Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Reclaiming the Mommy Wars

At some point last year, I was in a very low place about my parenting. Exhausted, short-tempered and largely without joy.

OK, if I'm honest, I feel that way more than I should.

But on that particular day, I recognized what was happening. I was buying into the facebook picture of parenthood. The happy, smiling children dressed in immaculate outfits that, while they look expensive, were somehow bought on clearance at a fair-trade, environmentally responsible store. The ones with kids eating out and not losing their minds in restaurants and pictures of 10 hour road trips with patient kids who would prefer to live in their carseats than anywhere else. The parents who were well-groomed and confident of every single parenting choice they have ever made.

You know the feeling. Your life is full of mess and noise and chaos and children who believe that carseats are the actual lap of Satan and everyone else is frolicking in a field of unicorns.

And the comparison causes you to lose heart. To feel like each choice you make is wrong. That you are no good at this.

I SO OFTEN feel that I am no good at this, friends.

And add in the mommy wars? Perpetually being told that there is a better way, a healthier way, a Godlier way...a WHATEVER way, that you aren't doing?

And we can drown. We can just drown in unmet expectations, in fears, in being unable to see our own strengths and recover from our own failures.

So on that day, I chose to do something else than just drink coffee, put in my earplugs and wish my kids would use their words. I was a part of an online moms group. Mostly, we shared about life online with each other. Occasionally we would meet up and do something if it could work out all the crazy alignments of naps and moods. But on that day, I just asked a few simple questions.

What do you excel at as a parent? What's hard for you or an area you need growth?

And then watched as people commented. As we rejoiced in what other people were good at. As we felt better about the areas in which we struggle when we heard that maybe other people do, too. We cheered for each other. We laughed. We were together in this thing.

Do we agree about everything in the larger sphere? Nope. I'm sure there are vast differences on what we think about vaccines or breastfeeding or school choice or religion or even who we just voted for in this election.

But, friends, we don't have to let our differences destroy us as parents. I can rejoice that a friend of mine loves the baby stage and thrives on her children needing her while I usually just feel exhausted and overwhelmed by touch and noise when they are little. And she can rejoice that I can put on a pretty awesome dance party for my kids once they learn to walk even if she is embarrassed to even attempt the electric slide.

It doesn't have to be a competition. It can be a chance to rejoice.

So, today, I don't know how you're feeling.

I don't know if you are discouraged or comparing yourself or feeling DONE with this parenting thing. I have been there, oh, how I have been there more times than I would like to remember. Maybe you are flying high on a parenting win. That's awesome. I love it.

No matter where you are, let's take a moment to share.

What do you excel at? And what's hard?

And then let's sit back in wonder and joy as we see the vast gifts and passions of those who surround us shared in a way that can, actually, only make us better at this crazy thing we call parenting.

1 comment:

  1. As an oldie, my advice to young mothers is simple:
    1- Don't over think everything.
    2- Stop beating yourself're just fine.
    3- Just BE the person that you want your kids to be, they ARE watching and the DO learn what they live.
    That's it...keep these 3 things in mind and you'll be OK... and so will they! LOVE, LISA D