Being a Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mother is both rewarding and hard! Some days are just harder than others. And let’s face it…everyone has an opinion about what a mother is supposed to do or say. The mom-shaming of the past has given way to the social media versions that can be downright mean! The thing is, as moms, we don’t need someone else telling us we’re doing it all wrong. Many times we beat ourselves up enough about our mistakes that the “well-meaning” naysayers just dump another layer of inadequacies on top of our own self-given inadequacies.
I remember as a new momma to a beautiful baby girl believing that I knew what was best for her. I knew I didn’t have all the answers, but I also knew that I would do whatever I needed to do to take the best care of her. Looking back, I remember a couple of people close to us letting me know in no uncertain terms that I was screwing up. Let’s see…a few that I remember…
- You shouldn’t have an epidural…God made you to do this naturally!
- You’re not breastfeeding?! (In the most shocked exasperated tone) You will not be as close to your baby as I am to mine since I breastfed him/her.
- What do you mean you are NOT starting rice cereal when she’s a week old? Or What do you mean you ARE starting rice cereal when shes three months old?
- Do not rock her to sleep! You’ll spoil her.
Oh…I could go on and on. Here’s the thing…I’m sure they meant to be helpful. But as a new mom, all I heard was how I was doing it all wrong.
This didn’t stop with our first; it continued through all four of our kids. It also isn’t just a baby stage thing…people have definite opinions about all stages of motherhood!
- What?! You’re pregnant again! You can’t give the kids you already have as much attention when you have them so close together.
- Your four year old boys aren’t potty-trained yet?!
- You should definitely split the twins up in school. It is not good for them to be in the same class.
- She is so smart! You are holding her back by not letting her skip first grade!
- Why do you only let your kids choose one activity instead of doing everything they want to do? They won’t be as well-rounded as my kids.
- You bought them what?! Dirt bikes? Dirt bikes are too dangerous…get them four-wheelers instead. (That one still amazes me!)
- Y’all should NOT buy them cars when they turn sixteen. They need to learn to work for what they get.
- You let him get engaged?!
Goodness! Even writing this brings up anxious thoughts. But then…I remember that our kids grew up just fine. I know I made mistakes along the way. They made mistakes along the way. We faced them and moved on. Letting go of others’ opinions and comparisons was vital to being the best Momma I could be.
Now as I watch my children parent their children, I sometimes see that anxiousness in their eyes or hear it in their voices. When you add the
stress wonderful blessing of being privileged to parent the strong-willed children or the child with Down Syndrome or the child that requires multiple surgeries before they even turn a year old, the need to trash comparisons becomes even more important.
We have five amazing grand-treasures with amazing Mommies (really parents…but this is specifically about mothers)! Each child is different. Each one requires different parenting…even the siblings. I’m so proud of how my daughter and daughters-in-law have risen to the high calling of being a Mommy.
I pray that when they ask me for my advice that I always temper it with love and compassion, remembering that they already KNOW what their babies need. I also pray that they are surrounded by other mothers and grandmothers that will encourage them, cheer them on, and pray for them often. And of course, I hope they’ll be the encouragers to other moms that need to know it’s all going to work out.
This MOM gig is hard…but it is oh so worth it!