Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Life is a mother!

I have been wanting to write this post for several weeks and just haven't found the time. Probably because as it will absolutely show, I am a new mother. When I say new, I have a 14 month old son. My days consist mostly of diaper changes, book reading, meal preparation, cleaning, snuggles, singing songs, dance parties, and playing with Maxwell. I get an idea for a blog post and I hope that it stays with me until I can belly up to the laptop for a few quiet moments and process.

I think that the idea for this post started a few weeks ago when I started to see a trend in my relationships with other mothers both in person and on Facebook. I am fearful in my parenting. I have noticed lately that I try not to express any opinions, ideas, values, or advice in parenting and I know why. I am fearful of other moms. I think that as moms, we are cruel to each other more than we are helpful. In the short time I have been a parent, I have been told how to do the following from people who are a little more experienced than me or perhaps are as new as I am at this: feed Max, bathe Max, educate Max, discipline Max, introduce Jesus to Max, and the list goes on. The thing I should note is that I never asked these people how to do that. I have asked a number of parents that I completely respect and share values with how to do certain things or even just ask them how they do something so that Anthony and I can come up with something that works for our family.

The people I am talking about in this post were NEVER asked these questions. The conversations looked like this (example of actual conversation with another mother)

Tamara (not actual name): So is Max sleeping through the night?

Erica: Yes, he takes two naps a day and then sleeps 10-12 hours at night as well

Tamara: You should not let him nap that much. He is stunting his growth. He should be playing and not sleeping

Erica: Well, we have consulted his doctor and it seems like he is 100% healthy and my opinion is that if he is tired to where he is falling asleep, it is not my job to keep him awake but to realize his body is telling him something.

Tamara: Maybe you need a new doctor

This conversation had me so angry because two things were insulted; my ability to make good decisions for my child and my ability to choose a good physician. Note: We LOVE our doctor for Max!

I have noticed that other mothers are my biggest enemy in this journey that is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It's not to say that there aren't mothers who support me, encourage me, and pray for me. It's just that I have seen more of them that want to force their parenting ideas, experiences, and values onto me and Anthony. There have even been people who have wanted to critique how we pray with him, teach him about Jesus, and educate him spiritually. How in the world can you choose that for another family?

This brought me to a conclusion in my parenting: Never give advice unless you are asked. My opinion is but ONE...and not the ONLY ONE or the RIGHT ONE. The way I parent is completely in response to who my son is...since other mothers do not know him...they probably should not try to parent him. Does that aggravate anyone else?

1 comment:

Princessica said...

YES YES YES! :) (maybe I'm the one doing it? I hope not!) But I agree whole heartedly and it breaks my heart to see new moms taking advice like it's the holy grail (you should put cereal in your baby's bottle!...what?! No.)...