I’m not the first to say this, but before I had children I was the perfect mom. Seriously, I knew exactly how to discipline to elicit the best possible behavior; I knew the best foods; I knew all about sleep schedules and how the baby would conform to life in my household. I knew the best option between crib and co-sleeping, and I’d certainly never consider homeschooling my kids. Those people are weird. 😉 Never mind that I was an only child whose babysitting resume consisted of, say, two jobs? Basically, I’d never really been around children. I just had lots of opinions about how to raise them.
Then my son was born. Chaos ensued.
I wasn’t prepared for the Mommy Wars. I didn’t realize so many moms would have opinions stronger than mine – moms with actual child-rearing experience. I didn’t know I’d need to read peer-reviewed studies and craft talking points to defend my decision to wear my colicky baby like he was a favorite necklace. I had no idea that jarred baby food vs. organic vs. homemade (people make their own baby food!?) was such a highly charged topic.
I found the whole thing exhausting. My son, bless his cranky little heart, cried so much that I didn’t need a pack of moms to critique me; I was certain I’d already failed. Did you know colic could last for eight months? Me neither.
My son is almost 12 now – and still a bit cranky if I’m being honest – but when I came across the post below I remembered the full weight of Mommy Judgment – and I felt sweet relief as Merideth at Perfection Pending reminds us that whether our homes are spotless or “lived-in”, whether we work or stay home, whether our kids cry or giggle, we’re all doing the best we can.
I wish someone had said these words to me 11.5 years ago, back when I was sure I’d botched everything. I’m also sure that there are new moms out there now who, like me, were blindsided by the force of judgment, who are feeling a little lost and less-than. If that’s you, dear Momma, click below.
I wish I could say with certainty that the Mommy Wars will end, but I can say that we have the ability to choose not to participate, to step out of the fray and instead support and lift each other up.
Because this parenting business is hard.
Photo via Visualhunt