It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is judging someone else’s ability to mother their children. You know…the ones that God entrusted you to care for. What makes it worse is that it’s usually other mothers who are doing all the judging. Other mothers who are also being judged by someone else and who should know better. Bully Moms. Sometimes it’s people who actually mean well, but have a poor way of showing it, and sometimes it’s people who don’t even have children who like to tell you how to raise yours.
When I had my first child, I was 23 years old. I had just finished college with my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. I was not married, and I had moved back in with my mom who often helped with the baby so I could work. So I was a new mom with a new career (a challenging one at that), and half the time, I had no idea what I was doing. I relied on my mom and other women that I trusted to lead and guide me in raising my daughter.
I quickly realized that there were many opinions on all things motherhood. Did I breastfeed or formula feed? What brand of diapers did I use? Did I send my child to daycare? What about vaccinations? Why is she not eating solids yet?
I was stressed out! I was doing the absolute best that I knew to do. I felt darned if I did, and darned if I didn’t. Either decision that I made, someone was there to tell me that I should have done it the other way!
Fast forward 11 years and 3 more kids later…..
I couldn’t care less about the opinions of others on how I am raising my kids. This is really a liberating feeling for all of you who are still struggling with this. This, for me, came with time and experience. I realized that I was killing this mom thing doing it my own way even on the days that I really screwed up! YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO OWN YOUR OWN MOTHERHOOD! Do not allow these trolls to steal your joy! Sometimes they don’t even realize what they are doing, but they still make you feel crappy. Own your decisions! Own your successes and your failures! These moms who are all critical don’t tell you where they are falling short, and believe me, they are falling short! We all do in some area. We are human and imperfect, but that does not make me or you a bad mom.
I am a Registered Nurse and I am well aware of the textbook guidelines for raising children, although even the textbooks are often contradictory. I feel like I make pretty good judgment calls most of the time. I try to put my kids to bed at a decent time. They brush their teeth most mornings and nights. I cook healthy dinners a few nights a week. They bathe most nights. But sometimes we eat fast food, they fall asleep before they brush their teeth and bathe, and I let them stay up too late and don’t make them brush their hair. Oh…and sugar. My kids eat sugar. Not straight out of the bag though. That would make me a bad mother.
I have breastfed and formula fed. I have used name brand diapers and store brand diapers. I let my kids run barefoot in the summertime. They drink from the water hose. I vaccinate. Sometimes I forget to bring their favorite cup to daycare.. oops.
And I am OK with this….all of it.
Do you want to know why? Because God gave them to me to raise, not you. He knows the needs of my children, and He knows that I am the only person designed to meet every one of these needs. He knows the number of hairs on each little head. Of course He knows what kind of mother they need! And He chose ME. The needs of my children are not the same as the needs of yours. This, my friend, is why we all need to stop listening to those finger-pointing mamas that want nothing more than to shame us for the decisions that we are making for our kids. Our kids have different needs, and so God gave them different mothers. Let’s not forget that God also knows our needs, and He sent just the kiddos that we needed.
So the next time someone tries to tell you that you are doing it wrong, or tries to make you feel guilty or inadequate for decisions that you are making, just let them know that you appreciate their concern, but that you’ve got this. Stand firm in your motherhood. Don’t back down or make apologies for your choices. Or you could tell them to go jump off a cliff.