This post has been a long time coming, I suppose. Because we have so many young children, I get a lot of strange remarks. They’re so frustrating for me because I feel like I’m constantly being judged for any and all decisions I make as a woman and as a parent.
I can handle the comments like, “Don’t you know how that happens?” or “You have your hands full.” Sometimes, I think people just don’t know what to say and these phrases fill in the gap. This is not what this blog post is written about. It’s about something that I struggle to just let roll off my back. It’s the judgement of how we parent.
I can’t be alone on this. I envision all moms and dads feeling the same way even though they don’t have the same parenting styles. There seems to be a push for acceptance in the mom world and there has been many a post I’ve read about not mom-shaming. Everyone is all like, “Heck yeah!” but in the real world, I’m still feeling judged and by many of those same moms.
I have been mom-shamed for some of my parenting techniques. I am a mother who is probably harder on my kids than most. I have used a version of the cry it out method to teach my kids that they can fall asleep without me. I give my 3,2, and 1 year old jobs before and after dinner and around the house. My parenting style allows me to be okay with giving my children specific rules even when they’re around other children that don’t have the same rules. I’ve had no problem sending my boy to timeout while out with people, and I also have no trouble giving a well deserved swat on the bottom at someone else’s home. I have been given eye rolls and “Oh, it’s fine, just let them enjoy themselves.” in too many situations. You see, I parent this way for a specific reason, I’m not doing it to be mean, there is a desired outcome that suits our family.
Did you read that? I said, “our family.” When I’m talking about how I parent, I should rephrase that to say, how we parent. My husband and I make a huge effort to discuss how we want to raise our kids and the paths we need to take to get them there. Those paths often include discipline. Knowing the best way to raise your child(ren) is incredibly difficult. Parenting sucks sometimes, you know!? The thing my husband and I strive to remember is that our style of doing things is best for us, for our kids, and for our family unit. We base our decisions off what we see in our kids. That actually means we are doing things differently for each kid. What has worked for our girls, does not work for our little man and we make that accommodation gladly. Our focus is on us, not on anyone else around us.
Here is the best part about parenting… there is no right or wrong way to do this. I’m telling you right now, if you aren’t behaving the way my husband and I do around our kiddos, we are NOT judging you! You see, when it comes to parenting, there is a plethora of choices to be made. Each decision has different outcomes and many of those outcomes are all different versions of good things. We are also well aware we have made mistakes, and some days it feels like we just suck at being anything great for our little loves. That’s why parenting is so difficult! Often, I see my eldest child as our guinea pig, poor girl. We are doing our best, but there isn’t a way to do it without guessing.
Here is what I feel constitutes a good parent:
You’re doing a great job if you are trying to do a great job!
Don’t judge other parents, we are all in different boats crossing the beautiful ocean of parenthood. Sometimes the waters are still and sometimes there’s a hurricane approaching with rough waters. My life with four under four is completely different than a first time momma with a newborn. Both are hard. Both are joyful. Both tmoms have to figure it out on their own. I’ve read books that back up the way I do things, but so has another mom who has techniques that I just can’t/won’t do. There is a reason for that.
So, I want to share the comments I’ve heard from people (strangers and loved ones alike). These are the comments I find hard to let roll off my back. I am sharing these comments with you because mom-shaming is real and some don’t even realize they’re doing it. Take a look and consider, how we’re treating one another.
“I would NEVER let my child cry it out.”
(after giving my son and daughter a command) “They’re find Dana, just let them go, it isn’t a big deal.”
“Oh my gosh, she needs to be rear facing for at least another year or more.” (said about my 3 year old)
(after I made a statement that a person may not know what I’m going through) “It isn’t my fault you have so many kids.”
“That’s why our kids are spaced out properly.”
“Why do you make them sleep in the same room?”
“Must be nice not to have to go to work.”
(after announcing a pregnancy) “I guess you better get on birth control.”
(again after a pregnancy announcement) “I wish you could just be happy with the ones you have.”
“Why is he so whiny?”
“Maybe you should get rid of some of your rules.”
The list goes on…
… but it isn’t all negative. I’ve gotten to hear some sweet, sweet comments from some friendly strangers and it has fueled my day with ambition. Those comments usually help me have a remarkable day and I appreciate those words because they are uplifting and encouraging.
Lift up the mothers around you, even if they’re strangers. Lift up their boats through the stormy seas as well as the still, smooth waters. We all could use it.
I want to take a moment to apologize with all my heart to anyone who has ever felt I judged them for their choices. I know when I was younger and didn’t have children I would say things or think things along the lines of, “my child will never…” I’m positive there have been times when people have felt judgement from me based off what I was doing or saying even if I had no intentions of judging. I’m so sorry for those instances as well. If you are someone who would like a personal apology, I would be happy to do so, because I want you to know how genuine this apology is and not something that is easy to say behind a computer screen. I know great moms all over this nation and I want you to know I think you’re doing a good job.