When I was married, I used to watch my husband, at the time, get praised to no end by complete strangers for performing very basic parenting tasks. It used to drive me insane! Hello! I just created this human life, carried it for 9 months, labored this child, and delivered this child, and now am breast feeding around the clock! But hey, he changed a diaper, so tell him he is father of the year, while ￼￼￼￼simultaneously giving me a dirty look for breastfeeding.
Now, my purpose is not to belittle Dads, or say they don’t deserve praise. They most certainly do.
What I DO have a problem with is the culture surrounding Mothers and Mothering. The Mom shaming is absolutely out of control! Why are we so quick to judge a mother on wether or not she breastfed or bottle fed, if she co-slept or let her kids cry it out, if she lets her kids watch “too much” TV or stay up late, and just about every other parenting decision she has ever made. Don’t even get me started on the personal attacks like she is too young or too old, she has taken way to long to lose baby weight, and all of that garbage. Or the classic dig at moms that have children from more than one fathers, or a large number of kids. We are constantly under a microscope, and not in a good way.
First of all, you have no idea what this women has tried, what she is going through, and what her child needs. So, back off.
I think we can all agree on one thing, mothering is hard enough, and it can be incredibly isolating at times. We need to build each other up.
I don’t care if you let your kids eat stale French fry’s off the floor of your van- if you love your kids and are trying your best you are a complete bad ass in my eyes!
Parenting does not come with a handbook, there is no right or wrong way. Every family is different and every child is different. I have parented 5 children, and several foster children. I have parented babies to teenagers, healthy children, sick children, disabled children, children with learning disabilities, children with mental illnesses, white children, Native American children and black children. Let me tell you, every child has a completely different and uniquely challenging set of needs. They all need something different, a different style or tone of voice. Some need space, some need you to move in. Some children need you to be firm and some need you to be very gentle. However, what they all need at the end of the day is LOVE. So, like I said, if you love
your kids and are trying your best you are a bad ass and deserve praise. I am behind you!
We are all fighting the same fight. We all want what is best for our children, and let’s be honest none of us truly know what exactly the right thing is. We may think we know. We may have a pretty good idea sometimes. However, at the end of the day we are all just doing the best we can with what we have and making our best guess.
I know there are days when you are exhausted, over worked, under appreciated, and pushed to your breaking point. There are days we all feel like we have failed our family or our children or maybe just failed the day. (If you haven’t had one of these days yet, just wait until they’re a teenager/young adult) Some days we may feel like we have everything together and are holding the weight of the world on our shoulders like a professional, and other days we may be doing so much damage control we can’t even cover the basics. The truth of the matter is we are not just Mothers, we are chefs, maids, nurses, tutors, activist, advocates, cheerleaders, organizers, coordinators, managers and so much more. There are no days off, there are no sick days. When you become a Mother, a new person is born, and not just the baby. A Mother is born. Your life as you knew it ended, and you are creating an entirely new life that revolves around this little human. It is so beautiful, and magical, and exhausting and may push you to your breaking point but then you look into those little eyes and just melt and regain your strength. I promise you, even on the days you feel like you are failing- you are not! Just love them. In their eyes you are amazing, children are capable of such pure unconditional love. Just remember that they love you so fully, and what you’re doing matters tremendously.
I think we have all been there. We have all experienced how beautiful and challenging motherhood is. So, let’s try to be a little more supportive of each other and a lot less judgmental. Let’s offer each other support, build each other up, help each other in times of need! Screw mom shaming!! You are a badass doing your best and your kids love you! At the end of the day it will always boil down to love.