Mothers need support, help, and most of all, understanding, during the wonderful years of raising a child. It can often feel though, as though there is nothing but criticism coming our ways.
Are you breast feeding? No? You should be.
Are you bottle feeding? No? That's why he is so skinny! He's not getting enough to eat!
Are you co-sleeping? No? You should be.
You ARE co-sleeping? You're weird.
You let your baby have a sip of soda? That will rot his teeth.
You don't practice attachment parenting? It is so wonderful, why wouldn't you?
You wear your baby every time he cries? That's why he is so clingy.
As much as I crave getting out of the house and finding moms to hang out with, sometimes it can just be too much. The constant bombardment of criticism. I have one set of friends that do full on attachment parenting, and a set that thinks attachment parenting is odd. A set that thinks hospitals are horrible places to have babies, and a set that think it is crazy to have a home birth.
I often find my own ideas to run in the middle of both groups; however, when I am with one group or the other, I tend to "hide" the part of my parenting style that gets criticized.
Because I don't want to be criticized; I want to be thought of as a good mom.
Like all of us moms, we want to be good moms. We want other people to smile and say "What a great job you are doing; all your hard work is really amazing!"
But often, our greatest critics are our fellow moms, who really should be our greatest allies. We should realize how very hard it is for a new mom to go out to the mall for the first time, and not laugh at her. How very hard it is for the mom of 4 to get all 4 to walk nicely side by side. And how very hard and stressful it can be when deciding how to discipline in public. 'Cause we know that half the people think you should be spanking your little love bug and the other half think that the "stern talk" you gave them was much too harsh.
So today, moms, let us give each other a challenge-let's make an effort to comfort a mom (or dad!)-give her affirmation instead of criticism. Let her know that you understand the million different things pulling on her today.
Let her know that SHE is the mom of HER baby for a reason-she is the best person to raise that child, and no one else can judge but her what is the best for her child.
As long as you and your baby are healthy and happy, then your parenting style is perfect for you.
And just keep telling yourself: This Baby is Mine and I'm doing a great job.