I’m not sure if I was just clueless when I had my first baby or maybe it just wasn’t a thing yet, but in 2010, I didn’t feel the weight of the internet on my shoulders. In 2010, announcing a baby’s due date wasn’t followed by a string of questioning about personal family decisions. I wasn’t bombarded with statistics and hyperlinks and quotes. I was asked about my baby’s sex and if we had decided on a name. That’s it.
This past year, I was blessed to have my another baby.
And even though she was my third child, I felt the weight of the world judging me.
Waiting to shame me for my choices.
Would I vaccinate?
Would I use cloth diapers or disposables?
Would she be bottle fed or breast fed?
Thank goodness she wasn’t another boy I may damage with circumcision! It is all too much. Every time I learn that a young woman will become a mother for the first time, the first thing I say (after congratulations, of course!) is, “Do your own research, make your decisions, and don’t tell anyone!” It’s sad that we need to protect our families this way. But with the anonymity of the internet and our compulsive need to divulge to the world, we often find ourselves in the midst of a battle for our own children. We are robbing ourselves of happiness when we constantly talk and judge and compare. Why do I need to tell anyone my baby’s private medical information? Why do we feel any desire to explain our reasoning for disciplining our kids? Or why they can or cannot eat certain foods? You know what, I don’t have to. She is mine.
Why do we shame each other for choosing differently than we would choose? Why do we compare? I know how hard it is every single day just keeping my kids alive! Let alone living under the scrutiny of other moms – who are probably struggling just as much as I am. I know how hard I have it some days. Why do I judge other moms for having a hard time? Can’t we all just get along? There are days that I count down every minute until bed time and I feel bad about that. But I know that other moms have days like that too. Conversely, I have days that I love spending almost every moment with my kids, they get to stay up late, and we bake cookies. I love that feeling. And I don’t even care that some people may think I’m nuts for giving my kids sugar at 9pm! I have joy because of my children.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Let’s start today. Let’s stop talking about, posting about, and retweeting everything. Let us unite as moms! Stop sharing the inter-workings of your family and stop shaming those that do. I don’t want an argument over my kid’s punishment for that tantrum he threw in the store that I posted photos of on Facebook. So I probably shouldn’t post a photo like that. If we all stopped judging each other, and we all stopped divulging obsessively, I bet you and I could solve this problem. We can research for ourselves, weigh our options, make a choice, and live with what we have decided. Because it would be void of outside influence or fear of judgement. I bet we would be happier. A lot happier.
“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself and not his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.”
Are you exhausted from trying to please everyone? Tired of the judging? Maybe you too are guilty of the mom-shame. What can we do as a community of mothers to help raise each other up? Let’s pledge to be less judgey and more lovey. Today. Can you make that promise?