Dear Weary Mom,
How often are you made to feel like you are doing it wrong?
I get super annoyed with the competitive and judgmental nature of the majority of mothers and the judgment of non parents too. I was reading a blog post about how too much stroller time is bad for children, as it makes them fat. I felt like reaching out and slapping someone at that. Rolf rode in a stroller until he was 2 and a half... does that make me a bad parent? For keeping him safely contained and getting him out and about? According to that guy... yes.
With a baby on the way in 7 weeks, people are asking me if I will breastfeed as if it is any of their business to begin with. When I say "Well, I am going to pump for about 2 weeks to supplement formula feeding..." They go bananas. They tell my husband to put his foot down and demand that I breastfeed. They tell him he needs to be the advocate for breastfeeding. Luckily, he is wise enough to know to say "It is her body, not mine. She can feed the baby however she pleases."
When we are asked about childbirth I feel like screaming. I am having a c section, I had my son via emergency c section. People are quick to tell me that I need to find a new doctor if he won't allow me the joy of a natural birth. My doctor is a great one! He admits that they are not equipped to handle a VBAC and if I want one I can go to Columbus Ohio's Grant Hospital for the birth where they are equipped for that. I say "No, thank you a planned c section is fine with me."
Other people are quick to judge the mother that takes pain medication during childbirth. Why does anyone feel that it is their right to pass judgment on another during such a painful and exhaustive experience? It is called labor for a reason! If you don't want to feel the agonizing pain of birth then you shouldn't have to suffer to please a bunch of strangers. If you are willing to endure the pain, my hat goes off to you!
If I take Rolf for a walk and he is struggling to get away, he is fighting and I need to carry him home, people will say "Get him a leash if he can't behave." But, if I take him in the wagon or stroller I hear "He should be walking."
If I buy disposable diapers I hear how bad they are for the planet. But when I am using cloth, which I use both, I hear how gross that is...
If I scold my child in public, watch out! Someone will tell me "You shouldn't tell him he is being a bad boy, that will damage him!" Yet, if I ignore his antics someone butts in and tells me that he will never respect me if I don't discipline him...
Weary Mom, if you feel like you are doing it all wrong, don't fret or feel alone. I am your companion as I am doing it all wrong too. Trust me, I hear it enough from perfect strangers as well as people I know. (Thank you to my husbands aunt for telling me I am a bad mother because I won't leave my son with a sitter or his grandma who I don't trust.)
What I have come to realize and understand is this: We do the best we can, we try our best, we agonize over the choices we make for our families. We will never please everyone. It is easy for people to butt in to the business of raising our kids. It is easy to offer unwanted advice, unhelpful comments and general meanness... because they aren't the ones doing the work of parenting your kids!
If you feel like you are doing it all wrong, don't worry. You are not doing it all wrong. Parenting is a process, we learn as we go.
If you hear from others how you are doing it all wrong, or what they did better than you, give them a smile. Remind them that raising your kids is your business, and it is quite rude to butt into the business of others. Tell them that you are proud of them for being a better parent than you are. I bet they will shut up and think twice about pestering another mother about how she is doing it all wrong.