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Tag Archives: mommy wars

An Open Letter to a Battling Mommy

22 Aug

Dear Mom Who Is Judging Me For How I Raise My Child,

It’s going to be ok. No – really. I swear. I know you’re feeling insecure right now. I understand that you question your parenting decisions, and therefore stick to them fanatically in order to quell your lack of confidence.

But really – it’s going to be ok. You don’t need to yell about how right you are. You just do what’s right for you. I promise you that you don’t need the world’s approval to parent how you see fit.

We all question our parenting decisions. It’s part of being a parent. We all feel insecure. We’re all secretly afraid that we’ll somehow break the fragile beings we are in charge of. You’re not alone.

Like the other night, when I saw that my baby girl wasn’t liking the cucumber I gave her, and barely ate her bread and eggs? I admit – I gave her a cookie. Did I question that decision? Of course I did! Does that mean I now have to go out and judge and berate every mother that chooses NOT to give her child a cookie?  Hell to the no.

I also sometimes give my daughter jarred baby food for breakfast. I work full time, and I can’t find the time to puree fruit every day on top of the two other meals I cook for her.

Does that mean that I go out and give those who don’t cook at all the stink-eye? Or curse out a mother who gives their child only homemade food?  Of course not.

I gave up on breastfeeding when my daughter was 10 days old. I do not go out and berate women who breastfeed until their child is 3.

I speak to my daughter in a different language, so that she will hopefully be fluent in two languages her entire life. I do not curse out other bilingual moms for not doing the same. It’s hard! I don’t blame you if you don’t do it.

I do not believe that full-on cry-it-out sleep training is right for my daughter. But I would never insult someone who does.

Because like you, my dear insecure friend, I question my parenting choices.

But unlike you – I flaunt my insecurity. I share it with my friends. I share it on this blog. I embrace it.

I don’t try to mask it by entrenching myself in my decisions as if they were gospel I needed to preach to the masses.

You know why? Because every parent ends up screwing up their kid in some fashion.

Too much junk food.

Too little junk food.

Too much TV.

Too little TV.

Ingrained racism, or sexism. Or sleep problems, or materialism. Or irresponsibility. Or messiness.

My mom was awesome – and I’m an almost 34-year-old who has NO IDEA how to properly fold a shirt.

I also throw my shoes next to the couch when I come home. There’s literally a pile of shoes next to the couch. And I only noticed when my daughter attempted to put one in her mouth today. True story.

My mom was awesome, and I’m a slob.

I’ve also spent countless hours and countless dollars on intensive psychotherapy.

Because my mom tried really hard not to mess me up, because her parents messed her up. And as a result – she messed me up in a completely different, unexpected way.

And I’m ok with that.

Just like I’m ok with the fact that despite my best efforts, I will somehow mess up my child.

And it will probably come from a place I never imagined, because that’s how these things work.

My dear, sweet, insecure friend. Stop yelling. Stop posting sanctimonious preachy gifs and links on facebook. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax. Play some Candy Crush or something instead.

Because you really don’t need the world’s approval for your parenting decisions. Just like you have no right to approve or judge mine.

And I promise you, everything will be ok.

Just start saving up for those inevitable therapy bills in the future. I know I am.

Sincerely,

A Fellow Mom Who’s Doing Her Best

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At Least 10%

13 Dec

Updated to add – what I write about below is my opinion about what is right for ME. Each mom is entitled to her own choices. Let’s remember that in the comments section, please.

Ok bear with me here. I have to rant. So much so that even though both Bunny and I are sick, I told Shmerson he’s on his own for a little while because momma’s gotta blog.

I’ll try my best to keep it organized, but I apologize in advance if this is a little all over the place.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped speaking with a person who I considered a very close friend. We stopped speaking because I had the audacity to suggest to her that she stop breastfeeding, or at least give up some responsibility to her husband so she can get some sleep.

She told me that this was encouraging her to “be neglectful”.

Seriously.

Today, a person who I’ve been friends with for 17 (!) years posted an article on FB about women who are proud formula feeders and in the post, she said how selfish they are for doing it. She mentioned this didn’t count for women who tried and failed brea.st feeding. Yet still, I felt like she was attacking me. You know why?

Because there’s a very good chance, that if we manage to make it to baby number 2, I will brea.st feed for no more than a month and then purposefully quit, even if it’s going well.

Yep. That’s right. I will give my baby the very important immunizations he or she will need, and then I will stop and give them formula.

You know what else? Since the day Bunny was born, I have not missed a single shower. There are also three nights a week in which I get a good 8 hour stretch of sleep.

