Oh wait, you don’t breastfeed your baby? You don’t co-sleep with your baby? You don’t swaddle? You do swaddle? You do co-sleep with your baby?! You feed your child non-organic food? You feed your child meat? You have a nanny? You work? You’re a stay-at -home mother? Did you circumcise? You didn’t circumcise? Oh my goodness, no, you don’t…..you don’t vaccinate your children do you?
If you answered yes or no to even one of the above questions, then I’m sorry, but you clearly aren’t a good mother. Not as good as the mothers who either did or didn’t use one or all of the aforementioned parenting tools. You’re like, the Amber from ‘Teen Mom’ of mothers. Jeez. Why don’t you know how wrong your choices are?
Whew! Its exhausting just pretending to judge everyone else’s mothering abilities, I have to hand it to all the women who do it professionally. And by professionally, I mean, clog up their Facebook pages, their conversations, their websites, their blogs, with constant reminders of how much better what they do for their children is, than what you do.
But, you know, I really have to respect their confidence as well. No kidding. I’m a quaking jello mold of crippling guilt and uncertainty concerning my parenting skills. It must feel so good to just know that everything you’re doing is the best thing, and will definitely NOT result in your child’s future as a homeless street musician.
Here’s what I know I’m good at:
Buying baby clothes.
Here’s what I agonize over:
Feeding the baby. Cleaning the baby. Is he warm enough? Is he too warm? How much he sleeps. The quality of his sleep. Do I give him enough affection? Am I smothering him? Is he normal? Is he falling behind? Will he get some girl pregnant in high school? Is that a smear of his poop on the coffee table?
I’ve been blessed with the inability to presume that I’m doing anything correctly as a mother, so you know what I really don’t need? I really don’t need to open my Facebook page and get a nasty slap from a link to an article telling me that the flu shot I just took is going to kill my unborn fetus, or that the vaccination I just authorized for my baby is going to render him developmentally disabIed. It really burned me up to see the suggestion to someone who was offering formula coupons on a trade and barter site that they should, “burn them.” Wow.
Here’s the thing, I don’t want any harm to come my child. No mother does. Here’s the other thing, I can read. We all can. We all see the same news bulletins and essays and articles concerning pregnancy, childbirth, vaccinations, and child rearing. We do our research and make our informed decisions and thank you so much, but we don’t need to be reminded( day after day) that there are other schools of thought. We KNOW. I recently asked a friend on Facebook what she was feeding her baby. Simple question, right? She sent me a private email explaining that she didn’t dare to answer me in the public comment thread because she knew she would be attacked by “Breast is Best” advocates about her use of formula! Holy Hell. I don’t even want to repeat the cliche about how I wasn’t breastfed, and look at me, I’ve never even had a cavity( true!), but oops, I just did repeat it, and for good reason! Breast is best, but formula isn’t toxic. In fact, its pretty damn good.
Do you beat your kids senseless? Do you starve them? Do you withhold all love and affection? Do you tell them they aren’t worthy?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then I think we have an issue. If not, then my guess is you are doing your very best at the hardest, hardest job. And you’re probably doing terrific-ly. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I could reeeeaally use one less sleepless, staring bug-eyed at the ceiling, doubting my every decision night, compliments of a ” helpful” reminder about the irreversible trauma I’ve caused my son by…..[ fill in alarmist rant here.]
Dial it down, ladies, dial it down. If you’ve never had a moment of doubt, never thought you were the worst mother in the world, then continue on as you are. But, for those of us who do have doubts and guilt and worries, and I’m pretty sure we all do, then maybe we need to think the next time we offer another mother unsolicited advice. Is it really helping her? Really preventing disaster? Or is it just slumping her shoulders a little further down?