I recently saw this article, I’m a good mother, you’re a good mother. posted around on facebook and it of course caught my attention. Here’s how the article starts off:
Oh wait, you don’t breastfeed your baby? You don’t co-sleep with your baby? You don’t swaddle? You do swaddle? You do co-sleep with your baby?! You feed your child non-organic food? You feed your child meat? You have a nanny? You work? You’re a stay-at -home mother? Did you circumcise? You didn’t circumcise? Oh my goodness, no, you don’t…..you don’t vaccinate your children do you?
If you answered yes or no to even one of the above questions, then I’m sorry, but you clearly aren’t a good mother. Not as good as the mothers who either did or didn’t use one or all of the aforementioned parenting tools. You’re like, the Amber from ‘Teen Mom’ of mothers. Jeez. Why don’t you know how wrong your choices are?
Whew! Its exhausting just pretending to judge everyone else’s mothering abilities, I have to hand it to all the women who do it professionally. And by professionally, I mean, clog up their Facebook pages, their conversations, their websites, their blogs, with constant reminders of how much better what they do for their children is, than what you do.
Wow. Kind of intense right? But also kind of funny. She goes on to talk about how when she opens her facebook and sees links to things about vaccinations, it feels like a slap in the face. She ends with these words:
I don’t know about ya’ll, but I could reeeeaally use one less sleepless, staring bug-eyed at the ceiling, doubting my every decision night, compliments of a ” helpful” reminder about the irreversible trauma I’ve caused my son by…..[ fill in alarmist rant here.]
Dial it down, ladies, dial it down. If you’ve never had a moment of doubt, never thought you were the worst mother in the world, then continue on as you are. But, for those of us who do have doubts and guilt and worries, and I’m pretty sure we all do, then maybe we need to think the next time we offer another mother unsolicited advice. Is it reallyhelping her? Really preventing disaster? Or is it just slumping her shoulders a little further down?
My first thought after reading this article is, “Is that how I come across to other people – that by posting articles I’m slapping people in the face and making moms feel judged and bad about themselves?” (Yes, I’m insecure)
Goodness me! That is the last thing in the WORLD I want to be doing!
For me, this area of child development is my profession, so I’m really interested in it. Yes, I’m a mom and I apply information to my parenting, but I also work with at-risk kids.
With children-at-risk it is crucial to understand basic child development because then you can observe when it has gone off track and intervene. I love to learn more because it helps me in my work and with my own kids.
I do post a lot of articles. In fact, I “clog up” my facebook page and blog with articles related to parenting and child development! Is this perceived as me saying I’m better than other moms?
I don’t agree with every single word in every article I post. Usually if I post something it’s because I found it interesting, it made me think, or consider something different.
I like things like that, so I post it.
But I certainly don’t want to make anyone feel bad. But then I guess if people don’t like the things I post or are not interested they don’t have to “like” my facebook page or follow the blog, right?
And then I thought, since when are opinions and information a slap in the face? You can take it or leave it and make your own choices confidently.
There is one part of the article that really doesn’t sit well with me. It’s this:
Here’s the other thing, I can read. We all can. We all see the same news bulletins and essays and articles concerning pregnancy, childbirth, vaccinations, and child rearing. We do our research and make our informed decisions and thank you so much, but we don’t need to be reminded( day after day) that there are other schools of thought. We KNOW.
But here she says she’s read all the articles there are to read already and made an informed decision, and she doesn’t need any more information.
I’m confused – are you confident about your parenting choices or not confident?
If you’re confident than conflicting information or opinions shouldn’t make you feel so bad, because you can feel good about your choices no matter what others say.
If you’re not confident, then seeing extra information might actually be helpful (?) Reading widely from a range of perspectives, particularly paying attention to those with a strong background in child development might help you become more confident in your parenting choices.
Either way, I don’t think we need to feel threatened by people who parent differently than us.
3 of my kids are vaccinated, one is not (yet). They were all breastfed to different ages, the shortest 6 months and the longest 17 months. 1 son is circumcised, 3 are not. I don’t serve all organic, healthy foods, we eat at McDonalds sometimes.
Does that mean I can’t benefit from reading about extended breastfeeding, or the concerns with vaccinations, problems with our food industry or differing opinions about circumcision? I’m interested in learning more in these areas and others. I may actually make some changes. That would be a good thing.
The truth is, though, if I really don’t care what others think, someone could ask me why I’m being so defensive about this article? I think it’s because deep down I really don’t want to be misunderstood. I don’t want my articles to make people feel bad, or come across like I think I have it all together.
And the truth is, I don’t really know what exactly she’s referring to.
Perhaps there really are moms out there posting rude, mean, nasty things to other moms? I don’t really know.
Are you confident in your parenting choices?
The one thing this article did is cause me to ask myself the question, “Leslie, are you confident about your parenting choices?”
I think this is a good question.
I can honestly say that starting out on this parenting journey I was not confident at all. As I followed in the footsteps of those around me and how I was parented, I didn’t feel so great about myself. I had nights of feeling really bad about my interactions with my kids.
As I started studying more and following the path towards gentle discipline – it was hard at first. Is this really the right thing? It felt uncomfortable. I felt unsure.
But now that I’ve been at it for awhile, it feels really good. And I’m seeing positive results – not just in my kids, but also in myself.
My kids are wild and crazy. They are not always “well behaved.” They aren’t always cheerfully obedient. They are not the model children. Heck, I couldn’t even get a decent Christmas card photo this year because I couldn’t get them to sit still! People are often shocked by the noise and chaos level we have in our house.
But, somehow I feel really good about what I’m doing.
It’s hard. I have days when I BLOW IT. And feel like THE WORST MOM IN THE WORLD. Seriously.
But I have good days too. I have moments of success, and moments that take my breath away.
I think I would answer the question by saying, “I’m growing in my confidence day by day and learning new things each day helps me on my journey towards becoming the best parent I can be.”
I like to write about it and I like to share my thoughts and stories here. I hope you like it, too.
So now I’ll ask you – Are you confident in your parenting choices? Why or why not? Please share.