C- section or natural childbirth. Medication-free childbirth. Homebirth. Breastfeeding.
Eating all organic. Gluten-free. Grind your own wheat and raise chickens for the eggs.
Homeschooling. Unschooling. Co-Ops with copious amounts of homework.
It can become a mommy brag-fest. The questions I get asked and conversations I can get dragged into can take a turn into some sort of “we only” or “I never” flavor and the mother I am speaking with begins to explain to me the merits of her methodology. It’s as though she is keeping score on a game I never agreed to play. I get one point because the babies all came out of my vagina, but I lose that point quickly because I took pain medication. I then get half a point back because although I took the pain medication, three times out of eleven it did not work. Silly me, I obviously did not know the risks involved with epidurals. Now she is going to educate me.
Oh, I only breastfed 12 children, and only one for over a year? I obviously don’t get points for any of them except the one I nursed for one year. Any good mommy must meet or exceed the twelve months expectation. I actually chose to bottlefeed three children? Didn’t I know that those children would be less bonded to me, less intelligent? Any point I may have gotten for breastfeeding only one child for over a year is now seriously in question. And since my children eat Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms, I must not know all the dangers of processed foods. How is it that of all the children no one is allergic to gluten or struggles with red dye #whatever? And once they discover I actually use store bought bread that is non-organic, I get an earful on the health merits of freshly ground grains and cost benefits.
I homeschool, but since I use a curriculum that I did not devise myself I obviously didn’t poor enough time and stress into the process. If I was really good at this parenting thing, I would just unschool and let my kiddos discover the world for themselves using intuition and free play. Since I don’t lead or participate in any co-ops, and my children don’t stay up all hours of the night completing projects and writing assignments to compete against other homeschoolers, my dedication is in question.
Oh my, this game is tiring.
And I don’t want to play.
Moms, can we all just give each other a break, for Heaven’s sake?
If you’ve had a c-section, it probably saved your baby’s life, thank God! The fact that I never have does not make me a better mom. I really do not care if they pull the child out of my nostril, as long as it is breathing. Yes, I take drugs during labor…anything legal they can shoot right through my veins. But if you want to go and feel all the pain, or maybe you feel strongly that God has led YOU to experience childbirth that way, then good on ya’. I don’t personally think homebirth is the way to go, I believe it is risky and unsafe. But if YOU are convinced, then it is your risk. No points given and no medal received. Breastfeeding is wonderful, when it works. The only people who give bonus points for these kinds of things are the people who have no idea how completely unimportant each of these decisions are when it comes to RAISING AN AMAZING CHILD.
What you feed them (organic or Lucky Charms and Mickey D’s) pales in importance to how you feed them – all around the dining room table discussing the day and laughing together. Where you educate them or what curriculum you use is miniscule if the child does not value education, experience, exposure, and hard work and then decide to become a life-long learner. Co-ops are wonderful for filling in gaps where parents feel inadequate to teach, but if mom is spending more time running around, then are you really HOMEschooling? If you are never HOME?
It’s like these moms expect some sort of reward or trophy and deny those of us who don’t play the game or feel their pressure a place on the field.
Ladies, it’s enough to just give your body over to birth a baby. It’s adequate to devote yourself to “training them up in the way they should go.” Let’s not split hairs or attempt to measure excellence. Let’s instead build one another up, encouraging each other…not build ourselves up with ever increasing bragging rights using self-devised scales of sacrifice.
And if you raise chickens and enjoy the eggs because it’s fun, then fantastic! If you send junior to public school, I’m not judging you because I homeschool. I got enough on my plate to be concerned about without discounting any of your decisions. I am just here to encourage you. We may parent differently or disagree on HOW we do things, but I believe with you that we can raise a generation of world-changers. And in some circles I may not go home with a trophy for my decisions on nutrition, child-birth or education…but I know in Heaven, our Exceedingly Great Reward will welcome us and say, “well-done.” And He’s the only one any of us play for anyhow.