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My Pledge to Myself and Other Moms
This is it, the year I become a mom of an ‘outside’ baby. Over the past year I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of mother I will be, and how I want to raise my child. I almost never do New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I will. I resolve to be as confident as possible, and try not to let the judgment of others question my parenting skills.
I firmly believe that the vast majority of moms, across all parenting styles, are making the best decisions for themselves, their babies and their families. As a statistician, it’s hard for me to ever use the word ‘all‘. There’s an estimated 84 million moms in the US. Are there one or two ‘bad moms’ out there that only care about themselves? Sure. But that doesn’t mean I’ve ever meet any of them, or the mom with the screaming toddler in the grocery store is one of them. We will all be that mom at some point, no matter which decisions we make. Each child is unique, and what works for one family may not work for another. What ever a mom chooses to do for her family – go back to work or stay home, breastfeed or formula feed, cloth diaper or disposable, medicated or natural birth – she’s doing what’s best for everyone in her family. Period. Full stop.
In my not-yet-card-carrying mom status estimation, I think a lot of the judgment we moms give other moms stems from insecurity in our own decisions. We feel the judgment we receive from our decisions, and the need to defend our actions. Zippy’s not even here yet and I’m get questions about how we plan to deliver or discipline. Questions posed in a way where I know in the question asker’s mind there is only one right answer. I can feel the judgment before I even answer the question, because I know my answer is not the answer the asker is looking for. I can feel myself getting defensive before answering the question.
Each of us know the reasoning behind our own decisions and that we’re making these decisions out of love. It’s easy to conclude the person passing judgment just doesn’t understand us, hasn’t done the research or doesn’t love their baby the way we love ours. The problem is, this kind of thinking perpetuates the war. Even if we don’t intend to, we are judging other moms, and they can tell as well.
So my pledge is this:
I will not let other’s make me question my parenting skills. I will take comfort in the knowledge that one bad day, or series of bad days, will not turn my child into a serial killer. The best I can do is love my child unconditionally. Everything else is secondary. So when I feel the judgment of others, I will ask myself these simple questions: “Do I love my child more than they do?”, “Do I know my child better than they do?” and “Do I know what works and what’s best for my child better than they do?”. Yes. So why am I letting their opinions matter to me?
I will not judge other moms. Under the same philosophy, I don’t know some other mom’s situation and all the factors that go into her decisions. I don’t know her child better than she does. My opinion on whether she’s doing the right or wrong thing does not, and should not, matter. There are better things for me to spend my energy on than judging others.