I’m a pretty well seasoned mom. In 8 years, I have had three little boys. Sure, I haven’t been through the teenager years yet, and I have no idea what it’s like to send a child off to college, but I know enough to raise good kids. I also armed myself with the knowledge I need to make informed decisions for myself.
When I was pregnant with my first son I was 23. I was the first of my friends to have kids. In fact, most of them are just now starting to have kids. The decisions I made regarding my children were mine to make. With none of my close friends having children, none of them tried to tell me how they thought I should or shouldn’t raise my own. There came a time where I needed the support of other moms, though. People who were going through the same things I was. Growing and learning this new adventure of parenting. As I ventured out and attempted to find “mommy friends” what I saw was disheartening. Moms who felt like it was their place to judge, critique and comment on the parenting decisions that other moms were making – even without being asked.
Is it really so much to think that, perhaps, we can simply support one another in this crazy roller coaster of motherhood? Yes, even if we don’t personally agree with the decisions others make. We should be able to know that there is a community of moms who, regardless of their own personal beliefs, will support you along the way and give you a lift when you need one, a pat on the back when warranted and a shoulder to cry on when the days get tough. We should not always have to feel like we are on the defensive because of the personal parenting choices that we have made.
There are so many controversial topics about parenting. Breast or bottle. Puree’s or diced first foods. Cloth or disposable. Pierced ears and circumcisions. You know what, though? Regardless of your choices or my choices.. none of those choices impact anyone else. My choice (and ability) to breastfeed effected myself and my sons. No one else. My baby’s first food had no impact on anyone other than my children, the washing machine and occasionally the carpet. What does have an effect on you, me and all other parents? The constant scrutiny of each and every one of our decisions. When we look for support, we find judgement. When we look for a life raft, we’re pushed back into the raging water. For things that really shouldn’t matter to anyone else. We need to stop judging others. We need to stop assuming that our choices are right for everyone.
My views on parenting are no different than my views on baby gear. There are so many choices out there. They are your choices to make. If you ask for my opinion (or in the case of the blog.. come looking for my opinion..) I will give it to you.. but it’s strictly my opinion and my experience. I do not expect you to.. nor will I assume you will.. do things the way I did. I want to lift you up. Support you in this crazy parenting experience. Not make it more complicated. I want you to feel comfortable asking me questions or confiding your fears and worries to me– not run away fearing that I will attack your choices. I expect the same in return.
Lets stop the judging. Lets stop the pushing. If someone asks for your opinion, give it. If they simply ask for support, be there. Make no assumptions. Make no judgement and stop gossiping. Remember that your choices are your own.. and my choices are my own. We can co-exist, believe it or not.