1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
In the past few years, Facebook has become so much more than simply a form of social media. It is a constant bombardment of ads, hacked accounts, false stories about our government and – on my timeline – article after article about being the perfect mom. Some that I’ve read are filled with helpful ideas for organization or healthy meals, simple tricks that save time, etc. However, most are personal. Most can be summed up with the statement of “I’m right, you’re wrong. My mothering style is better than yours and here’s why…”
I’ve read so many comments from women debating topic after topic. Natural birth vs. epidural, hospital birth vs. home birth, midwife vs. doctor, circumcision vs. non-circumcision, crib sleeping vs. co-sleeping, breastfeeding vs. formula, schedules vs. flexibility, organic vs. non-organic, vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated. The list goes on and on and on.
I’m getting tired of it. Life is exhausting enough without the constant cacophony of voices telling us why we’re right or wrong. We are all aware people have different opinions. Some people prefer a natural birth to “experience” the whole thing. My second child came so quickly that my epidural didn’t have time to work. I experienced as close to a natural birth as I ever want. I thought I was dying and would never want to go through that again. I’m one of those people who believes God allowed us to make medical advancements for a reason. However, when a friend of mine tells me she wants to have a natural birth, I tell them I truly hope it works out that they can, because that’s what they feel is the best way for them to give birth. I also tell them I will pray for them because, well, WHEW!
I personally wanted to have both of my children in a sterile hospital room, surrounded by doctors and nurses who I trusted. Some women prefer to give birth in the comfort of their own home with a midwife (and that’s great!) Why do we make people feel bad about either decisions? I’ve heard people say “you can’t trust doctors and nurses.” Really? I’d trust their years of medical training over a biased Facebook “news” article any day! Regarding home births I’ve heard people ask, “why didn’t they go to the hospital?” I’m sure they just forgot or didn’t feel like making the drive. In either situation, isn’t the mother considering what she believes is best for their child? And isn’t that what’s important?
On the topic of circumcisions, I have very little to say. That, maybe more than any other topic, is nobody’s business other than the parents. Parents who plan to circumcise their children don’t need to hear others tell them not to because it will hurt. Those who don’t plan to circumcise don’t need to hear opinions about cleanliness. Either decision made, is not done on a whim. It is a decision made because the parents believe it’s what’s best for their son. That is an extremely personal decision and it is not my place, or yours, to judge.
My babies never slept in the bed with me. My two year old son and almost 6 month old daughter both sleep in their own rooms in their own cribs. I personally am too concerned about the risk of hurting or suffocating my child, and I also don’t like to be kicked in my sleep (sometimes Beau does this, but he’s too big to fit in a crib). I don’t need to be told that my children are having anxiety because I’m not in the room with them. (I wouldn’t even believe that argument since they both sleep 12 hours at night and wake up with smiles on their faces). Those who feel co-sleeping is better for their kids and don’t find any danger in it, don’t need to hear whether or not you agree with them. In both situations, aren’t parents trying to do what they believe is best for their child?
I was able to breastfeed my son until he was 14 months old, and I plan to breastfeed my daughter through her first year too. Some people I know will read the previous sentence and say, “good for you!” Some will say, “are you crazy? 14 months?!” I have friends who have breastfed MUCH longer than a year, (think years) and I have friends who have only breastfed a couple of months. Why is this topic an issue? Why do we pass judgment? We don’t know everyone’s situation. Maybe a child needs to breastfeed longer because it helps with a poor immune system. Maybe a mother has to go back to work and can’t continue past a couple months. Or, maybe the breast milk is too thin and doesn’t provide enough nutrients for the baby. Isn’t it about doing what’s better for the child?
I have to keep my children on a schedule. It helps my sanity and I truly believe it is the main reason both of mine have always been great sleepers. Some people aren’t schedule people and like to wing it. As much as that game plan makes my skin crawl, I have a couple friends whose skin would crawl at the mention of a schedule. Why do we argue about this topic? Another person’s schedule (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with me.
“Don’t you there are pesticides in your fruit?” “Don’t you know processed food causes cancer?” “Don’t you know organic is much safer?” “Don’t you know your toddler needs ___ fruits and veggies per day?” Yes, yes I’ve heard all that. Believe me, I wish I could only buy organic, non-processed food all the time. I know it’s healthier. I can’t afford it. The sad truth is, the healthiest options are the most expensive. I think it’s great when people can buy only organic, but some just can’t afford it. Also, newsflash: toddlers don’t like veggies! If yours does, I don’t want to hear it because you’re just bumming the rest of us out. But seriously, sometimes my son eats greasy, processed pizza for dinner with no fruits or veggies on the side. I do this on occasion because both he and I are pizza lovers and I love seeing him happy; being a good or bad parent doesn’t hinge on tiny battles such as these. Organic or not, we are trying to do what’s best for our children.
I want my kids vaccinated regularly. As a history teacher I’ve studied about generations before vaccines and after. In my opinion, they are important and potentially life-saving. In conversations with the many medical professionals I’ve had about the topic, there is no link to vaccines and Autism. However, there are mothers who don’t want to take the risk of Autism. I may not agree with you on this topic, but when it comes down to it, aren’t we just trying to do what we feel is best for our children?
We are mothers. God has blessed us with the opportunity and enormous challenge or raising our children. Let’s look at the big picture. More than anything in this world, I want my babies to grow up to know and love their Savior Jesus. When I think about this, everything else takes a back seat. Motherhood is hard. It can be heartbreaking and beautiful in the same day. It can be frustrating and rewarding in the same hour. It can be monotonous and chaotic in the same moment. There is nothing else like it on this earth. We need each other, Moms. I need support and encouragement from other moms, rather than the second guessing of a minor issue. I’m not saying I want things sugar coated. Of course I want good advice, even if it’s hard to hear! But we have to quit making the mistake of sending a fellow mom on a guilt trip with a one way ticket. Even though our children may not see it, we moms are human and we make mistakes. Let’s realize that sometimes someone’s “mistake” is the best way for them to take care of their child. We don’t know everyone’s situation, so let’s help each other through those “mistakes” with love. I pray God will be able to use me to help other young mothers despite my many, MANY mistakes. I love and admire all of you great Mommas out there. Keep up the good work!