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.