Kindness. This world of mommies can get tough. It’s easy to find yourself on the receiving side of judgment from other mommies but it is also not a stretch to catch ourselves passing judgment on those other mommies out there.
If you’ve been here much you know that I run a daycare in my home. I don’t talk about it very often. Recently though I had a conversation with a new mom that made me think of how we treat each other and got me thinking about the company girls that Rachel fosters over at Home Sanctuary.
I’ll start off by telling you that this is just the cutest, sweetest baby! She has a wonderful mom and dad that are doing their best to figure out this parenting thing, and doing a great job of it. You can see the love for their baby every time they walk through the door. The other night at pick up time the mom and I were chatting a little, as she was the last to pick up that day. I was asking how things were going. Her father died very recently (maybe a month ago) and she had surgery less than two weeks after that…a tough time for her. She admitted that she was feeling guilty over sitting her little girl in front of Dora for half an hour the day before so she could get a couple of things done, like supper and a couple phone calls. Part of me wanted to laugh a little and tell her that she’d have so many more things to feel guilty about that this wouldn’t seem like much. Instead I reassured her that 30 minutes in front of Dora would not do lasting damage. She said that it is so hard because some people can react so negatively to these kinds of things.
And my heart went out to her. I don’t know if she was referring to family, friends or co-workers…but does it matter? How often do we see someone do something and instantly judge it? We think they must not have the proper info on that topic or they surely would make a different parenting choice. Then some of us make it our job to “inform” the woman. Sometimes we keep that label applied to that other mommy. Any of this sound familiar, or am I on my own here?
Now obviously I’m not talking about choices that hurt a child, physically or emotionally. I’m talking about run of the mill parenting choices…
What I wish I would have told her is that there will always be people who don’t like your parenting style and there will always be people out there that you disagree with and that you think should make different parenting choices. Sometimes that will even be your husband. But if the LOVE is there, isn’t that the important part? If it isn’t hurting the child and the parents act out of love…can’t that be enough sometimes?
Shouldn’t we go easier on each other?
I say this as I realize the irony. As a child care provider I am accustomed to putting children’s needs above my own. I attend many trainings on child development, nutrition, etc… I can definitely get in my head how I think a child should be dealt with and raised. There are parents who bring their children here who I wish would put a piece of fruit on the kids’ plate once in a while already! But I temper that with reminders that being a working parent is hard and they are doing other things really well.
One day a mom came with a little girl (about 20 months old) that had a HUGE goose egg on her head. She’d fallen out of the back of a shopping cart over the weekend. The mom said that the dad was furious with her for letting that happen. She looked at me sympathetically and said “but doesn’t everybody let their kids ride back there?” I couldn’t lie. I don’t. I think its dangerous! I know many do allow it and I told her that too. I said that while that has never fallen into my safety zone, I was sure that there were things I probably allowed (with my own children) that she never would.
I could think of so many instances where my style doesn’t mesh with friends or family. I’m sure you could too. It’s alright. None of us mommies, out there doing the best we can, are bad people. We are all just a work in progress, learning as we go. That is why it is important to build a network of friends that can support us even when they don’t agree, because they know our hearts are in the right place. We don’t have to go it alone. This is good because have I mentioned that in a few short weeks I will have a teenager? Yikes. I’ll need some kindness then.
Love and kindness. Life is good if you’ve got those.