Before you read this post, I first must say I am not trying to start an argument, I am not pointing my fingers at anyone in particular, I'm just simply stating something that I've been noticing more and more in the past few months on social media. Some of the examples I'm using are not things that have happened to me, but also to other mothers I know or from other blog posts I've read. I've hesitated so many times to publish this post. I've been writing it for a while, and left it as a draft. But after the past two weeks seeing my social media blow up with such negativity, I changed my mind.
The Mom Wars. I'm so sick of it. I'm about this close to deleting Facebook for the very reason. You post an adorable picture of your kid, get 54 likes, and then ONE person says "wow how do you have time to take pictures of your kid? Maybe you should focus on actually playing with them?" or the "I wish I had time to play with my kid, but I work too much," or "Looks like little Timmy there has a band-aid on, did you just have him vaccinated?" and then posts a link to your wall about their beliefs on the evils of immunizations. Then there is the breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, and all the hundred million articles making one or the other side feel guilty. Daycare vs. in home care. Working moms vs. Stay at Home Moms. Married moms vs. Single moms. Multiple child moms vs. single child moms. We are all unfortunately guilty of these mom wars.
IT'S TIME TO MAKE IT STOP!
As moms and dads we all basically have this one common goal:
To raise our children to be safe, happy, and GOOD invididuals. To love them in a way that they grow up to have confidence in themselves and their relationships with God, their family, and friends.
I know when I was handed Eli by the nurses when our time at the hospital had ended I was thinking "What the heck I am supposed to do? I don't know what I am doing? Why are they trusting me to take home this baby?" I know almost 99.9% of all other mothers felt exactly the same way. With the help from wonderful family, friends, my husband, and lots of prayers, I figured it out, and made it. Then I think about the mom whose husband is overseas, or the mom who is pregnant and battling cancer, or the seventeen year old girl who has chosen life and scared out of her mind. Between the late night feedings, diaper changes, tantrums, and long sleepless nights, we've all come out on the other side. Not without guilt. The guilt we already give ourselves is bad enough. You know what I mean. But the guilt society gives us is even worse. But the worst guilt of all is the guilt OTHER MOMS put on ONE ANOTHER!
It doesn't make sense. We are on the same team! When our kids play on the playground and get rowdy and start pushing and shoving you hear all the moms start chirping, "Be nice! Play nice!" Well now its time to say it to ourselves. We're all doing what we can to survive this crazy beautiful ride called parenthood. It doesn't last as long as we wish it would, and some days it lasts forever. So instead of putting one another down, let's lift each other up. If you're not the lifting up, cheerleader type of person, then how about just respect each other?
Guess what? We're not all perfect.
Time for a little story: Last Friday I took the kids to the grocery store, for some reason, even though I had the super cool car grocery cart, Eli threw the biggest tantrum. No punishing or bribing with suckers were going to stop this one, so we went to checkout with what we had. An older lady came up behind me, I apologized for Eli's screaming, and she said "Parents these days don't know how to discipline." Of course, she was only parked two cars down, so she continued to share with me her opinions on my lack of parenting skills. I got so flustered, got the kids in the car, cried the whole way driving home and realized halfway home that Eli wasn't even strapped into his car seat. I beat myself up for a while on that one. Now looking back, that woman had no right to say those things to me. The tongue is a powerful weapon, and I let hers get to me way too much. The moral of the story is: be kind to everyone you meet, because they may live with a toddler.
I speak from personal experience when I say sometimes I see a mom who I think is perfect, and instead of RESPECTING how well she performs her style of parenting, I become jealous and worse, bitter. I see the Pinterest perfect mom who does crafts all day long with her kids and they never watch tv, and instead of letting that annoy me thinking "I bet she thinks she is the best mom in the world" I should instead say, "Wow! How fun and amazing she has the energy and creativity to do that!" Then, turn and recognize, is your jealousy because you're sitting on the couch ignoring your kid scrolling on Facebook, or is it because every time you get a hot glue gun out your burn yourself and end up with macaroni noodles all over your kitchen floor? Maybe that's just not your style, and that's ok! Because the thing is, that Pinterest perfect mom might just actually LOVE doing that kind of stuff with her kids! The mom who drops off her kids at school in her workout clothes and runs marathons on the weekends may just find that that's what keeps her sane and happy so that when she's with her kids, she can focus on them. The mom who is busy working and stays late hours in the office may not financially have a choice, or she may have chosen that she earned that college degree and she still has aspirations and professional goals of her own. It doesn't mean she doesn't want to only be a mother four hours a day, it just means she balances it differently. The mom who adopted because she felt the calling to do so, doesn't make her less a mom because she wasn't pregnant with that child, she is just as much a mom as you or I.
Isn't parenting hard enough? Isn't the guilt we put on ourselves bad enough? We already feel isolated from our friends and alone on our bad days, why not be a support system for every mom out there as if to say "I've been there too girlfriend, but you keep your head up because if I could do it, so can YOU!" Let's cheer each other on and stop resenting each other or being jealous. If you're not happy with your own personal situation, that does not make it ok to become spiteful to someone else. In fact, it may just surprise you that if you ask for help or advice, that other mom will tell you stories about her own mothering moments that would make you laugh and realize you're both human (somewhere under the baggy eyes.) I am not just saying this to other mom's out there, but just as much to myself. With that said, let's all stay positive and rejoice in each other's kids accomplishments too! Our children are beautiful little creatures (most days) and lets keep them that way by being a shining example of love, encouragement, and respect.
So to all the mom's out there, Keep it up. Whether you're reading this nursing a baby at 2 am, taking a break from your long work day, or with four kids pulling on your arms, YOU ROCK!