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A friend of mine asked me to write a post about Mommy Wars. She had recently taken a Facebook fast and when she returned, she was so discouraged at the hatred that is spewed between moms all over the internet over our mothering choices.
“Why can’t everyone just accept that they parent the way they see fit to raise their children? Why does different have to be wrong?”
I think the answer is that we want justification. Because if someone else agrees with our choices then we must be doing the right thing. And if someone doesn’t, well, they must be doing the wrong thing because we have to be right.
It’s a lot harder to just own your choices and decisions without others justifying them, and to be be okay with others doing the same.
I had this realization a few months ago that I feel a lot more secure in my mothering, even more than, say, a year ago. I’m feeling less of a need to defend every choice I make for myself and my family. Because I’m realizing it just doesn’t really matter to anyone but my family what decisions I make.
And so I have to ask you…
So you don’t use cloth diapers. So you had a home birth. So you use Young Living instead of doTerra. So you don’t let your kids watch Calliou or Dora. So you homeschool. So you use formula. So your kids are on such-and-such schedule or sleep training routine. So you don’t wear yoga pants. So your kids don’t eat gluten. So you don’t use birth control. So attachment parenting didn’t work for your child. So you have chronic fatigue syndrome and can’t keep your house clean. So you don’t do Santa. So your three-year-old doesn’t go to preschool. (Ahem…calling myself out here.)
So what? What does it really matter?
I get it. Your choices matter to YOU…that’s why you made them. And no one wants to feel alone in her choices. But really, outside of the people within your home, whom do YOUR choices really affect?
And if that answer is, well, really, no one, then why do we share them, argue about them, and justify them in the first place? You aren’t changing anyone’s mind (at least not from what I’ve seen). All you are doing is frustrating yourself by seeking validation from other moms instead of resting secure in your own ability to make good decisions. (Because, you know, we all have brains. Sometimes they just come to different conclusions.)
So just stop. Stop rushing to your own defense. Stop sharing every choice you make for your family.
Your choices don’t need to be announced, let alone defended or justified. Because they are YOUR choices.
Our family recently made a choice. A choice that when we sought advice for said choice we received a lot of conflicting advice. A choice we were conflicted about ourselves for a long time. A choice that if I told you about, some of you would probably majorly disagree with us for. But we made it. And it’s working for our family. And oh…I have been SO tempted to blog about it. To share the thought and research that went into this choice. To explain the whys and the hows. To make you understand why it’s okay even though a lot of people say that it isn’t.
But I’m not gonna. Because…really. So what? What does this choice matter to you?
The truth is that it doesn’t. What we do in our home doesn’t affect you at all. So I’m just going to keep it to myself and move on.
So the next time someone leaves a comment on your status telling you to try this or that you shouldn’t do that or have you looked at this or read this article, ask yourself, “So what?”
The next time that one friend posts about the poison that is sunscreen or her unassisted birth and you want so badly to defend your own choices, as, yourself as yourself, “So what?”
The next time you find your hands hovering over the draft of a blog post entitled “Why our family does/doesn’t xyz…” ask yourself “So what?”
Own your own choices without needing external justification. And let the rest of the moms in the world do the same.
And then step away from your Facebook and go have a living room dance party to The-Song-That-Should-Be-The-Anthem-Of-All-Moms-Everywhere. You will come back a nicer person.