There is no perfect way to be a mother.
Everywhere I look, I see mommy wars. Invented competitions against one another erupting day after day. Somewhere along the lines, judging and mom-shaming became the new big thing. I’m lucky enough to live in my own bubble, but I read about them on mommy blogs, facebook groups, and articles…all. of. the. time. It’s exhausting.
The thing is when you truly think about it, it doesn’t make any sense.
Motherhood is hard and beautiful. And just like anything else in life, there is no ONE right way to do it. There is only the one way that is right for you.
And that’s okay. When did everyone get so caught up about other people doing things the exact same way as them? Why do we care?
Here’s what I know: Mothers are passionate.
I think what happens is that one woman’s passion feels like a judgement towards another woman’s passion–and that’s where the divide occurs.
In actuality though, I’d say 99% of the time when one woman’s testimony, or opinion, or take on motherhood differs from another woman’s, it isn’t even some sort of subliminal hit to the other.
Some? Probably…There’s always that 1% of a-holes in any scenario.
But, I’d like to believe that the greater portion of the population isn’t awful.
We all love how we do things, maybe a little insecure about those choices, or sometimes extremely confident…Don’t we really just want to be supported? Or heard! Who doesn’t like to talk about the things that they love and know so well? We should be allowed to without women running with pitchforks or sitting in corners with their gasps and eyerolls.
I can name 6 topics off the top of my head right now that keep us mommas talking:
· Breastfeeding vs Formula
· Planned C-section vs Vaginal Birth
· Non-medicated/All Natural Birth vs Epidural
· Organic vs Non-Organic
· Disposable vs Cloth
· Working Mom vs SAHM
Do any of these things truly matter? I’m not being flippant, I’m serious. Who cares? Who cares which way I choose to bring my child into this world? Nobody else should be THAT invested in the decision besides myself and my husband. Does it make me any less of a mother if my child is taken from my womb and laid in my arms, even if I scheduled it that way? Am I more of a mother if my children came flying through my hoo-ha?
You are a mother the day you have a child growing inside of you, and you are allowed to be proud of the choice you made in bringing your bundle into the world.
Can’t we just let each other marvel in motherhood, enjoy it’s delicious, messy, tenderness in our own way? I dream of the day that women can discuss their experiences, as different as they may be, and support each other with zero reservations or insecurities. Let’s stop with the superior mentality and comparisons. Let’s stop competing.
The breast-is-best argument makes my head spin.
I can whole-heartedly say this with complete honesty, and I myself am an extended breastfeeder. However, when I see the debates take flight, I just have to give out a big sigh.
Breast is best for my family because my son and I absolutely love to nurse. It’s not best for you if you couldn’t breastfeed or if you didn’t want to.
Nursing fascinates me. The biology involved is amazing to me and I could talk about it for a thousand years, but that’s ME. I get clogged milk ducts almost once a month, I still haven’t left my son for over 4 hours and he is 17 months old, and for me that’s awesome… It works for me. For another woman? Maybe that sounds like slow torture, (sometimes it can be and my husband sure misses our crazy nights out together.) But for whatever reason, I just adore it more than I hate it and that’s why my son and I continue.
I truly don’t care if you think it’s gross to nurse a toddler but I also don’t care if you use formula or goats milk or whatever works for you.
Who cares what others think, as long as you feel confident about which path you are choosing and are making an informed decision that you feel is best for YOUR sweet, precious baby.
Are you nourishing your baby? If the answer is yes, you’re a good mother. It makes no difference to me what type of boobie that milk came from or if it came from a jug (no pun intended.)
I am beyond blessed to have a husband who not only supports my personal decisions regarding raising and nurturing our child, but who also has a very similar outlook. I think this has helped me to freely slip into the type of mother I am: naturally and confidently.
I wish more women had that support…Not only from their husbands, but from all WOMEN. We need that from each other.
How many times has your husband told you that you’re beautiful but you still feel mediocre? But then a woman on the street tells you that your haircut is so flattering on you and they love your sweater, and suddenly you are glowing like, “YES! I’ve still got it!”
We know that women are our harshest critics so it just means more. It would be wonderful if we became each other’s greatest supporters instead.
When it comes to motherhood, I never saw myself this way, trust me. It was a process that I didn’t realize was taking place and one day I just was—my identity completely changed in the craziest and best way ever.
As it turns out, I am every mother my pre-baby-self brutally made fun of:
I’m THAT extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, natural birthing, organic momma. How did that even happen? The world may never know.
But even so, does that mean I have to judge any woman who decides to bottle feed? I feel like that’s what the world expects when they learn how I parent. When seriously, I don’t care if your milk came in that first hour post baby and you just didn’t want to. You do what is best for YOU, momma. You are still an amazing mother, I truly am not judging.
I exclusively breastfed for almost an entire year, I don’t know why. My son wasn’t interested in foods very much and so the boob-brigade continued. I still support you if you decide to feed your baby smashed up foods at 3 months, and at a year are feeding them chicken nuggets or pizza or salad or bacon or quail eggs or liver and onions.
I understand that my parenting choices are different than some, but I think that’s great.
I can observe another woman’s parenting style and understand that she is making choices that she knows works for her and her family.
I can respect other people’s styles while being secure enough in my own family’s parenting styles. I don’t have to mimic your style to respect it. I could literally do everything different from you as a mother and still respect you. (As long as you’re not hurting your child, but that goes without saying.)
My husband and I chose to cloth diaper because it saved money (initially anyway, the addiction to cute prints is real, people) and it wasn’t until my son was about 6 months old that I truly was happy about the fact that I was also helping to save the environment (but am I really? With the extra laundry washes at home?) I’ve seen that debate get hot, too. Who knows….Again though, who cares.
This is the same time I stopped using commercial deodorant and used coconut oil and essential oils instead because I started to care not only what I put into my body, but on my body (which by the way, from a woman who has always had a profuse sweating problem, that stuff actually incredibly and unbelievably worked for me.)
I became an organic, hyper-researching, world-peace dreaming, food-label-reading, neurotic happy momma.
I used to shamelessly make fun of moms like me. My younger self judged the crap out of women like me. But isn’t that always the way?
I think this is why I can appreciate other people’s judgments without personally accepting them.
Because the universe humbled me in the most hilarious of ways.
I know that I am often looked at as a hippy mom. Weirdo, unconventional, eccentric, what have you. You’re probably right, and I’d wear each of those badges proudly.
I know I am passionate. I also know my son is thriving physically, emotionally, and developmentally. I know that he has been smiling since his third day of life and hasn’t stopped and I know that he is happy. I know that I am happy and my husband is happy.
Being a hippy mom may not have contributed to any of the amazing things my son is doing today. He is after all his own person. But being a hippy mom makes me a HAPPY mom, and I believe happy mothers make happy babies.
If your baby is happy and healthy and you are happy and healthy, who cares how you and your sweet bundle got there. This is YOUR moment! Claim it proudly!! This is your time to shine as a mother and your time to figure out what that means for you.
Your grandmother had her moment. Your mother had her moment. This isn’t anyone else’s moment but YOURS.
That’s so beautiful to me… Cherish it. Protect it. You’re doing amazing. You are strong, you are succeeding, and rocking this momma thing!!!
You are fabulous. Remember that. And just as well remember that every other momma is, too.
In the words of Friedrich Nietzche, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”