Parenting is hard. Pregnancy (for me at least) is hard. It's easy when you're a parent to walk around all day second guessing yourself. Now add the woman rolling her eyes at you while shopping with a very talkative (loud) toddler. Yeah, this parenting job is a pretty judgmental career choice. Those who have walked this path before you are a wealth of knowledge, but what they find as an appropriate method you may not. Parenting is not something to do by comparison, your efforts will always be focused in the wrong place. It's not a competition of who's journey in parenting has been the toughest. And it certainly can't be done "by the book".
You know what I find lacking in a lot of advice I hear given to moms? Encouragement.
If it's not "Mommy Wars" where stay at home moms are pitted against working moms, it's mothers saying discouraging things with a smile "Enjoy your sleep now because once the baby is here you'll never sleep again!"
Whether it's your first baby, your tenth baby, or your only child, you need encouragement. Encouragement along the whole journey. Labor, birth, breastfeeding, teething, first hair cuts, day care, school, sports, puberty..... it's all new territory when your oldest starts to experience new milestones.
I'm here to say I'm not perfect. I fail daily. I judge my own actions and question my own choices. I'm constantly striving to be the best mother and wife I can be but some days I can only manage one or the other. It's a juggling act. But one thing I do know is I try very hard every single day to be the best spouse and mom I can be. And even on days where I fail miserably, that's enough. Even on the hardest days I can rest peacefully because I know I poured love into it.
Bottom line: God knows your heart. He sees your efforts. And no matter how many mistakes you make, He will be your encouragement to keep at it. Share it. When you encourage another parent or non parent you're sharing God's encouragement. Pour God's love into everyday.