I want to take a minute and step away from crafty tutorials, and talk about something I know we all feel as mamas…mom judgement.
It blew my mind how from the moment we announced that we were expecting our first child, the advice, suggestions, and judgement came from every direction. “You’re really not finding out the gender? You’re not taking birthing classes to prepare? You’re going to put the baby in their own room before a year old? So how much weight have you gained so far? Don’t you think that’s too much? You’re going to have an epidural? You don’t have a formal, written-out, typed, laminated birth plan?” I hadn’t even given birth yet, and already felt like I was making mistakes in my parenting. (*Note: Absolute power to those who had a formal, written-out, typed, laminated birth plan…we just decided to discuss a few specific requests with our doctor beforehand and wing the rest.*)
I once had a woman ask me my due date, and when I told her, she let out a loud, dramatic gasp and said “Wow, is it twins?!” I just had to smile politely and say “No, it’s just one baby.” Excuse me, but doesn’t growing a human in your uterus entitle you to gain a little weight?
As a first time mom, I decided I was going to join online mom groups, hoping for a place that I could get advice, read other questions, and get support from other new moms.
On about 85% of the questions moms post in this online mom support group, the women preface their query with “No judgement please”…It makes me crazy that this is a group of all women, all moms, all struggling through this journey we call parenting, and instead of being a place where we can openly ask a question, women have to be concerned about the moms with the strong opinion, those that are about to attack you for not adhering to their preconceived notion of what parenting should look like, those who think their way is the better way.
We are all doing our best, to do what’s best for OUR children…no one else’s.
You decided to breastfeed your baby? That’s fantastic, it’s so great for your baby!
You decided to formula feed your baby? That’s fantastic! Being fed is so great for your baby!
You decided to cloth diaper? Awesome, what a friend to the environment!
You use disposables? Aren’t they so convenient? And you have less (poopy) laundry!
Is your kitchen full of homemade, organic baby food? That’s great, I bet it’s delicious!
Do you have a cupboard full of pre-packaged baby foods? That’s also great, I bet your baby loves having a full belly!
Do you co-sleep, cry it out, baby wear, vaccinate, use a pacifier, exclusively pump, stay at home, work full time, homeschool, teach baby sign language, let them watch television?
If your baby is fed, safe, dry and loved, then you are doing an outstanding job as a mother. YOU are the only one who knows what is best for YOUR children in YOUR house…what works best for one mom and baby team might not work best for the next.
We moved our daughter into her own room when she was a little over a month old, and while that was the perfect decision for us, it could be a terrible decision for others, and that’s OK!
I’ll be honest, there are times when I see a mom making a decision and I might think to myself that I would do things differently. But it isn’t up to me to decide how she raises her children. It’s up to us to support each other. There is enough sad, scary, and difficult things happening in the world right now. If moms don’t support and encourage each other, who will?
Let’s do ourselves a favor and agree to support each other in this adventure we call parenting. We don’t have to agree or be comfortable with each other’s decisions, but the last thing we need is more people judging us and making us feel three inches tall.
Keep your head up Mama…you’re doing an amazing job.