Go ahead. Tell me I’m a bad mom. Tell me I’m neglectful. I fucking dare you. I dare you to challenge me about not loving my child enough because I have the audacity to hand over some responsibility to my husband. To go back to work. To choose to bottle feed, because that way I am not tied to a pump or to the house, and I can take my xan.ax when I need to and go back to work more easily.

And sleep through the night every once in a while.

That does not make me a bad mother. In fact, I think it makes me a fucking amazing mother.

I am painfully aware of the fact that I am the most prominent female figure in my daughter’s life. I am her primary role model. She can choose to be inspired by me, or she can choose to do everything possible to be different from me.

I can’t help but look at the relationship I have with my mother, and make the decision that I will do EVERYTHING different with my child.

My mother stayed at home. My mother gave my brother and I all of herself. Literally. Everything.

So much so that now, at the age of 64, my mother has nothing except us. She lives for us and through us.

So much so that when I am sad or upset, her reaction, before comforting me, is to say “you’re killing me.” That’s right folks – I can’t go to my mother for comfort when I’m hurting without worrying that I’m hurting her in the process.

True story.

And you know what? That is a horrible, horrible thing that is incredibly unfair to me and my brother, and puts way too much pressure on us.

My mother is an incredibly talented interior designer. She let that go to give everything to us. To this day she will skip meals if I so much as hint that I need her for a few hours. She will not sleep. She will skip doctor’s appointments. She will neglect herself to take care of me, my brother, and our children.

I hate it. I hate it so much that most of the time I avoid asking her for help if I know she has other things going on, because I don’t want her to neglect her own needs.

I’m not saying I’m not grateful. I love my mother more than anything. She is an amazing woman. But you know what the happiest times I had with her were?

The two years that she worked outside the home.

I never questioned my mother’s love for me when she worked. It made our quality time much more quality. And I admired her. She was making a good living, and rocking at her job. I learned to cook so I could help her with meals and found that I had a knack for it, which I nurture to this day. She carried herself differently. It was awesome.

Then my dad pressured her to quit and she did (they are very old fashioned that way).

And again – it was all about us. She lost herself.

I do not want that to be my daughter and I. I want my daughter to see a woman who is not afraid to take care of herself. Who rocks at her job. Who has a life independent of hers. I want her to feel free to live her life for herself – not for me – because I have a life of my own. I want her to always feel free to ask me to help her, and to know that I will not forget to also help myself.

I think anyone who has read this blog and who knows how hard I fought to bring my daughter in this world would not think for a moment to question my undying, eternal love for this little person who has entered my life after 3.5 years of hell.

Anyone who knows how I didn’t leave the house for 6 months just to keep her safely inside me. Anyone who knows that I ate the same food every single day for three months to keep my blood sugar levels perfectly balanced so as not to hurt her. Anyone who sees my face fill with pure unbridled joy at the moment I see her after being away for more than a few minutes.

But if you look at the cold hard facts of my parenting style, there are women out there who would actually call me neglectful.

Because I bottle feed.

Because I let my husband wake up for feeds 3 nights out of the week.

Because I take the time to shower.

Because I work outside the home two days a week – and yes – sometimes even stay later than planned because I’m rocking it and being really productive, and that’s important.

Because when Monty Python announced their reunion shows I didn’t think twice and I bought two tickets, knowing full well that it would mean leaving a nine month old baby with her grandparents for a few days while her father and I go to London. Because seriously – it’s Monty Fucking Python. Will I miss her? Of course I will! But she won’t remember those few days, and then when she gets older I will have an uber-cool story to tell her the first time we sit down together and watch “The Holy Grail”.

Totally worth it.

Do I miss my daughter when I’m out? Of course.  Do I sometimes think I could do a “better” job at certain things than her father or her grandparents can when it comes to taking care of her? Yes. I admit I do. But I let them do it anyway, because I realize that sometimes I need a break.

But does that make me a bad mother? Hell to the fucking no. I’m an amazing mother. I know there are times I don’t feel like I am, but when I look at things objectively, I fucking rock. I spent six months in hell to keep her safely inside me. I fought through doctors and bureaucracy for 2 months to get proper treatment for her reflux. When I spend quality time with her, she has my full attention. I never pick up a phone or look at a screen during those times. I stimulate her and educate her and encourage her and love her unconditionally. And tell her that and show her that at every opportunity that I can.

But I also love her enough to live my own life. To understand my limitations. To understand that giving her 100% of myself is doing her a disservice. I need to keep 10% for me, and sometimes even more. Because that’s the kind of woman I want her to be.

And I am her role model.

I am not her slave.

I am her mother. And I love her more than anything in the world.

And as time passes I realize one thing more and more:

Loving her – also means loving myself.

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