We can all say the things we’d do that would be best for our baby before actually having one. And, we can all criticize those for doing things differently; after all, they must not really love their baby as much as we do because we are the only ones that have our baby’s best interests at heart. And believe me, before Murphy came along, I had plenty of opinions of my own. In fact, I still struggle with passing judgment on someone who has done something differently than the way I think is best.
But guess what: IT AIN’T MY CALL.
I can’t possibly presume to know and understand the circumstances of every individual on the planet, so how could I possibly know what is best for each of them and their children? I’ve even had private conversations with other women I had previously wanted to judge for a choice they made when it came to their children and was dumbfounded at the secret struggles they had that no one would have ever known about.
My own child is only four months old, and the level of negative critique (often disguised as well-meant intentions) that I’ve witnessed and seen others experience is alarming.
You wanna find out the sex of your baby? Find out the sex. You wanna make your way through labor by means of self-hypnosis? Knock yourself out! You wanna schedule your C-section? Do it, sister! You wanna push that baby out drug and epidural-free? You go girl! You wanna birth that kid in a blow-up kiddie pool in your living room? By all means! (Just make sure to film the thing, ‘cause we mamas all love watching that sh*t on YouTube.) You wanna formula-feed or can’t breastfeed? Not only will your kid still live, they’ll still thrive. Wanna breastfeed your kid ‘til they’re in college? You do you, girrrrl! Stroller or baby-wearing? Co-sleep or cry-it-out? Cloth diapers or disposable? Generic baby formula or homemade goat milk formula? Working mom or stay-at-home? Screen time or nah? One kid or 20? Store-bought baby food or homegrown organic? Take your pick.
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Just love your kids, please. Love the hell outta them and cherish each moment, because, my God, they’re so fleeting!
Let go of all the judgment (on yourself and others), the mom guilt, the bullsh*t. Let it all go and use that energy, instead, on something great like teaching your kid to read, to be kind, to imagine, to think, to love, to have faith in something bigger than themselves. Because THAT?
Stop asking others how they’re mom-ing in hopes of feeling better about yourself, and stop posting articles on social media reiterating why the choice YOU made is, not only the best, but the ONLY sane choice one could possibly make.
Don’t lie. We’ve all done it.
Stop asking, and just make the choices that are best for your family. Just be informed about it, and know that what’s best in your situation isn’t always the most blatant, black and white answer. There’s so much grey.
SO. MUCH. GREY.
Support other moms out there, and encourage them when possible–or even just when the mood strikes you. Sometimes just a smile in their direction will make their day. And please, only offer your advice when it’s asked for. BE NICE and not just some arrogant, know-it-all, better-than-everyone-else mom.
This message is for me, too. I’m just as guilty as anyone. Maybe even more so. I’m working on it, and I hope this post will encourage others to do the same.
So, if you’re a Judgey McJudgerson out there reading this…..just think about it.
And if you’re a mom reading…..I’m proud of you! I know you love your baby more than life itself, and I know that you’re trying your hardest every. single. day.
Yes, even if you’re not doing things the way you always thought your would or the way others have told you you should. Give yourself a break, for crying out loud! You have, arguably, the hardest job on the planet, and you’re rocking it.
You rock star, you.