30 June 2011
I am an awesome mom. Being a mom is my job and I take pride in it. I am very far from perfect and I make mistakes often, but the majority of decisions I make for my kids are good ones. They might be different from the good decisions of other moms, but they are still good. Saying I think I am pretty good at what I do is not an attack on other moms any more than saying that you are an awesome pilot/grocery clerk/doctor is an attack on other pilots/grocery clerks/doctors. People SHOULD think they are good at their jobs. And people who have similar professions SHOULD share tips and knowledge that has helped them perform better in their chosen profession. I can't imagine a pilot or doctor saying, "No, I don't think I am very awesome at my job." Yikes! However, I can still imagine them being open to another pilot or doctor sharing their experiences and successes with them. Why is that such a horrible thing in mom world? Why is it wrong to think you are good at what you do, or to want to share helpful ideas with others?
The "everyone mothers the best way they can" is a crock. There are moms out there who think it is wrong to feed your kids meat, but then there are moms out there who think it is wrong to let your kid ride on your lap in the car while you are smoking. Can those two opinions really be compared? The second one IS wrong, it's not a matter of opinion. I would never say about the second example, "Oh, leave her be. She's doing the best she can!" There are moms who point out where they think you are lacking because they really just think they are a better person than you in general and makes them feel better about themselves to put you down. Then, there are moms who point out where they think you are lacking because they want to help you and they care about you and your kids, and they want YOU to feel better about yourself. I hate it when people throw the second set in the same boat as the first set. When I give advice or make a suggestion to another mom, it is not because I think I am better, it is because I think they would like to know that there is a better/safer way to do what they are doing. God knows I am grateful for how much I have learned from other moms, with their solicited and unsolicited advice. I want to do the same thing for others, and provide them with the information to make their own decision regarding the topic at hand. I am not saying "If you ever want to be a super great mom like me, this is what you should do." Why do so many people interpret it that way and get mad or defensive? If you are doing something that you have researched to be right, and you see good results, why would you NOT want to share that with others? Oh, because you are afraid they will take it the in the worst way possible, that's right, because that's what you do. Sigh.
When I say I think I am an awesome mom, it is not a comparison. It is not me saying, I am more awesome THAN anyone. It's just me thinking that I am doing a good thing by thoughtfully taking the information provided to me from endless sources, considering it, and combining it to aid my decision making for everything from how I want my birthing experience to go, to how long I want to breastfeed, to what diapers I use, to how I install and use my car seats, to the clothes I buy for my children, to what I feed my children, to the kind of stroller I push, to our bedtime routine, to the type of music/television/movies to which I expose my children, to how I discipline my children. ALL of those things and more have been influenced by other moms (moms I know and trust AND perfect stranger moms). ALL of them. I would be doing everyone of those things in less effective, more expensive and more dangerous ways had I refused all the random advice of those other moms. Yes, sometimes I disagree with the basic principles of advice offered to me, and I politely express why I am not willing to do something a certain way, or just smile and nod. But, I will research to make sure that ignoring that advice is actually what is best for my kids before I write it off completely. The problem a lot of people have is thinking they are doing something the best way, without even knowing that it is actually dangerous...and then defending it with no back up. Sigh. What does it hurt to just look into what the crazy lady is saying?
I just want to encourage other moms to be more receptive, and less defensive. If you feel judged, clarify with the other mom before labeling her as "Mommy War mercenary hell bent on world domination". If you feel defensive, that is normal because we all think we are already doing what is right. Also ask yourself what is more important, your pride or the well being of your child? If what someone is telling you has even the slightest chance of being correct/smart/better. Why not listen? I have experienced massive benefits from just listening. Every mom should think they are an awesome mom, but part of that is being willing to learn and change! Nobody is the best mom, but why not strive to be better with the help of our friends? All of us have room to improve.
I AM admittedly fighting in the mommy wars...but on the GOOD side. :) There is no sense in being Switzerland when you can step out onto the front lines and help people, even if it means taking a few bullets to the back every now and then.
I feel it is necessary to pull this out of the archives (it's only from last year) as a PSA for new/expecting mommies: :)
Please don't expect an 'Awesome Wife' blog anytime soon. I am still trying to figure out what my deal is in that department. Off to read Gary Chapman for some instructions!