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Moms, Let’s Stop Apologizing for Our Decisions

{This post is sponsored by Mirum. Read my disclosure policy here.}

Now that my kids are 13, 11, and 9, I feel like I have earned the right to speak on a few topics related to motherhood. Not all topics, mind you. But just a few.

Someday, when my kids are grown and gone, I may have a lot more to say. But I feel like I need to practice and learn and live some more before I share many lessons on motherhood. Because I’m right there in the trenches with many of you.

But for you newer moms, I have earned enough battle scars and made enough mistakes that I feel like I can share some honest advice. You don’t have to listen to it, but I hope you will.

It’s this: Stop listening to all of the voices out there telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. Trust your gut and your God-given mother’s intuition. There is no one right way to parent a child.

{Okay, I know that I’m sort of telling you what you shouldn’t do by saying you shouldn’t listen to all the voices, but hear me out…}

Each child is different. Each family is different. Each season is different.

Do your research. Pray. Seek wise counsel. Ask trusted friends for advice and input.

Then, do what you feel is best for your own child. And do it confidently.

You don’t need to give long explanations if someone else disagrees. You don’t need to apologize if someone else doesn’t get it.

Walmart asked me if I could write on this topic because they know that many new moms struggle and wonder whether they are making the best decisions for their kids.

I’m here to tell you that nobody has this parenting thing all figured out. We’re all just doing the best we know how. Your best is the best you can do.

Stop feeling like you need to apologize if you don’t do everything perfectly. No one has cracked the code on perfect motherhood. 🙂

Unfortunately, there are some people who can make you feel less than if you choose differently than them. Sometimes, I think it’s because they are feeling insecure in their choices and it somehow makes them feel better about themselves if they put others down. It’s sad, but true.

In the time that I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen this happen time and time again. And one area where it happens the most is when it comes to breastfeeding versus formula.

Here’s the thing: I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding and was blessed to be able to nurse all three of my kids exclusively. I was even one of those people who nursed my kids until they were around 18 months old. It was hard work at first. It was painful and uncomfortable and, were it not for the cost savings and the fact that we were on a super tight budget, I just might have given up on it.

In all honesty, I wanted to quit and not stick with nursing. But I’m so glad that I didn’t give up because I ended up loving it and it saved us a lot of money.

I’m always going to be the person to encourage moms to push through and stick with nursing — even when it’s rough. Ask experienced friends. Read books. Find a lactation consultant. In many, many cases, with some help and coaching, you will be able to experience the joys of nursing, too.

But I know that’s not the case for all moms. Some moms do everything they can and work so hard to be able to nurse and they just physically can’t. I’ve heard story after story from moms who feel so guilty that they couldn’t nurse.

There are also many amazing adoptive moms for whom breastfeeding isn’t an option. Some of them even try and put a lot of effort into attempting induced lactation and it doesn’t work.

Which is why I am grateful that there are options out there for high-quality formula that is more affordable. Store-brand formula is one such option.

Walmart offers a really great non-GMO infant formula at lower store-brand prices! (Plus, scroll down to the bottom of this post for Ibotta savings and a giveaway!)

There are four non-GMO formulas to choose from that will save you up to 50% annually compared to their nutritionally similar national brands:

  • Parent’s Choice™ Infant Non-GMO Formula — Milk-based formula that provides complete nutrition for your baby’s first year 0-12 months and features a blend of nutrients that supports your baby’s health and brain development. Nutritionally comparable to Enfamil® Infant Non-GMO!
  • Parent’s Choice™ Advantage® Non-GMO Infant Formula — This infant formula is designed to be more like breastmilk and features a blend of nutrients that support your baby’s growth and development from birth to 12 months of age. Nutritionally comparable to Similac Advance Non-GMO.
  • Parent’s Choice™ Sensitivity® Infant Formula — Designed for babies with fussiness and gas because of lactose intolerance. Nutritionally comparable to Similac® Sensitive®.
  • Parent’s Choice™ Gentle® Formula — Milk-based reduced lactose formula with easier to digest proteins that contains 25% less lactose than standard, milk formula. Nutritionally comparable to Enfamil® Gentlease® Non-GMO.

And right now there is an Ibotta offer to save $3 off any of the formulas listed above! So not only will you score the savings of the store-brand formula, but you’ll also save on top of that with this Ibotta deal!

Win a $200 Walmart gift card!

What’s your best advice for a new mom? Use the widget below to share it with a community of other moms (using the hashtag #MomsKnowBestWM), and you’ll be able to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a $200 Walmart gift card! There are 25 gift cards up for grabs!

The Parent’s Choice Formula #MomsKnowsBestWM Sweepstakes

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  • Kaye Edwards says:

    These family photos are wonderful.

