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I really shouldn’t write blog posts while going through caffeine withdrawal.
But brace yourselves… .
I’ve just seriously had my fill of Mom-Judgment.
Work with me here for a second. Mark told me to be careful so I am doing my best. But if you are one of these Mama’s that is doling out unsolicited opinions from a supreme bed of higher-parental knowledge than the rest of us, I want to know how long you are going to plague us with it. Nobody wants to listen to you parade your holier-than-thou child-rearing insight. All that “I’m-right-you’re-wrong” junk that inflicts a sense of failure and inadequacy on other moms is getting really old. You aren’t the only one doing your very best to raise your kids to be exemplary contributions to our society. I’m pretty sure most of us are right there with you.
Listen… I’m not talking about the gentle soul that is just trying to help. They aren’t doing anything wrong. I may not agree with them, but I am not offended by them.
What is driving me batty is this insanely suffocating air that your way is the best way and all other ways are unheard of.
I’ve heard it all. “He SHOULDN’T be EATING that!”
No? Ok… well.. His doctor gave the instructions and um… pretty sure she has the Ph.D…. where’s yours?
I also heard the endless string of “He’s not walking? That’s not normal.”
Thanks for informing me. I must have missed the memo.
Usually that one is followed by some pompous achievement like ” I entered mine in gymnastics when they were 6 months old.”
And I can’t forget the never-ending supply of “You know if you give him prunes that’ll fix that problem he has.”
Oh… I didn’t know that. PRUNES???? For bathroom trouble? Ya don’t say?
Do you see my eyes rolling? They are. Because you have just insinuated that I am so stupid that I have not tried the most obvious solutions out there. Thank you.
Child throwing a tantrum? Cue the cavalry of sanctimonious know-it-alls.
Depending on which end of the spectrum you are on, I’m either a namby pamby Mom who will raise a serial killer or… I’m SO HARD on him that it will scar him for life.
YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW I DISCIPLINE HIM AND YOU ARE JUDGING ME LIKE YOU ARE THE STAR WITNESS.
I mean, come on ladies.
No one likes this stuff.
You know what it is like. You didn’t like it when the old lady harped on you about how you were burping your infant all wrong. And you got aggravated when Great Aunt Ethel was aghast that you didn’t have your child wrapped in heaps of blankets in the blazing dog days of summer. And you’ve felt the scorn when people realized you weren’t breastfeeding. And your blood pressure rose when someone insinuated your kids weren’t educated well-enough, or fed well-enough, or made to mind well-enough.
So…. (I’m speaking gently now)
Why are you doing this to other Mamas?
You puree your baby’s food from your organic garden? That’s great. I applaud you. You taught your kid to read before head start? Awesome. You dress your kid in designer clothes every day. Cool. Your toddler already has superb manners? Wow. You’re pro-vac? That’s dandy. You feel strongly about circumcision? Wonderful. Your kids have never had sugar. Phenomenal. Your home-schooled kids are going to law school? Man, that is incredible.
You’re a great Mom.
No one doubts that.
You don’t have to prove it to anyone.
But we don’t have to be just like you to be a great mom ourselves..
Let me tell you about my last month with my boy. He’s the sweetest little thing. He’s the most gentle, passive little man. He hardly ever makes a peep and it doesn’t take much to make him mind. A couple weeks ago we celebrated the grand and glorious victory of getting him off his medication. We fought hard for that day. It was an agonizing nine month ordeal to sort him out. And I tried taking him off soy milk. It didn’t go over well. The experiment just confirmed that it’s the best thing for him right now. I’d rather that he drink that than hold him on my lap, while we cry and pray as his eyes roll back in his head and we struggle to keep him from passing out from the pain dairy causes him.
He took his first steps last week. I was so excited I called his daddy at work to let him know and then declared it to the entire world pretty much. He sings “It’s bubbling” and does the motions to a number of kids’ songs. He tries to count to three on his little fingers.
And PRAISE THE LORD! He’s EATING now! Like, REALLY eating. I never thought I’d see the day when he would eagerly gobble up food and gain a little weight, but he is! Every morning when I dress him I thank God for the meat growing around those scrawny ribs of his. I can’t express what a relief it is to see him looking healthier. And now that his other issues are under control we can tell he feels a lot better, which has made him more active. That extra activity is helping him play some dramatic catch up. He still only weighs 19 lbs… but we are still shoveling as many calories into that little boy as he will let us.
And I cried this week because he’s finally starting to show affection… something I’ve worried about for ages because I wasn’t seeing it. He hugs me around the neck now and snuggles close and it’s really been a breakthrough for this Mama. Affection is a common thing for preemies to struggle with because they spend so many lonely hours in the NICU during those first weeks when a loving touch and lots of cuddling should be the norm, but wow. I can’t tell you how amazing that felt…
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because parenting is full of decision-making. Every day is chock-full of them, and every child… every parent…. every situation is different. There are so many variables for each of us along the way. I’m not lambasting you for well-intentioned advice, or suggesting that I know so much that I am unwilling to hear a helpful tip along the way.
I’m just saying that none of us are going to parent exactly the same.
I’m not inept because some of my choices vary from yours.
I am neither superior or inferior to you because of those differences.
And I don’t need a scathing rebuke just because I have not cloned your parenting style.
The bottom-line is this.
We were chosen, by GOD, out of billions of people to be the loving parents of our boy.
I know him better than anyone on this planet knows him. I know the fine details of his personality, his little quirks and the health issues he struggles with and what makes them flare. I know what he is and isn’t capable of. I know how far he has come and what makes him tick. I know when his heart is broken and the silly things that make him the happiest creature on earth. I can interpret every word that is indecipherable to you. I know exactly why he likes some people and hides from others. I know what is out of character for him. I can tell you what he ate by the way he cries. I know what he’s scared of and what soothes him the best.
God didn’t give me your child.
He knew you would do a better job with your little one and you are the best Mama that little one could ever have. They are blessed to have you.
But God did give me mine. And guess what… I’m doing my best to raise him right.
So let me be Zane’s Mama.
Because when it comes to him…
Yes. I am a better Mom than you.