Can we talk about mom-shaming (and parent shaming in general) for a minute, please!!!!! I KNOW this is a HOT topic already, but seriously, it is such a relevant topic right now! I’ll start with my parenting methods…I trend toward conservative crunchy methods (hahaha, see what I did there). I absolutely agree with biblical teachings regarding discipline and child rearing, HOWEVER, I ALSO practice semi-attachment parenting. I wear my baby, cloth diaper, co-sleep, and breast feed. I ALSO use disposable diapers. I ALSO fed each of my kids certain foods before I was probably supposed to, hover at some times and am too lenient at others, and my kids have to do chores. They have early bed times, have to earn video game time, and are only allowed to watch certain things on t.v. BUT, did you know that even though I nursed Noah for 18 months he ALSO got formula! I also weaned Isaiah instead of letting him wean himself. Isaiah and Myrah co-slept but Noah wanted nothing to do with bed sharing.
Do you see the process here? We all do a little bit of everything and probably more than we want to admit of things we shouldn’t do or things we judge others for. My question is: what is our goal? Is our goal to be better than the other mom to boast in ourselves, or to encourage her that she is doing the best she possibly can with her own personal situation, available options, and points of view? I bring this up because I think sometimes us mommies who have had babies have trouble asking for help for fear of being judged for doing something a certain way, and girls that simply should not happen. Ever. Momming is a HARD job, but God has trusted each of us with that job and we are here to build each other up and praise each other for making the right choice for our baby. I firmly believe that God gave us intuition for a reason and that reason is that He leads us to make the choices we need to for our own children. Yes I breastfed each of my children, but I never want a mom to be hesitant to ask me for help because she chose formula! I mean, as long as baby is fed I don’t care how you feed him/her! No I don’t baby proof every inch of my house. I have my own personal reasons and theories for this, BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t look at awe upon the family who has an entire house that is baby friendly and doesn’t have to rush through potty time for fear of the outlets or pennies on the floor.
This works for me, and if it doesn’t for you, that is ok. Do you only eat organic kale chips? That’s ok. Do you love the ease and comfort of processed food? That’s great! Are you like me and fall somewhere between the “I want to feed my family organic kale chips but I love my pringles” category? HEY, I’m not alone! Let’s be realistic, we all fall in between at some point and that is OK. There is no rule book on how to be the perfect parent. I have a secret! Go grab some kale pringles and get comfy because this is a HUGE secret that I want to share with you, one mommy to another. Ready?
Perfection is unattainable. It is a myth. In the history of the world there is only ONE who has EVER been able to achieve this perfection and he made it clear we never would be able to. Not as people and not as parents. We can try, but we can also spend all that energy we waste on judging other moms on helping them instead! And again, I absolutely include myself in here because Lord knows I have done my fair share of judging (even if I was quiet about it, it happened). So, ya I like to wear my baby, but I also don’t pick her up every time she cries. I still nurse my 15 month old, but not every time she asks or I’d be nursing her every 2 hours still! She wears cloth diapers, but only at home because I simply don’t want to deal with them when I’m out and about. I’ve found a comfy middle ground that works well for my family. That’s all!
Am I doing it right? I HIGHLY doubt it! Am I doing it well? RARELY! Are my kids alive, thriving, fed, happy, and healthy? For the most part, yes, though if you ask them if they are happy right this moment, they would probably all disagree. My one year old is currently upset because I am writing and she wanted my undivided attention. My boys are currently missing family movie time because they are cleaning their room so they aren’t thrilled with life or me at the moment. But, are my kids thriving? Yes. Are my kids fed? Yes. Clothed, housed, and have everything they need? Yes, yes, and yes. And coming from someone who grew up not always able to get everything she needed I’d say my kids have come a long way!
SO, does everyone agree with the way my husband and I choose to parent our children? Well, of course not. There are things we do that drive my mom and mother in law crazy. There are things we do that my sister and sisters in law do not do with their own children. There are rules we have that make some people crinkle their nose and roll their eyes, and that is OK! It is ok to disagree so long as our children are learning our values and not running around like hooligans. I happen to adore the fact that my boys hold doors open for people, but if your kids don’t, that is ok. I abhor video games, but we allow our kids to earn video game time by doing their chores and doing well in school (just like allowance in other homes, game time is the boy’s allowance). Some people don’t have their kids do chores. That’s ok. Some don’t like that we don’t do monetary allowance. That’s ok. A thriving child is the goal, after all, am I right? There is SO MUCH negative in our world today! Moms (and dads) let us please stop shaming each other and let us encourage one another in love! It’s ok to disagree, but do we have to be so ugly about it? Do we have to disagree so passionately that moms who have different views can’t reach out and ask for help out of fear of judging? Parents, this is the most difficult and rewarding gig you will be blessed with so remember that! Help a mom (or dad) out, and as long as there is no abuse, just be there. There is enough enemy in this world to go around, but an extra friend never hurt anyone! After all, no matter how much we disagree, we can all agree about Caillou, right 😉
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 NIV).