This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart. All opinions are 100% mine.
These days pretty much every decision a mama makes is up for discussion, whether she wants it to be or not!
When you become a mother, strangers will stop you in the store to ask how your baby is sleeping, what baby is eating or your views on vaccinations and then (as if that wasn’t awkward enough) they’ll proceed to share their thoughts on why you are wrong about any/all of the above and to offer their thoughts on sleeping arrangements for infants.
It amazes me that moms can’t make simple statements about their choices, without people weighing in to tell them why they are “wrong”. This was illustrated so clearly to me this week, by the responses I’ve gotten on a post I did about natural ways to induce labor. The comments on the post itself have stayed pretty tame, but the debates are going strong on some social media outlets and it just astounds me.
Now, if I had made a statement like “10 reasons you NEED to induce your baby immediately” I would expect backlash (because that’s just nuts!). But that was not the post I wrote. I shared some common “natural ways to induce labor” that didn’t work for me, and encouraged moms not to stress out about the timing of labor. I reminded mamas that stress itself can delay labor, so to try to relax, whether you choose to try any of the natural induction processes or not.
Even in what I thought was a non-controversial post, people will jump in and make comments about how all inductions are bad, or make statements in public situations that make other mothers feel guilty for their personal choices. The mommy wars are unavoidable these days and that makes me so sad.
My first year of motherhood was a tough one. I was wildly insecure and worried about every decision I made. Was I good enough? Could I handle being a mom? A thousand stresses and fears in my mind, only made worse by the people that told me I was wrong with Every. Single. Decision. That I made.
Not because my own decisions were wrong or dangerous, just because they were different from what “random stranger #5” had chosen for her family.
Yes, it’s partially on us, we can’t let the nay-sayers get to us. But when mama is already hormonal, tired and insecure about parenting, it’s really hard to let things slide.
The thing we often fail to realize, is that there are many “right” answers when it comes to parenting, and very few wrong ones. Love your children, care for them, don’t abuse them. It’s really that simple.
If you choose breast or bottle, that doesn’t matter so much. Co sleeping, room sharing, or nursery from day one. Those are personal choices that each family must make for themselves.
My choices as a mother are not open for debate.
That doesn’t mean, in the slightest that I’m doing this alone, or I think I know everything. My mother in law gets way more than her fair share of emails with questions and even some phone calls from her crying daughter in law as I try to figure this whole mommy-hood thing out. I have friends that I text when I’m in crisis mode and a husband that helps me figure it all out too.
Parenting is not meant to be done alone. Not even a little bit. But it’s also not meant to be an argument or a competition. This isn’t debate club, this is life, these are precious children being nurtured by their parents in the best way possible for that family.
So the next time you think about shedding some light on a new mommas mistakes or misunderstanding. Or “raising awareness” for whichever mommy-cause you are most passionate about (I have my passions too), maybe, instead look your friend in the eye and say something like “you are such a great mom” or “I can already tell you are going to do a great job at this”.
Those are the words moms rarely get to hear, those are the words she craves. Not one more person’s opinion, not one more friend telling her she’s making the wrong choice. Not one more person being silent, leaving her to wonder if they are mocking her choices in their heads. Use your words to build her up. If she asks your thoughts and your opinions, share them freely. Just don’t start debates. That’s not what motherhood is about.
Motherhood is not about how many people I can convince to cloth diaper or to make their own baby food (though I LOVE doing both of those things). It’s not about how many moms I can guilt or tease into making the same birthing choices as me. And it’s not about arguing over milk choices.
Motherhood is about love. Loving our children and caring for them to the best of our abilities. Wouldn’t it be great, if one day it was about loving and supporting each other through all of our decisions too? Even the ones that are different. Even the friends who choose differently in almost every situation?
That would be a beautiful day. We can’t change the world overnight, but a few more smiles and a lot more reminders like “you’re doing great mama” will be the perfect start!
Thanks to Walmart brand Parent’s Choice ™ for sponsoring today’s discussion. Parent’s Choice Formulas are clinically proven to be as well tolerated as the national brands. They are an affordable brand of formula, and they offer a savings calculator on their site that shows how their prices compare to name-brand formula.
Which mommy-wars do you find yourself getting caught up in most of all? What ways can you find to encourage the mamas around you today?