is, with a new baby you're probably (read, definitely) not going to have time for everything you used to be able to do. Going out with friends. Volunteering. Extended family commitments. There will be times when you're going to have to say no and it will suck... and other times when you're going to have to say no and it will feel so good, and that in and of itself might make you feel guilty and prompt an apology. Again, no apologies required. It is what it is.
Your Child Being A Child In Public
Look, your kid isn't allowed to run willy-nilly tripping people on purpose or anything. It's up to you to guide them into being a respectful member of the public. But they're kids and, let's face it, a lot of learning how to behave in public is trial and error, so they're graded on a curve. If your kid knocks over a store display of olive oil, certainly apologize and help clean up. But if your child is having trouble climbing onto the city bus with the speed of an adult, you don't have to apologize for that. (If you feel really uncomfortable, thank other people for their patience.)
Having Your Child With You In Public
Far too often, I notice parents are made to feel as though they have to justify the fact that they've taken their child out of the house, as though everyone else is entitled to a child-free space. Like those stories you hear about parents making goody bags for 400 people because they've brought their child on a plane and, at some point, that child might cry. It's like a pre-emptive, over-the-top apology that encapsulates so much of being a parent in public.
Last time I checked, babies were allowed on planes and everyone knows that. And everyone knows babies cry. And everyone that has ever decided to board a plane has decided to go on that plane even though they know there might be babies present and, yes, babies cry. Ergo, they can deal (without your unnecessary apology).
Asking For Help
Because we all need it sometimes. Perhaps, if we decide now to stop apologizing for that fact, the next person won't wait until they're at their breaking point to ask for the help they need and deserve.