4 hours ago
Friday, October 25, 2013
Sometimes the whole "there's no right way" thing in our society can feel a bit ingenious. In truth, we all have ideals of motherhood, ways and reasons we do things, and feelings about what's best. We don't want to step on anyone's toes, so we are quick to say "I believe this is the right way - for my family." If we're being completely honest, however, we probably believe that many of those ideals are right for everyone.
I think the trick with having these ideals is recognizing that they're based on our own research, advice we've received, our experiences up to now, and our particular needs. I'm not embarrassed to admit that my idea of a great/good/perfect mom has transformed over the years. I wish I could say I do every best thing always, but that wouldn't be true either.
I think good moms also recognize that, while we may think there's a best way to do some things, when other moms choose something different, they are not somehow lesser, dumber, or ill-informed. That sounds obvious, right? But have you ever caught yourself using a condescending tone or an ill-advised phrase over a parenting choice? I have.
Our inner dialogue and outer actions can look something like these situations:
* You would never put juice in a bottle for a baby - your research tells you this forms bad habits and is bad for baby's teeth - but you see another mom doing it and give a disapproving look every time you see that bottle.
* You opt to use cloth diapers and believe in the benefits of proper babywearing, so you speak of "sposies" and "crotch danglers" disparagingly.
* You would never breast feed past 15 months and you think that's pushing it. You make little extended breastfeeding jokes without much thought to those around you.
* You are passionate about co-sleeping and can't believe other moms would want to put their babies in another room. Rather than talking about why you love co-sleeping, you talk down cribs.
* Your detailed research has led you to believe that delayed vaccinations are best and you wonder why "mainstream parents" don't get it.
A good mom figures out how to be confident in her choices and passionate about her ideals without
So, is there room to be informed, passionate, and confident without stepping on toes? I think so. Here are some ways we can strengthen our parenting communities of diverse, "good moms."
* Be Gentle - with yourself and others.
* Be an advocate.
* Use "I phrases."
* Think "Is it helpful? Is it kind?"
* Avoid giving unsolicited advice.
* When your friend makes a decision, support them in doing what they feel is best.
* Be aware of your motivations.
* Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
* Be aware of your privilege.
* Allow others to change their mind without embarrassment or guilt.