The Right Way to Mother

I never thought I’d be so grateful for a cup of coffee.

In fact, in my early 20s I turned my nose up at all caffeinated products, claiming, “People don’t need coffee — they need more sleep.” Then I went on to monologue about the toll caffeine takes on the body. Of course, I was right.

But here I am, enjoying a cup of the stuff. What happened to my lofty ideals? One word:



When I was pregnant the first time, I began getting terrible headaches every day, and sometimes they were migraines, complete with

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aura. I discovered they would go away if I took Excedrin Tension Headache every morning (yes, it’s considered “safe” for pregnancy), but a small cup of coffee was just as effective. I’d never been a coffee- or caffeine-drinker before, but it seemed to me a daily cup of joe would be less harmful than pills. One small cup of my breakfast blend was considerably under the caffeine limit for pregnancy anyway.

I took a step away from my convictions. We bought a nice coffee maker and I’ve been enjoying it for four years now.

So when I see other moms, doing what they do, and I begin to think, “Don’t they know? That’s a horrible thing to do for reasons x, y, and z!” I try to remember sipping my cup of coffee that morning, and that I haven’t cornered the market on “Right.”

What’s right for me may not be right for her, and vice versa, but we’re all doing our best. And we all deserve grace.


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