Monday, September 17, 2012

Celebrate our Differences

Ever get the feeling that as soon as you became a mother, every single decision you make is being watched?

Did you have a drink during pregnancy? How old were you when you had your first child? Did you have an epidural for delivery? Did you breastfeed or bottle feed? Did you make your own baby food or use store bought? What age did your child walk? Are you going back to work? Do you feed your child junk food? Is your child reading/writing/jumpingthroughhoops yet? blah blah blah.

All of a sudden every little decision you make matters, and you will get asked about your choices on a regular basis. Now, it's not your personality that makes you who you are, but your parenting choices. It's as though we think that everyone else knows exactly what they are doing. Ladies, I think each and every one of us is learning as we go here, and each and every one of us can learn something from each other.

Personally, I make my decisions day by day because, no, I don't really know what I'm doing. I never sat down and wrote down exactly what kind of parent I want to be, and even the vague ideas I had of what motherhood would be like changed very suddenly while facing reality. So yes, I do co-sleep with my 8 month old, some days we watch far too much tv, and I have on occasion given my toddler McDonald's. Does that make me a bad mother? I don't think so. But if that's not what you would choose for your child, that's fine too.

I don't make the choices I make because I think I know different or better than anyone else. I make these decisions because I do what works for me and my family, and I do what gets me through the day. I don't know everything, the things I do know were most likely learned the hard way, and I'm not perfect.

So why are we so nosy asking these types of questions to other moms? I'm sure we don't have the intentions of coming across judgemental. Maybe we ask these questions to find other moms with similar personalities and parenting styles, after all a lot of the times the only one thing that we all have in common is we have children close in age. I don't know if it's just me, but some days I feel like I'm being quizzed by other moms, and as if they are comparing my child to theirs. But at the same time, I do the exact same thing, ask other moms about their choices, because sometimes I feel like my kids are the only things I have to talk about. So I'm challenging myself to shift the focus from the children to the moms. Especially the new moms, because the mom world can be seriously intimidating.

We as moms should feel like our parenting choices are respected, even if they are different. We should be able to come to each other for advice without fear of judgement. We should be able to ask each other about our choices, but only to learn from each other and find support in each other's knowledge.

Came across this picture from Granola Babies that really sums it up: