I hadn’t realized just how judgmental some moms and mommy groups can be until I became one… Although to be completely honest, I can’t say that I have always been without blame either. It’s ridiculously easy to find a poor mom at fault when you see her raising her voice in the store and chasing after a strong-willed child who refuses to listen. Then you become that mom; and you suddenly realize that all the patience, loving discipline, and prayer in the world doesn’t create a perfect son or daughter overnight.
It takes consistency… patience… consistency… patience… consistency…
Yeah, well, you get the idea.
Nate and I always used to joke that we were going to have a stubborn child, since we both have a pretty good dose of it ourselves. But man, we had no idea. So here I am, that mom at the store with the child who’s knocking things off shelves or having a tantrum in the carriage.
And I am dealing with it by enforcing time-outs or taking away treats, but it’s not like I can wave my magic princess wand and suddenly tame my wild stallion of a son. Quite frankly, my son will probably never be tamed. (And trust me, if I had such a wand, I wouldn’t be wearing a hat so many days to hide my curls-gone-wild).
I truly believe that God is going to use this fiery, passion of Brady’s to do amazing things. So it’s not my job to break him but instead to guide him to make better choices, as he grows into a young man. But again, no wand… So, you know, consistency… and patience… and consistency…
But I see those faces… The faces of women who don’t have kids. Or those faces of moms who are raising sensitive, quiet little souls who demurely walk alongside the carriage with perfect attentiveness. I definitely thought that was going to be me, but it isn’t. And it’s not because of anything I did.
Every…single…child… is SO different.
And as adults, we should realize this and – in doing so – understand that raising these children amidst their differences will look different.
They will have different strengths. Different weaknesses. And those strengths and weakness include both the physical and the emotional side of things.
Some children will happily sit and play by themselves, while other parents succumb to turning on the television or ipad to get things done. Some children easily switch back and forth from breast to bottle, while others never adjust to that transition. Some kiddo’s are sensitive and need an extra dose of confidence, while others need to learn a lesson in humility. Some little ones live in a household that requires a mom to work; some moms desire to work; some moms long to stay home. Some women master cloth diapers, and others enjoy a good, dirty-diaper slam dunk into the trash can.
So why are we playing the “I would never let my kid use electronics” game… Or jumping on the “those breastfeeding moms are always so better-than-thou” bandwagon… Or turning up our noses at moms who send their kids to school or who decide to teach at home. Or criticizing how much or how little time a mom is spending with her kids.
Why are we fighting each other when we’re all on such a different journey with one common goal: to love and care for our children?
Let’s face it, mommy guilt is cracking the whip enough. We don’t need fellow moms criticizing our choices just because our choices are different than theirs. Can we all just realize that different doesn’t always mean better or less than?
It just means different.
I try to feed my kids as healthy as possible and – when I can – serve meals that are from scratch. But guess what, my three year old ate two popsicles, goldfish, and a handful of blueberries for lunch. Yeah, I tried breastfeeding for as long as I could, but – last Sunday – I woke up and realized that ‘the girls’ were done and that my body was so malnourished from being sucked dry that my nails were literally cracking to the quick. Formula it’s been ever since (and – wow – how freeing every single day has been since then). I love a clean house, but it gets trashed at least once a week.
(Okay, fine, a few times a week, but who’s counting…).
Speaking of cleaning… I work from home; and I need to organize, dust, vacuum, tidy, and we’re-having-company-over clean every…single…week in order to prepare for the lessons I teach. Do you know how hard it is to clean your house to this level when you’re also caring for a baby and a strong-willed child? Yeah, I totally let Daniel Tiger and Curious George do the babysitting when I’m rushing around getting things done. And many times – GASP – I also turn on the ipad for a bit of creative learning with Elmo.
It’s my reality. It’s what I have to do in order to get what I need to get done… while also keeping my mischievous little boy out of harms way.
We moms are SO hard on ourselves, however, that we live to be edified by others. We so effortlessly find flaws in our efforts that a differing opinion or way of doing something is only confirmation of our greatest fear: we might be falling short. We desperately want to be told that we’re doing the best of jobs. And so our insecurities are heightened when we see others living life differently.
Then the mom judgment begins. And we begin to take sides.
You want to know which side I’m on? I’m on the side of fed is best… clothed is best… diaper changed is best… educated is best… LOVED is best.
We’re all moms walking on our own, unique journey. Not one of us has walked in the shoes of the women next to us, so who are we to judge? And who are we to feel belittled by another’s choices?
We are ALL rockstars for loving fiercely, passionately, and selflessly. And just imagine how strong we could be if we looked out into the crowd and realized that the audience looking up at us consisted of other moms who – instead of judging us – were applauding in support and admiration. xoxo