Competitive Motherhood

Commentator One:  Welcome back to our exclusive coverage of Battle Mommy.  It has been an interesting weekend where Lisa achieve a surprise come-from-behind victory in the nutrition department with that field trip to the local, vegan, organic, commune farm to make babyfood for her little one.
Commentator Two:  Definitely a winning move on her part.  She was also given a boost by a major gaff on our favored leader, Amy’s, part when she gave her toddler chicken nuggets and chocolate milk for lunch for the second day in one week.
Commentator One: And they weren’t even organic!
Commentator Two:  Yeah, a mistake like that really leaves the contest open to competitors.  Behind Lisa and Amy we have Becky fighting to take the lead as she goes into bath time tonight.
Commentator One:  This has historically been a weak area for Becky.  I think everyone remembers the bath tantrum last Wednesday night.
Commentator Two: Oh yeah!  On review officials stated that the bath water was clearly .00001 degree too hot for her child
Commentator One: You just don’t expect amature mistakes like that in this level of competition.  Let’s hope she can get through Bath Time tonight and keep her position by reading two books to her 3 month old.  If she can pull that off and manage to make that  homemade yogurt she might actually have a chance in this competition.

Sounds funny right?  Sometimes this is what parenting is like.  Everyone is constantly judging their fellow moms and ranking yourself on some type of “good” mommy scale.  I think we all need to give each other a break.  I’m not better than anyone because I’m nursing and I’m not a lousy parent because I’m using disposal diapers.  Know what I mean?  There are so many options and so many factors.  Parenting choices are hard, soul-searching things and any mom that’s taken the time to make them should be applauded!  Let’s support each other with sisterhood instead of tearing each other down.

In addition to not judging, I think we should also remember not to always feel judged.  Sometimes we put ourselves in this pattern of always being on the defensive.  Just because someone is talking about their parenting doesn’t mean they are judging your differing views.  I find it difficult sometimes to talk about my parenting choices.  Like telling someone that I chose not to enroll Aellyn in the daycare at work.  When I’m talking to someone who has their child in that very daycare it feels like I might offend someone.  A decision for my family has all kinds of factors that may differ from someone elses and I don’t judge and other mamas should feel strong in their decision too!  This is just an example, of course, I have great friends where this is the exact situation and we have great conversations about it.  I have a friend who told me “she doesn’t believe in pacifiers” and I originally got my hackles up!  But, you know what?  That’s ok.  Pacifiers work for me (and Aellyn).  Shrug.  Everyone does the best they can with the information they have.

Do you love your kids?  Congrats you are a Great Parent.

I guess I’m not the only one this has been weighing on lately:

I really liked Annie’ post at PhD in Parenting:

When people say “don’t judge me”, what they really seem to mean is:

* It is okay for you to make a different choice as long as you don’t think your choice is better than my choice.

* It is okay for you to make a different choice as long as you don’t try to convince me to make the same choice as you.

For me, that isn’t judging. That is debating, disagreeing, discussing, even advocating. Just because I disagree with your choice, doesn’t mean that I think you are a bad person. For me, judging is making an assessment of someone’s values or morals or motivations and deciding that they are invalid or inferior.

And Arwyn at Raising my Boychick: … us-say-it/

At some point, I think there is a level of individual responsibility that must be taken (remembering that we are discussing a situation among those with roughly equal power and privilege — or lack thereof); at some point, one has to be able to step back and avoid taking, as well as giving, offense unnecessarily.

I recently had to make the decision to turn down a “coveted” spot at the day care center where I work (coveted since I work on a high-security lab behind armed guards it makes it a pretty secure day care!). I had been on the waitlist for 18 months and finally got a slot. DH and I had to decide if we were going to take it or if he was going to remain a SAHD. In the end we felt that the value Aellyn was getting from having daddy at home was worth the cost for us. Of course I have tons of friends at work who have their children in this daycare. The reactions were so mixed. I had friends that said “good for you” without any angst and others that were clearly cold about our decision. I don’t feel that I was judging these mothers but that they were feeling judged nonetheless. I try to always speak sensitively about my parenting choices but I do find that some people just take offense anyway.

We make judgements about parenting. In my judgement breastfeeding is best. That doesn’t mean that I think breastfeeders are better. I, honestly, am appalled by the thought of CIO. It is my judgement that CIO is not the best way to help a child learn healthy sleeping habits. However I don’t judge that a mother who does CIO is a horrible, immoral, abusive mother. :roll: They are doing what they think is best and I’m doing what I think is best.

It is my responsibility to not say “ewww, you use foooorrrrmuuula?” (add verbal disdain and disgusted look). But, it is your (universal “you”) responsibility to not hear that when what I really say is “Aellyn is breastfed.”