  • Esther says:

    Best advice for mom: once your baby stops taking naps (probably around age 2 or 3, although one of mine stopped at 18 months!), transition the toddler to rest time. Put him/her in crib with a bunch of board books and some toys, and let them play and “read” by themselves. Gradually stretch the time out to an hour. This special time is more for YOU than for the toddler! Let the child know this is non-negotiable and we do it EVERY DAY. My kids are now 12, 10, and 8 and we still do rest time each day. And they all love to read!

    • JJ says:

      This is what we do, and my people are a lot younger. But my second child also stopped napping really young. And I had her baby brother and just couldn’t. I love hearing them at room time! Sometimes it gives me a window to their heart. I hear them talking to their toys, and I learn so much about them! Great advice to continue on!!! That encourages me!!! Thank you!!!

    • Beth says:

      Amen! We did this with our now five year old and I plan to keep it up with the rest of our kids. Yes, during the transition he sometimes would get up several times times to see if his time was up, and yes, now that he shares a room with his little brother sometimes he wakes him up from his nap but it is SO worth it. My five year old still falls asleep once a week or two depending on how crazy our schedule has been and he needs the downtime and rest since he’s not wired to sleep in. I need the downtime too ;).

  • Amy says:

    Relax and enjoy just spending time with your kids when they are little. They grow so fast.

  • JJ says:

    I also nursed but had a friend who it was just not working out for. She was mentally miserable, and her baby was having the hardest time, too. Long story short, she asked me what I would do if I were her. I told her I would use formula. You have to do what is best for BOTH. She said I had no idea how much freedom she felt when I said that. Shortly after she ended up having a mammogram(if she had been nursing, she couldn’t have had one) and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has beaten it!!!! So in her case, stopping nursing saved her life. I totally agree with your post!!!

    One thing I would say(and my kids are little!) is when a mom with young kids is out and about, DO NOT tell them they have their hands full. We are tired and worn but in love with our kids. It’s kind of like you can talk about your mama but no one else can. Haha! Be encouraging to moms when you see them and commend them or say something inspiring. Or just smile!!! With 2 straight years of a baby with horrible food allergies and sleep deprivation, this Jesus loving girl almost throat punched strangers with their rude comments. 😂 But my 3 little people were staring, so I couldn’t. Yay for God using them to keep me sane–haha! And for the love, if we are vulnerable and say how difficult things are don’t say, “Well wait until they are teenagers!” That gives no hope and adds to our stresses. Say what you wish someone would have said to you. Sometimes letting someone know you have been there and it is hard confirms that they aren’t crazy but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Crystal, this is just a shout out from a mom of Littles, not aimed at anyone in particular. But I go out a lot by myself with 3 Littles(we had 3 kids in less than 3 year–no multiple!), and people get all weird. Haha!

    Crystal, your family pics–wowwwww!!! What a beautiful family!!!

  • Ariel says:

    Your family is unbelievably adorable! Thanks for your honesty!

  • Rose says:

    My 3 boys are all grown up now and we are empty nesters . Which means We have been through all the stages!! I nursed our first son completely and went from breast right to sippy cup : ) 2nd son nursed for 6 months until I got very bad mastitis!! He was hungry all the time and I was afraid not to have enough for him so I neglected to drain some milk off when I should have [please if you are breast feeding don’t make my mistake!! ] My 3rd son , I was much older when he was born. [there were 6 years between middle son and youngest , I was 36 then ]. Anyway, everyone else wanted to “help” so we used formula and I was very thankful for SOY formula which we switched him to after night after night of every 2 hour feedings with him having stomach issues. All this to say, yes, breastfeeding is not possible for everyone and formula can be a lifesaver!!!

  • Susan I says:

    You are spot on, Crystal, the worst thing we can do as moms is not trust our gut and try to do what other people tell us we should be doing. We women need to build other women up, not tear them down to feel superior. I’ll admit, I was a bit judgmental of working moms when I had my girls, since I was able to stay at home, but I would never actually say anything to them, and I stopped and realized that some women can’t afford to stay at home, others don’t want to, but if the kids look healthy and happy it doesn’t make a bit of difference.
    Like JJ mentioned, now that my girls are older (12 and 14) when I see a mom with young ones, I do smile, just give them encouraging looks or something so they know I’ve been there, done that and I’m not judging them. Especially on a plane!

  • Ashley Penn says:

    Thank you for this! I have failed exclusively breastfeeding with all 3 of my kids.

    With my first, I was still working, didn’t have enough time to pump, and dried up at 5 months.

    With my second, I developed mastitis 3 months in. He refused to latch after that. I had to exclusively pump for 8 months and still had to use formula that last month (even after a generous milk donation from another local mommy).

    And this time, a week after giving birth, baby and I both came down with whooping cough. The illness and subsequent antibiotics tanked my supply to the point where my baby was constantly latched and still not gaining weight after a month. When the pediatrician handed me that can of formula, I wanted to cry.

    I’m tired of feeling like a failure. I want to save money. I want my body to do what God designed for it to do. But… I just can’t. I don’t know why He saw fit for it to happen this way. But I still love Him and trust Him, no matter what.

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