Unsolicited Advice

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Listen to me because I’m a professional.  No really, I am.  What are you wondering or feeling insecure about?  Because I can help.  I will tell you how to solve and fix everything.

I sat at my desk at work today, pumping milk for my newborn baby, and I thought, I should be writing a blog right now.  Literally, right now.  So, I set it up.  Yes, that is right.  I set it up AS I was pumping.  I am just that good.  Are you wondering how I accomplished this feat of amazing multitasking?  Well, I will share my ingenuity with you–  I lashed together two elastic hair ties and hooked one around my pump horn and one onto my nursing bra hook.  Pure genius, although I must admit, not my original idea.  Another mom gave it to me.

Moms are awesome creatures.  Sometimes I look at another mother and feel like I am gazing at a rare and exotic animal, a tiger or panda, among my favorites.  Other times, I will admit, I feel like I am gazing upon pure horror.  I will never forget the time I saw another mother scowling at her child in my son’s preschool class and I thought, “My goodness!  She looks like Skeletor!”  But most of the time I just feel like I am honored by the pure awesomeness of moms.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the insecurity and fear that we as women often have of other women.  This seems to crop up especially around issues of parenting.  The choices we make before we even fall pregnant are scrutinized and judged by others.  From the moment I had my first child five years ago, different people have offering me unsolicited advice about how to parent him.  I remember one of the nurses in the hospital critizing me because I burped him by patting his bare back.  I had been doing skin to skin with him to encourage breast feeding, and this felt like the natural way to burp my new baby.  But she has other ideas.  Thus I began playing  the second guessing game that many of us moms play with ourselves.

I subscribe to a few different groups on facebook that focus on parenting.  It amazes me how critical women can be of one another, how totally harsh and rude.  I’ve read comments that moms make to one another about their choices regarding feeding, circumsision, discipline, pacifiers, and wardrobe.  If you give your child formula, you are poisoning her.  If you have had your son circumcised then you are a genital-mutilating demon who hates your child.  If you don’t stay up until all hours of the night with your baby, allowing her unlimited access to your breast you are worthless.  Don’t even think of letting your child “cry it out” because they will become a serial killer.  The list goes on and on.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could respect each other’s choices, as mothers and women?  Why is this so difficult?  What is it about another woman doing something differently with her own child that triggers such fear and resentment in us?  I am as guilty as the next.  Today a pregnant teenager was telling me about how she plans to give her baby formula.  She had a rationale that totally made sense to her.  While I tried my best to respect her choice, I couldn’t help but feel sad and sorry for this unborn baby who would never experience the emotional and physical health benefits of nursing with her mom.  How do we fix this judgmental nature in ourselves and move towards a more accepting and loving nature?

Well, here is my advice:  don’t take anyone’s advice unless it really resonates with you.  Feel free to do things your way and make mistakes and learn from them.  Or don’t; it is not for me to say.  Be kind to yourself and you will be kind to others.  Honor yourself and every decision you make will be the perfect decision for that situation.  Treat your children with love and have confidence that everything will turn out okay.

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13 responses »

  1. Pingback: A Love Letter To My Blog | momasteblog

  2. I just finished reading your blog in its [current] entirety backwards from somewhere in December 2013 to this – your first post. I’ve been reading it over the last few weeks while nursing my baby (in between gawking at how precious and perfect she is). I’ve been trying to decide what it is that I like so much about it. Sure, you’re a good writer – at times funny, sarcastic, thoughtful, eloquent, silly. This post made me realize what it is. The mom in you really does bow to the mom in the rest of us and you show this with your honesty. Since becoming a mom 4 months ago, I find myself constantly wondering – why didn’t anybody tell me this would be so hard? Sure, people casually mention the exhaustion, the loss of “free time.” But no one told me I would question my thoughts and choices on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis! Is this the right thing to do? Am I “ruining” my baby? Am I a good mom? Reading that you have the exact same thoughts and issues as I do (nipple trauma – hello!) and that you are “titsie” enough to say the things other moms think in the corners of their mind in the middle of the very dark night makes me feel, well, bowed to. So… thanks. The mom in me bows to the mom in you, too.

    • Oh wow. Where do I even start to respond to this wonderful comment? I wish I could make streamers, balloons and confetti go off over your head, because I think you are the only person in the entire world who besides me who has even read this post! As you know, it was my very first post, and that was before I really had anyone following or reading my blog, so it kind of just got lost in the ether. I actually considered deleting it because I went back and read it months after starting my blog and felt it was just lacking or something. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read my posts, especially this one. I can remember so clearly writing this post on that summer morning at work while pumping for my daughter who was only 8 months old… It really means more than I can say to hear from mothers like you. In my wildest dreams, I never thought that so many moms would empathize and resonate with my quirky experiences, so when I hear this kind of stuff from someone like you, it really warms and touches me. I’m so glad you are enjoying your little baby, and that your nursing relationship is going well. It is true, there is so much about motherhood that no one tells you! I guess maybe if they did we wouldn’t be brazen enough to have babies or something? I always thought that everyone else looks like they make motherhood so easy, and why am I the only one having such a hard time at this? What is wrong with me? Since starting my blog, I’ve talked to so many other moms just like us who struggle with the normal day to day, etc. I hope you will continue to stop by from time to time and keep me updated on your journey as a mom. It has amazed me how many new friends I’ve made all over the globe through blogging, and for this I am so thankful. My undergraduate degree is in writing, but I really let it go for a long time. Blogging has given me a chance to dust off my skills as a writer and getting back to it has filled my life with a whole new passion. Once in a while I think I am crazy for blogging and consider giving it up, but it is comments like this one that encourage and sustain me. Seriously, your comment brought tears to my eyes. Momaste to you, many thanks, and big love!

  3. Reblogged this on momaste and commented:

    Here it is folks: the first ever post I wrote for Momaste. By some special act of cosmic whatever, someone finally read it! Seriously, it has been buried by my other posts, lost in the ether until just recently. And the reader left me such a kind and thoughtful response, I thought I would share it again in her honor, and maybe a couple other people will read it this time. I remember so vividly writing this post, how insecure and clueless I felt about the whole blogging thang. But blogging has given me a world of awesome. I’ve met so many wonderful moms, some of whom have become very dear friends. I actually considered deleting this post at one point because it just seemed stupid and puerile. But I am sharing it with you in honor of moms everywhere who support and care for one another without judgement or conditions. Momaste. . . the mom in me bows to the mom in you.

  4. Nice blog and good advice. You have to go with whatever works for you and your family. I agree that as women we tend to judge other women very harshly. Just wait until the babies start applying to colleges! You will get lots of advice and judgements then too! But your same advice still applies.

  5. Wow, what a real reflection on being a woman, on being a mom. Your views really resonate with me. And to think you almost deleted this post – that would have been sacrilege! I’m so happy you didn’t! Keep up the amazing work, mama, on all fronts. 🙂

    • Yeah, it is so weird to me how some people really just enjoy internet drama to the max! I personally have never argued with a stranger on facebook and can’t imagine ever feeling that it would be warranted or acceptable, but I sometimes do watch it play out and kind of can’t look away. . . Fortunately for me, I have managed to keep my facebook a mostly drama free zone…

      • I don’t know when it happens but it does seem to be a prickly atmosphere. But I avoid commenting on posts where it seems really polarizing. I find twitter to be a much friendlier place. WordPress too!

  6. Pingback: How The Snot People Paved The Way For My Life As a Writer | momaste

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