Recently something I wrote went up on Huffington Post Parents, you can read it here
The piece was something I wrote a few months ago while dealing with the birth of my third son. It was sarcastic, and irreverent and (I thought) hilarious. I wanted to make fun of the place I found myself in because I figured that most moms would laugh along having been there themselves. Most people did laugh, and I got a ton of sweet notes and nice Twitter shout outs but I have to admit to being a bit shocked by some of the comments on my article from other moms.
“Sorry but none of this happened to me. Have a bit of decorum and dignity…”
“Ugh. Ugh and Ugh. Such a sad post. I didn’t experience motherhood like that at all.”
Now, I understand that part of putting myself into the public light by having a blog or writing for the post means that I open myself up to scrutiny but I’m always shocked at how vicious some people will be given the anonymity of a comments section. I realize that I’m basically begging for further “comments” when I say that women are hardest on other women, and other mothers? They’re the worst!
Not all mothers, and not all women. The support I’ve felt from my sisters-in-arms since I had my first baby is immeasurable but the scrutiny and the judgment I’ve felt from other mothers is equally as great. I know there are those of you out there who can relate, you’ve heard the catty comments too. You’ve been asked passive aggressively why you’re not still breast-feeding, why you’re using that formula, why you’re not staying at home, why you ARE staying at home. They want to know if you’ve signed your 3 month old up for preschool, if you’ve got him on a macrobiotic diet, have you seen a dentist? If so, which one? Are you in music class? Spanish class? French or German? He’s not in organize sports? Really?? How will he learn to work in a group?
The lists, the questions, the judgement goes on and on and on. Most of the time I ignore it, but sometimes it hurts my feelings. I know that Eleanor told us “no one can make you feel badly without your permission” but you know what? Sometimes it’s hard to rise above it when someone is questioning my ability to parent my own children. Don’t they know I’m hard enough on myself already?
I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I think I’m going to just put this out there. I don’t parent like you do. I parent the only way I know how in a way that makes sense to me. I don’t make these decisions lightly. I’ve given them a lot of thought and prayer and focus. I’m constantly re-charting the course and re-working my game plan based on the ever changing terrain of growing children. If you don’t like my mothering style, well I guess it’s a good thing I’m not your mother.
But for better or worse, I’m the kind of mother who demands please and thank you’s and yes sirs and yes ma’ams. They will refer to adults as Mr or Mrs, and they aren’t allowed at the grown up table.
I’m the kind of mother who really, truly wants to feed my kids healthy home cooked meals every night, but sometimes dino-shaped chicken nuggets is the best I can do.
I believe that organized sports are important, but sometimes musical theater is a better fit.
I’m the kind of mother who doesn’t let her kids eat desserts or candy or even juice unless it’s a really special occasion… but that’s more because they act like crazy people when they have sugar, not because I’m a health nut.
I’m the kind of mom who doesn’t let them leave the house without washing their face and styling their hair. I suppose some might say I’m putting too much emphasis on looks, but I can’t stand ill-kempt children.
I believe in chores and bedtimes and rules and I’d wager that mine are more strict than most.
I believe in church on Sundays but that we accept everyone regardless of their own personal beliefs.
I believe in time outs and sometimes a spanking
I’m the kind of mother who absolutely refuses to be swayed by a temper tantrum. I’ll pull this car over! I really will.
I’m the kind of mother who’d rather my kids were kind than cool. I secretly hope they wont be part of the popular group at school because the nerdy kids usually grow up to be the best adults.
I’m the kind of mother who’s usually wearing pajamas to pre-school drop off… who only has time to shave my legs up to the knee… who does battle every day with my kids in the hope that I’ll win the war… who worries and frets about whether or not I’m doing any of this right… who fails at this whole parenting thing at least once a day… who succeeds at this parenting thing at least once a day too.
This is me, for better or worse and I’m doing the best I know how to do. In the opinion of others I might do a bad job sometimes, heck in the opinion of myself I do a bad job sometimes. But I’m confident enough in my own style and my own choices that I wont allow anyone else to make me second guess myself.
What kind of mother am I? I’m Jackson and Sawyer and Ford’s mother and it’s the only kind I know how to be.