Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I've been tossing this idea of Motherhood around in my head for the last little while, not directly because of any immediate plans that WH and I have to start a family, but more because I've been an interested observer of my friends' and coworkers' babies for some time, particularly in the ways that the mothers of (especially very young) children treat each other.

The competitiveness and the one-up-manship between mothers astounds me. There seems to be a push to be, or at least appear to be, the most put together, the most capable, the most current and the most knowledgeable in the land, and the feelings and dignity of other mothers is an acceptable expense in the competition. The woman who taught our marriage preparation course said that she never felt so judged, so "examined" as she did when she was pregnant and subsequently caring for her infant daughter. Almost every woman she met had an opinion, a piece of advice, all of it unsolicited, about how she should care for her own child.

The thing that is so SILLY is that, despite outward appearances, every mother has had THAT moment - that poop-covered, baby crying, food-all-over-the-wall moment - when she felt like she couldn't cope. Most women have had more than one of these moments, I'd reckon. And I'd also bet that most mothers have had a series of moments in which they and their children were perfectly in sync, and mothering seemed a natural gift.

I think there are a couple of truths that get lost in the hustle-bustle of our "BE A BETTER YOU" kind of world.
-Every child is different than any that came before. So is every mother.
-There is no single RIGHT way to parent. There is good parenting, in thousands of forms, and there is certainly poor parenting, but there is no one, single, correct way to raise a child.

I think this topic is particularly sensitive for me because I wonder, often, what kind of mother I'll be. Wonder Hubby (who will be a fantastic father) and I talk a lot about how we want to raise our children, and I'm learning to be faithful that I'll just know, or feel, what's best for my kids, and when I don't, I'll know who to ask. Failing those two things, we'll continue to be smart, and figure it out. We'll have good days and bad days. Some days we won't be the best parents in the world and we'll make poor decisions. But we will have our children's best interests squarely in our minds all the time. And we will love them like nobody else can.

And I think that no matter what unsolicited advice or opinions or commentary we get, I'll just need to learn to take deep breaths, smile as genuinely as possible, and say thank you.

I can give 'em the finger later, when they're not looking.


Crimson Rambler said...

I decide to take a wee break and look at some blogs, starting with yours...and the header "Motherhood" comes up...and I bith my thongue and now I can'th thathte my coffee...

Jan said...

Though this is rather early to suggest, I'm going to anyway. Last night I had dinner with a dear friend--we met when we were pregnant with our first children, who are now 28! We were both agreeing that La Leche League taught us to be such good, loving parents. So that's my suggestion--look into La Leche League when you get pregnant. It's an organization that is pro breastfeeding, but it also endorses a parenting style based on "loving guidance." I learned so much through their mother-to-mother support. (I have four children, ages 28-18, so obviously I am much older than you! Probably I'm the age of YOUR mother).

Anyway, glad you visited and liked my icons.

Identity Mixed said...

Oh yes, give them the finger. You have no clue how many times you will have like that. And no matter what people say to you, it will be the wrong thing at the wrong time!

The other day, someone actually said to me, "Wow! Your kids are really bundled up!" Huh? As opposed to being naked in 30 degrees? What do you want?

It's human nature to criticize unfortunately. And women are the WORST!