Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »

Monday, February 13, 2017

No One Mothers Like You

If you think politics are divisive, you would be surprised to know that the rules of motherhood are often fraught with choosing sides, picking teams and erecting fences. As soon as you become a parent, it seems like you must decide what kind of parent you will be. It will feel like you need to align yourself  and your values with those most like you.

But, if you choose to surround yourself with other moms who mother just like you, you will end up with very few friends. There is a very simple reason for this occurrence – no one mothers like you. God chose each mom for her individual children. And no two mothers are alike, just as no two children are alike.

I began my mothering experience 6 years ago (including the time when I was first pregnant). As a people-pleasing, affirmation-seeking, rule-follower, I soon found myself struggling to know how to act and what to say because I had read and seen so many different do’s and don’ts before my son even entered the world. It took me years to realize you cannot please everyone. Ultimately, what matters is if you are trying to do what is best for your own family. And, after 6 years in the mom bubble, it seems like this is what most moms are trying to do.

Good mothers in their own ways

In my own little corner of the world, I know moms who:

·           Work full time | work from home | stay home
·         Bottle feed | breastfeed | practice extended breastfeeding
·         Had scheduled c-sections | screamed for epidurals | had water births at home 
    Are attachment parents | are not attachment parents | practice babywearing
·         Vaccinate | vaccinate on a delayed scheduled | are anti-vaccines
·         Home school | send their kids to charter school | public school | private school
·         Eat no sugar | feed their children poptarts for breakfast
·         Spank | use time outs only | practice gentle parenting | refuse to say the word “no”
·         Co-sleep | put the baby in his or her nursery as soon as possible
·         Love pacifiers | no pacifiers
·         Helicopter parent | free range parent
·         Feed on demand | follow schedule feeding
·         Cloth diaper | use disposable diapers
·         Do not let their kids watch tv | let their kids watch tv regularly

I list just these few examples to show that even in my own small sphere, I know women who mother very differently than I do. But, that doesn’t make me right and them wrong. If you choose to look at it this way, then you are depriving yourself of a friend who could teach you a few things and hindering your child from learning about people who do things differently. What a boring world we would live in if everyone’s families looked and acted the same as our own.

The moms I have been honored to walk alongside this parenting journey with have reasons for deciding which side of the either/or they will parent on. I have seldom met a mom who just make decisions ignorantly – most often these decisions are based on her own personal experiences, fears and education. Rather than judging a fellow mom for choosing to stand on the other side of a hot topic, try to see her as a fellow mom who is doing the best she can for her family.

For example, when I hear about moms having babies in the middle of their living rooms, I do not throw my nose up because I had my babies in a hospital. I cheer them on! As Amy Poehler writes in Yes, Please, “Good for her! Not for me.”

good for her not for me

When I have weak moments and feel the temptation to judge another mom for choosing the other side, I must try to remember that she is doing what she thinks is best for her family. A little empathy can go a long way. Grace can go even further. 

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