The Mommy Complex
There are a million books about parenting. Seriously. For every technique of sleep-training, there is a counter technique that is so much better. For every opinion about birth, there are 20 other opinions to consider, and they all believe whole-heartedly that there's is better.
First of all, I want to say that I have never had a baby before. I've never raised a child, so I understand that it's pretty impossible for me to form any concrete opinions on things that I have yet to experience.
But it always amazes me how many people out there, know how to have and raise my baby better than my husband and I do.
I would like to think, and in some instances I do believe, that some motherly advice comes from a genuine spirit of helpfulness. I greatly appreciate, and have even asked for advice, from some mothers whom I greatly respect and admire!
But isn't it enough that first time moms have to figure out
how to prepare financially for a child
how to prepare your home for a child
how to prepare your relationship for a child
what in the world to register for
what in the world not to register for...
without all of the million unsolicited opinions and criticisms from mothers who may have done it differently?
I truly welcome words of wisdom from moms who want to share what worked best for their families, and even go so far as to ask for it sometimes!
But when wisdom turns into criticism, I wonder where the line is.
The way I see it, there are several different types of Mothers. There are the "Super Moms" who
have their spices organized in pretty little mason jars in their pantry
cook amazing meals every night for their husbands
breastfeed their babies with no pain
have spotless homes
wonderfully dressed children
teach Sunday School
and still have the energy to make love to their husbands at night.
They can make other moms feel like they aren't good enough. -- It's quite a lofty goal to be this woman. The "Super Mom" usually criticizes for doing any type of sleep-training and why on earth would you even consider an epidural?! And I'm sure is one of the reasons why women all over the world feel discouraged as wives and mothers.
Then there are the "'Bad' Moms", these mothers will
make other moms feel ridiculously crazy for wanting to pick up their babies when they cry
they'll roll their eyes whenever you discuss the awesomeness of baby wearing
or how much you desperately want to breastfeed
or God-forbid natural childbirth.
They brag about how their children have had McDonalds everyday this week, and proudly flaunt their carefree, go-with-the-flow attitude and wear their "I-haven't-killed-my-children-today" badge of honor. These Moms make it nearly impossible to discuss the joys of motherhood because it seems that all they want to talk about is how crazy being a Mom is. It can also be difficult to disagree with a 'bad' mom because they seem to think that anything other than convenience is just plain crazy.
I'm not saying that these are the only two types of mothers that I've observed, but they are definitely the two largest categories I've personally seen.
I admit, I suffer from a competitive spirit and am guilty of judging the lady in the grocery store and her screaming child. But I so desperately don't want to raise my daughter that way.
I'm also not saying that there shouldn't be days where you confide in your friends that that pile of laundry has been sitting in the dryer for over a week now. These things happen, and if they happen frequently - that's okay too.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't post a picture of the fabulous lasagna you made from scratch for dinner - way to go!
We should be able to celebrate with, pray with and laugh with other moms in their victories and their defeats.
We need to surrender the comparison game to the Lord.
It's unhealthy and only broods bitterness and resentment. I say this as a woman who has struggled with it her whole life, and repeatedly commits it over to the Lord.
My wise mother-in-law said it best, when she said to me "Why would I tell you how to raise your children? God gave them to you, not me. If He wanted me to raise them, He would've given them to me."
I'll say it again, I have never experienced childbirth -- so I don't have a birth plan. I have never raised a child -- so I don't have a 'method'. But I pray that as motherhood quickly approaches, I will possess the same spirit that my mother-in-law does. Every child is different, thus every woman will be a different mother.
How awesome would it be, if mothers didn't have anything to prove to other mothers, and we could all just figure out how in the world to love our children best?