Thursday, June 03, 2010

FYI: There is More Than One Way

Posted by Mandy at 7:43 AM
I've read two blogs this week about "Mom-Blog-Bullies" and was shocked at what a problem it is in today's time. Moms attacking other ways of mothering. Moms saying their way is best and if you don't conform, you're less than. You love your kids less, or you obviously "just don't get it." Wow... really?

On one hand, I can relate to these self-righteous moms. I used to be one of them. Hard to go back to that place I once called home in my head, but yes.. many moons ago, I felt there was ONE way to be a good wife and mother. That way was to be at home, 100% devoted to the cause. I even remember thinking that if a mother 'really' loved her child, she'd FIND a way to make staying home work. I could not imagine how anyone could be so unattached that they'd leave their infant... it was so bizarre to me. Before you start your bashing.. let me fast forward to today. I obviously do not feel that way anymore. I grew a brain... thank God for that ability.

What changed me was meeting new people and getting my head out of my behind. Moms are women.. and women are called to MANY things. We all have our own set of God-given skills, and those skills don't go away just because we get married and have children. I started to think about what would happen if all women that had children stopped working to be at home. Wow. What would our world be like, then? My children's favorite teachers.. gone. My family doctor that I ADORE.. gone. Even my favorite waitress at Mazzio's... poof - not there. If we stop and think about these women that we love.. it might become clear to some of us that working women are a good thing, they make the world go round! Should these women have to choose between keeping a career that they worked their entire lives for, or having children? Should a mom that MUST work to simply pay the rent be made to feel less than or guilty because she has to leave her child at a sitter or daycare? NO. NO. NO!

Sometimes I am stunned that dealing with adults is no different than dealing with teens. Set in their ways, sure they are right, not trying to see the other side. I've learned that people with a  'one-way' mindset typically only have one group of friends that rallies around them that agrees 'mostly' with their theories. I guess I'm very fortunate that God has never allowed me to have a big group of comfortable friends. If I compared my best girlfriends' parenting styles, wife-styles, and even life-styles to mine, or to each other's... it would make my head spin. I remember joking a few months ago with a group of friends, "What do you get if you put a Christian, a Morman, a Muslim, and a Catholic together? My kitchen table!"

Years ago I could have never held a conversation with this many different people at one time. I'd have been wanting to defend myself, prove that I was RIGHT. I'd feel compelled to show them how wrong they are. Not any more... I just choose to live the way I do, discuss frankly what I believe, and compare and contrast our religions. I have had the most amazing, thought-provoking conversations with this group of women! I would have missed out on so much in life if I'd have run away from this bizarre arrangement of friends. To make it even better, one of them has no children at all... and doesn't want them. Can I tell you what a GREAT challenge it is to have hours of great conversation with someone that you cannot fall back on how awesome, hard, gross, and mystical it is to be a mother? Yeah.. try that sometime. Good for the soul I tell ya.

What I've learned is that being around other women, that do things TOTALLY different than you, is an amazing thing. You  may not agree with their methods, and you may never want to change to go towards their way of parenting or living, but learning acceptance of others is important. Learning to love those that do not make life comfortable for you is a great thing. It's a very hard thing. It's something I still work on daily with some people that God has forcefully shoved into my life.

Reading about these mom-blog bullies made me want to express that, though I definitely feel strongly about the parenting and life choices I've made for myself, I absolutely see that my way is NOT the only way. If I felt that way in life, I can assure you, I'd have no friends. None. I don't know anyone that parents exactly the way I do.. yet I know so many AMAZING mothers.  Attachment parenting is a big part of my life, but even others that are AP may not think I do it the "right way." Who cares, right?

What I want to say to 'those' women is... spend a day with me. Let me show you children that really have parents that "just don't get it." Let me show you what a child that is truly hurting over parenting choices looks like. Let me show you the difference between wrong choices, and different choices.

If you're a woman that works and feels like other moms look at you as if you're "less than" because of it, let me assure you.. that's a load of crap. If you've not been so fortunate to be around other working mothers, and been able to see that their kids are happy, healthy, and LOVE them, let me tell you that the majority of my friends are those mothers.  Their kids know who mommy is. They don't feel abandoned. Kids are so amazing.. if we tell them that life is just fine, then they believe us. So, moms.. no matter what your life is like right now, just know that if you are loving, caring, and meet your kids needs, and  you let them know that everything is A-okay, then they most likely will be.

If you are a mom that is stuck in that thought process "this is the only way, my way, and it's the right way," please look outside of yourself. There are fantastic benefits to looking outside of your little box. I promise! It can be uncomfortable to make friends that raise an eyebrow to your parenting methods.. but sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes our methods need to be questioned, and sometimes being questioned just reassures us that we're sure what we're doing is best for our family.

In closing, I say, can't we all just get along? Aren't we all grown ups here? If we all did everything the exact same way, my goodness this world would be an incredibly dull place. No one would ever make you say "wow!" or "oh my.." Think about it. Enjoy the differences without judgement. Talk about what you're passionate about without feeling the need to bash different methods to defend it. You catch more bees with honey, so they say.

4 comments:

Reagan on Thursday, 03 June, 2010 said...

Bravo!

Amy on Friday, 04 June, 2010 said...

Love this...well said!

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) on Saturday, 05 June, 2010 said...

I LOVE this post sooooooo much!!!

I love that you admitted how you used to feel and how you've changed.

I really believe it is so important that we celebrate our differences. And I've often made that comment about what would happen if all women stayed at home. What a disaster that would be.

Amanda D said...

Mandy- I love the post. Although we're not parents yet I know we have a lot of different ideas about life in general and people already ask us "why do you want to adopt- can't you have your own kids?" Some people have such tact!

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