Waving my white flag

supermoms

Ok, SuperMoms, this one’s for you. I’m giving up trying to compete with you.

There are children out there living with abusive parents, kids with no food, no shelter, no hope while you spout off about organic-free-range-quinoa-essential oil-attachment parenting-rear-facing-five-point-harness bullshit relentlessly.

Listen to me:

If a child is fed and clothed, it doesn’t matter if the sustenance came from a breast or a bottle or whether the clothing is organic cotton. Formula isn’t poison no matter how many times you say it is. Stop raining judgement down on mothers about whose situation you know nothing. Some kids are picky eaters, too, so bragging about your kale-chip eating kids to the mom finding it difficult to feed her kid anything remotely healthy doesn’t help. You realise some adults are picky, too, right? It happens, and they’ll be just fine.

If a child is strapped into a car seat approved by the government, why do you feel compelled to force your opinions on people about the age their child should move to a new seat? Does it somehow make you feel like you love your child more because you’ve left them rear-facing till they graduate high school? The seats on the market are tested and approved; making a parent feel any kind of guilt about the one they’ve chosen isn’t helpful, it’s cruel.

If a family gets sleep, exactly how they make that happen is none of your concern. Maybe crying-it-out isn’t for you, that’s ok, but it works for some people and again: none of your business. And if you’re not into co-sleeping, that’s ok, too, but know that the call for others isn’t yours. Even when you think it’s in everyone’s best interest to agree with you, remember that opinions are not facts.

Buying pink for girls isn’t going to turn them into pining princesses awaiting rescue. Telling boys they’re “handsome” won’t reinforce negative gender roles.

Cloth diapering isn’t worth arguing over. Toddlers with soothers? Who cares. Extended breastfeeding, McDonald’s Happy Meals, screen time. . . if all the energy used to argue and judge was put into consciously parenting our kids so they grow into happy, caring members of society, I think that’d be a really great thing.

This comes to you from an attachment-parenting, long-term breastfeeding, bed-sharing, McDonald’s-eating, disposable-diapering, alternative-learning supporting person (whose kids eat kale chips and sushi) who just really feels like it’s time to move past all the judging and support one another in this hard-enough journey of motherhood.

xo

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Alex

93 thoughts on “Waving my white flag

  1. oh, you!! Why couldn’t you have moved next door to me? we could have swapped diapers, kale chips, mcdonalds fries and white flags?? LOVE this!!

    1. Maybe it’s because my kids are older now, but I’m so sick of the harsh judgement on new moms in particular. It is SO HARD raising kids, and all that other stuff is such crap.

      You know I’m getting McD’s for lunch, now, right? πŸ˜‰

  2. I am about to lay this sort of thing on some of the moms at home school group that harp on the choices other mothers make. The biggest one in our group is food.. I might KILL MY CHILD IF THEY EAT SOY, WHEAT, CORN, and AOIHGLNVEUOHVUHE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which basically means, buy it only at the co-op or don’t bother feeding them because they will die of some food thingie. It’s crazy making. Thank you for writing this! πŸ˜€

  3. Totally agree. But I also feel that people are really oversensitive about feeling judged nowadays. Just b/c I broach a topic or have an opinion that differs from yours doesn’t meant I’m bragging, criticizing, or challenging you. My telling you what works for me and my family is NOT the the same thing as my saying your way is wrong or bad. How else do we learn and grow if not by talking to parents who think differently from us? People need to chill the eff out about feeling judged all the time. You have your way, I have my way, let’s chat freely about our strategies and habits and learn from each other instead of feeling judged or pissy.

    1. Oh, definitely, I agree. Some people feel judged about ever.ery.thing. BUT… I do think there’s a way to state opinions without casting a judgey feeling out there. I mean, I do plenty of crunchy things, but I sure hope people don’t feel like I’m judging them for NOT doing them.

  4. Alex, your spontaneous opinions are the best! I truly love when you speak your mind, but the overall message is clear! Way to go chicky, sharing this today! πŸ™‚ xo

    1. I wish I’d known in 2005 when I got pregnant what I know now, but will never need to use since I’ll never have another baby. Such is life, eh?

  5. Agreed!!!

    I caught myself being judgmental a few years back and had to redirect my thoughts once I found myself in the same situation. I used to wonder why Katie Holmes and Jennifer Garner would always carry around their 5 year old girls…aren’t they big enough to walk by themselves? Yeah, I knew that they were celebrities trying to keep their kids safe, but just the age thing seemed weird to me. Until I had a girl of my own. My baby girl will be 6 in June, and I still carry her ALL THE TIME. There will be the day that she won’t want me to anymore, or she will be too big, but for now she asks for it, I love it, and I can’t imagine not carrying her right next to me through stores, talking about our days and giggling together. So gulp, I learned my lesson there!

    Loved this post. We all need to just enjoy motherhood-however we get through it, treasure every moment because it goes by so fast, and support each other through it all, as sisters going down the same road. πŸ™‚

    1. Robin, funny you should mention that, because I did the SAME THING before I had kids. I always say that since becoming a parent, I’ve eaten a dictionary’s worth of my own words.

  6. Love this, and love you even more now! I’m very much like you where I have always been in the middle of parenting styles, and I feel like I would be judged a little bit here and there from mommy friends on both sides of the spectrum. Good job!

    1. Yeah, it’s a weird position to be in, isn’t it? I get mocked for my crunchiness by some, and rejected for the rest by others.

      Meh.

  7. I LOVE THIS.

    I kept seeing that video of the two kids in the car this weekβ€”the Gangnam Style one. Shared and shared and shared.

    AND THEN.

    People were sharing it…with ARROWS AND POINTS pointing out how horrible the parents are because the straps are too loose, the kid is too small to be in booster, the baby is too small to be forward-facing.

