Dear Moms, Here’s Why I Don’t Care If You Work
By Julie Maida (Huffington Post)
April 17, 2015
"I understand, appreciate, and accept that the decisions you make for your family have nothing to do with me. Your life is not mine to dictate or judge, and how you live it is none of my business. I respect your right to raise your family and live happily however you choose, without my input or assistance."
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"I care about your thoughts and feelings, and how they the choices you make. I know we can learn from each other, if we feel and think differently about things -- if we can allow each other the freedom to be genuine. It is absolutely possible for me to honor your perspective and view points, even if I don't share or agree with them."
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"Because under all the details, labels, and hats we wear -- behind all of the masks and titles -- we're all just scared to death, doing the very best we can, and hoping it's enough."
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"I care about what matters, and I really don't care about the rest."
- Julie Maida
As I have mentioned before, I believe these apparent 'Mommy Wars' stem from our inevitable insecurities as new Moms. From the very beginning, when our adorable, yummy, soft, cozy, pink, warm baby is delivered into this world, we are at once and forever vulnerable. Vulnerable to the incessant 'what-ifs' that inevitably arrive with motherhood. What if I am not feeding her enough? What if she climbs out of the crib? What if she falls down the stairs? What if she chokes on that grape? AND, don't even get me started with what is yet to come....What if she gets in the car with a drunk driver (or drives drunk herself?) What if she gets her heart broken? What if she tries that drug?.....The list goes on and on. The worries and concerns are never ending. And it is all because of LOVE. All because this little bundle of love suddenly lassos our hearts and tugs on them forever.....
But, unfortunately for some, these insecurities can breed a darker side of human nature: the judgemental, righteous, and catty behavior. Everyone knows that 'Neighborhood Nelly,' the Mom who somehow always knows everyone's business and is quick to spread negative gossip about others. I am convinced these are the more rare breed of Moms, the most insecure and unhappy. It's the same psychology that applies to bullies: their insecurity and unhappiness causes mean behavior toward others. I would like to believe the vast majority of Moms are not in this camp. Rather, they are happy to acknowledge that we all make mistakes, we do NOT know it all, but we are all trying our best despite our different parenting styles.
As Maida states, "I hold absolutely no emotional attachment to your views regarding personal life choices. I don't care how you feel about my parenting styles, beliefs, what I'm wearing at the bus stop drop off..."
Thank goodness! Because anyone working at our school drop off can attest to my pajama or bed-head appearance on more than one occasion!
But, when it comes to parenthood, we all have much more in common than it may seem. Certainly, we all have different blessings, circumstances, and challenges. Yet, for all of us, the stakes are the same: we simply want the best for our children. Not the best clothing or sports equipment. We want the best physical, mental, and spiritual health for their well being. We want the best academic, civic, cultural, athletic, and social experiences and opportunities. And yet, who is to say what is 'best' when it comes to all of this? Just like every action has an equal and opposite reaction, every parenting decision likely has an equal and opposite outcome (pro and con). Hindsight is always 20/20. The best we can do is to use the information we have in the moment, carefully weigh the pros and cons, and hope we are making the right choices. And, what if we don't? Well, sometimes even bad choices can have silver linings in the long run. Sometimes, seemingly negative experiences can become learning, strength-building, grit-developing opportunities for our children. This is when we look to our faith, family support and love, and community.
Indeed, these inevitable failures and setbacks are actually good for our children. They are great character-building rights of passage, but they are still hard for parents to stomach. I know as my children grow up, I am going to have to work hard to give them proper freedom, to let them make their own choices, etc....This is essential for their authentic selves to develop, their moral compass to evolve, their independence and confidence to thrive. Yet, the 'what ifs' will continue as time marches on. I am just thankful to have my village of awesome Moms (both near and far) to help support me through this wild and crazy ride of Mommy-hood. We can vent our frustrations, commiserate over challenges, and bounce ideas off of each other. We can offer guidance, share stories, a drink, a laugh, or simply an open mind and heart. We can show up in our yoga-pants-on-backwards, and laugh with each other, not at each other. At least, this is the Mom I hope to be to my village ; )