The guilt trip that comes as luggage with your parenting journey begins basically on Day 1. Your newborn may not have even had his first bath yet before a family member, or friend, or even a nurse says something that makes you feel guilty. Using the nursery at the hospital? Awful parenting. Co-sleeping? What are you thinking?! Bottle feeding? HOW DARE YOU. You catch my drift… and on and on it goes until our sweet babies (who we haven’t ruined yet with our shameful parenting choices) are all of a sudden rambunctious, hysterical toddlers who chit chat like drunk sailors.
A little over two years into my motherhood gig and I still struggle with the constant bombarding of mom guilt. I can no longer click on so many of those stories that pop up on Facebook with an army of people and their bickering opinions (that none of us asked for) who are so brave behind their computer screens telling every mom of a toddler how she’s somehow doing it wrong.
But here’s the thing that I think is forgotten so much of the time: we are all doing our best.
Mind blowing, right? This looks different for every mom, every parent, every person really, but at the end of the day, as parents, we are all trying to raise tiny humans to grow up to be polite, respectful members of society. As my husband and I joke about it, we just are trying to make sure our kid doesn’t grow up to be an a-hole. It’s truly that simple.
I have a work/life balance that makes me count my lucky stars everyday, as I get to work from home. I’m allowed the flexibility to be the one who’s home with my 2-year-old son all day as the majority of my work is evenings and weekends. I’m the one who witnesses first steps, new words, and even the 812th tantrum of the day, so for all inclusive purposes, I consider myself a SAHM and I have to say I’ve been noticing some serious side eye for that recently.
A snarky comment here and there at a birthday party: “She’s the mom I was telling you about that stays home.” Insert not so sneaky eye roll.
An unnecessary comment on an Instagram photo I posted from a working mom: “Must be nice to be at the park everyday.” Ummm?
And the comment from strangers who can’t bite their tongue: “But what do you DO all day?” <— My Favorite.
My point here is that, as a society, we are in the habit of saying things before we think about if they are appropriate for the situation, let alone if they are polite.
Staying home with your children during the day is a privilege, I get it; however, the Judgey Mcjudgersons I’ve been encountering forget that there is always compromise, and in parenting that’s no different. I’ve compromised the volume of my pre-baby, booming real estate business so that I can focus on being a mama right now, because it’s important to me and that’s OUR CHOICE. As a family we made a decision that was best for us and we didn’t feel the need to take a poll to gather everyone’s opinions on the topic. If we didn’t care about what you thought of the decision back then, don’t worry, we still don’t.
As a SAHM, I have so little time to think of anything except the child, mess, house, diaper in front of me that not only do I not have the desire to judge your parenting decisions, I simply don’t have the time.
And I ask all of you to do the same. Put down your torches. We are all in this together, trying to be the best parents we can be. Everyone’s decisions for their families look different and just because we are all on different paths doesn’t mean that my path is any more wrong or right than yours.
The next time you’re going to make a borderline inappropriate comment about another mom at the park/supermarket/wherever, just don’t do it. PLEASE. Maybe she had a bad day, maybe she had a great day, but unless she’s putting her kids in danger, it doesn’t involve you or I.
Our focus should be on our families, our kids, and not a mom at the park who is giving her kids fruit snacks (that mom is probably me, if you’re in south Denver). And maybe, just maybe, our kids can learn from watching us praise the people around them with kindness, instead of constantly tearing them down. What an awesome, awesome concept.