    And I was just…REALLY? This is what people do now?
    REALLY?!

    1. This is the only thing that gets me judgy, oh and I’m judgy, are the over parenting, safety OBSESSED people. because they are making MY life difficult and interfering in MY kids lives. Grrr. My 12 yr old needs to lose, fail and fall. Kind of hard when we have “silent” soccer weeks and scoreless games not too mention all the things she can’t do at school b/c it’s not “safe”….. Not flag waving here I’m being vocal. Very very vocal. πŸ˜‰

  8. Love this. I try not to take in the more judge-y stuff out there, but on a bad day, that’s really hard.

    I try to remember that most of us are struggling to do it Right, whatever our Right is. Online we’re all trying to put our best face forward, whether it’s being perfect, reveling in our less-than-perfectness, or somewhere in between.

    I figure no matter what I do as a parent, someone will think I’m an asshole. So I’ll just do the best I can for my kid and hope she comes out all right at the end. Or help pay for the therapy.

  9. When I read SuperMom blog posts, one thing that really jumps out at me is that NO SUPERMOM IN THE WORLD appears to have a child over the age of ten.

    What good advice will SuperMom have when her son refuses to clean his room and no amount of positive reinforcement and behaviour modification brouhaha will make him do it? When her in-the-throes-of-early-adolescent-PMS daughter flies into a rage at the smallest thing? When her fifteen year old son comes home stinking of pot? When her daughter gets an STI? When that sixteen year old boy comes home two hours after curfew AGAIN, even though the cell phone and Xbox were confiscated last week? When, no positive new age parenting techniques in the universe can force her child to attend classes instead of heading to the mall?

    Here’s a secret about the parents of teenagers: typically, we don’t think we’re better than anyone else, because for all our expensive gear and organic granola, our teenagers are just as rotten as the ones who ate Kraft Dinner and kept their pacifier until they were six.

    Not always of course…

    1. That is so true! Now that mine are almost 11 and 8 I have an even harder time listening to all those moms of toddlers go on and on and on. I just want to scream
      “It’s not a competition!” All of our boys are going to be pimply, horny, mouthy, and awkward in a couple of years whether they eat organic kale chips or not! Get over it.

    2. I wonder, though, if that’s because this is a relatively new phenomenon, and that these moms will be chirping about this stuff as their kids age? It’ll be interesting to watch, for sure. I read an article about a kid who ate nothing but cucumbers and crackers for about 2 years, and he’s a healthy adult now. It all works out, period.

  10. I have to add the whole daycare/working mom/stay-at-home-mom decision. Sometimes you need to go back to work, sometimes you’re lucky enough to not need to, sometimes you want to, sometimes you may feel your kid isn’t ready for daycare or will be just fine … the decision I make will be the right one for my family, and there is a lot of judgment on me every time someone learns my thoughts on this for my family. “Your baby is still so young, you can’t possibly go back to work yet” or “daycare is best, your baby will learn faster being around other kids” is NOT HELPFUL, it’s judgey. Just empathize with my thoughts, please!

  11. Nice piece. My 7 kids all grew up, survived, and lived to tell the tale. Now they make their own choices.
    From a former breastfeeding, cloth diapering, natural mothering, family bed loving, pre-car seat GramMom.

  12. Yay! Let’s hear it for “whatever works”. I have yet to see the one perfect answer or best way to do anything related to living. Well said, Alex.
    Shanon

  13. Amen sistah! Amen! I’ve got both the picky eater and the one who’ll eat anything. The one who listens to whatever I say and the one who doesn’t. I’m doing my best but always get some sort of judgement that my best isn’t the best. I think it’s great to say the things one thinks is working great for them but it’s another thing to say that this is the only doctrine allowed. I loved that you wrote this. It needed to be said.

    1. Ugh, I hear you. I have one of each and I’m just about done with the judging. Do the best we can, that’s all. xo

  14. Thank you for sharing that you didn’t use re-usable diapers! Almost ALL my friends use them and I have felt huge guilt for not (partly b/c I bought them then decided it was too much friggen laundry…seriously!). Great post! Will subscribe!

    1. Hey Tina, full disclosure: we did *try* cloth diapers with our daughter but she had rash after rash after rash, and I just gave up. πŸ™‚

  15. Great post Alex…
    We are all guilty of it at one time or another…And it’s crazy..
    It’s not just mothers it is women in general that are so hard on each other…

    ps… I love hotdogs with dill pickle chips one them…and so do my kids…

  16. From one attachment-parenting, long-term breastfeeding, bed-sharing, McDonald’s-eating, disposable-diapering, alternative-learning supporting person to another, well said and thank you!

  17. When my daughter was expecting for her first and she was so scared, I told her it couldn’t be sooooo hard, cause people all over the planet were doing it. People who never finished high school, people who never went to any school, people of every tribe and nation. She could do it to, if she just loved her baby. She is loving baby #2 now and is a WONDERFUL mother!

  18. I’m pretty sure that if one were to look up “awesome” in the dictionary, one would see a little picture of our dear Alexandria. I have never claimed to be the perfect parent (like that exists) but I know one thing… Anyone who has met my girls thinks they’re pretty amazing, smart & a delight to be around.

    Hmmm, maybe I am the perfect parent…

    (Big Mac for dinner last night. Ooooo yeah)

  19. AGREE!! With all the ‘rules’ for kids nowadays… I don’t know how any of my generation survived!!

  20. Love this! I’m always reminded about how amazing a mom everyone is until they actually have kids! I so wish everyone would learn to use their energy for good instead of evil! Mmm…. fries….. πŸ˜‰

    1. Oh, my favourite saying is I’ve eaten a dictionary’s worth of words since having kids!

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