Okay, I’m officially putting all internet moms in time out until you can learn to talk to your sisters kindly.
I’m part a few mom groups on Facebook. For those of you who are smarter than me and stay off these kinds of groups, here’s an example of what normally goes down:
Mom A asks a questions or looks for suggestions.
Mom B gives suggestions based on what worked for her.
Mom C comes in and answers Mom A’s question, but also starts bashing everything Mom B said—everything from calling it child abuse or saying it’s just wrong.
Mom B defends her choices.
Mom C implies that Mom B is a terrible mom and that her kids are clearly going to be/already damaged in some way.
Mom D appears to agree with Mom C and encourage Mom A to follow her advice.
Mom E silently likes Mom B’s comment to show support, but doesn’t join in the comment war of women spewing hateful words at each other.
Do you see the problem? And this isn’t just about one topic. I’ve seen these arguments about breast feeding, vaccinations, sleep training, potty training, switching to solid foods , co-sleeping, spankings, time-outs, schedules, screen time, YOU NAME IT! It’s like watching Mean Girls, except instead of bratty teenagers, it’s bratty moms who think they’re superior because they’re in various cliques and follow whatever is currently trending in mother culture.
Ladies, this has to stop. Mom shaming and cyber bullying is a bad look no matter how good a mom you are.
Here’s how you can tell you’re a good mom. Are your kids healthy? Are you looking after their spiritual well-being? Are they learning when to behave well? Do they get enough sleep for their bodies? Are the confident? Generally happy? Curious? Learning to distinguish right from wrong?
If you can answer yes, then good job! You’re doing a great job!
If your answer is no, maybe you need to adjust your approach. But the wisdom to adjust your ways, to shift your schedule, or to change shows that you are a good mom who wants the best for her kid.
Listen, I have worked in childcare for many year and I’ve been a mom for four years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that all children are a little bit different. What fits like a glove for one may be challenging for another. When I offer parenting advice, I am only offering what has worked best for me and my kids. This may not be what works for you and your kids.
When I had an infant, I was under such a strong degree of stress that I was unable to breastfeed. I literally didn’t produce milk. I felt defective and wrong and oh so terrible. My baby was losing weight, she didn’t sleep, and I was in a constant state of panic. When I finally switched her to formula and she started to grow and sleep with a full stomach, I was so relieved! I was overjoyed that my baby was LIVING! Imagine my dismay when other moms told me how sorry they were for me that I was missing out on a bond with my baby that I would never be able to recover. Or how horrible I felt when moms told me I just needed to try harder.
Motherhood is hard, okay? It’s hard no matter what you’re doing! I didn’t breastfeed and I was diligent about sleep training. This doesn’t make me a bad mom. A mom friend of mine only breastfeeds and her family co-sleeps. This doesn’t make her a bad mom. Nor does it make me a better mom than her or vice versa. Moms need to stop tearing each other down on social media. We need to stop attacking those who parent differently, whether it be because of cultural differences, religious differences, or situational differences.
All moms get their fair share of parenting advice. And it’s well and good! I value the advice I receive from my trusted, seasoned moms. But take all advice with a grain of salt. Do what is best for YOUR family, remembering that what is best doesn’t always mean what is convenient, but what will fulfil and sustain your family for years to come.
And give your advice with a grain of salt as well. You don’t always know the full situation, especially on the Internet. Share what works best for your family, without lambasting other moms for what works best for theirs. There are right and wrong ways to parent; but if a fellow mom is looking after her child differently than you with the same goal of raising strong, confident, healthy, happy children, she’s not parenting wrongly. Different doesn’t mean wrong.
Love one another. Encourage one another. Embrace the different things your sisters do! And enjoy your children, training them up in the way they should go.