An Open Letter To Moms Who are "Doing It Wrong"

An Open Letter To Moms Who are "Doing It Wrong"


Congratulations new mothers, expecting mothers, and mothers who have managed to keep their children alive thus far. You have done an amazing thing. Probably the most important thing you will do in your life-- granted you don't discover a cure for cancer or prevent an asteroid from smashing into the planet.

If you're new to this crazy train known as motherhood, I'm going to prepare you for something you will inevitably encounter along your beautiful journey. You are going to hear every variation of "you're doing it wrong," you can possibly imagine. It will typically be cloaked under the guise of seemingly well-meaning advice or statements such as, "well, I did it THIS way and my child turned out fine." And congratulations super mommies, you've done a truly wonderful thing by raising such a special gem. But this post is not for you. This post is for us mere mortals whose normal children pitch temper tantrums at inappropriate times and feed their vegetables to the dogs when we're not looking.

All sarcasm aside, it appears some "veteran mommies" are suffering from long-term memory loss. I love you mom, but I know for a fact I wasn't the angelic child you so lovingly reflect upon. Remember that one time I was grounded all summer and you had to work? Instead of staying indoors like you told me, I snuck outside every day. When you called to check on me, I had the cordless phone with me and I would dash back to the house to answer the phone, pretending I was glumly serving out my punishment from the confines of our home. I really wasn't. I was having an awesome summer. Sorry about that.

To all of you mommies, I see you struggling in the supermarket with your wailing toddler. Ignoring the glares from onlookers who are muttering, "my kids know better than to behave like that in public." I understand you. In fact, just yesterday I was you. And that's why I know there are so many reasons why your child is misbehaving, and equally as many reason why you may be letting them.

The crux of humanity is that it allows us only to truly know what is happening in our own lives. We know nothing of the lives of strangers. Though we can occasionally catch a small glimpse of a brief second of a tiny fraction of their lives, it's not enough to understand what they may be going through. It's definitely not enough to use to judge them for. Or it shouldn't be. Motherhood is not a competition. And contrary to the belief of the mother in front of you, driving the minivan peppered with the 'my kid is on the honor roll' bumper stickers, you don't receive a trophy or gold star for creating an awesome child. This isn't to say you shouldn't strive to raise an upstanding citizen, we all should. But the simple fact is what works for you may not necessarily work for another. And it has taken me three years and a lot of stolen moments spent sneaking Snickers Bars in the closet, feverishly praying for Mr. A to return from work for me to come to this realization.

There is one basic and universal truth about motherhood--it's hard. All the parenting classes in all of the world cannot possibly prepare you for it. You can scour every book in the parenting section of your local bookstore and sign up for every baby website, but it will never be enough. No book can accurately describe the level of sleep deprivation, anxiousness and absolute joy you will feel looking at your children--sometimes all at once.

Maybe the next time you see the lady in the store with the rambunctious children, instead of judging her, you'll give her a reassuring smile. Motherhood is hard enough without the added pressures of dealing with the disapproving looks and snide remarks. And quite like that annoying song from that Disney musical, "we're all in this together."

So for every mother everywhere that has accidentally left the diaper bag home, snuck a candy bar in a closet while playing hide and go seek with your toddler, or are convinced that your child will need therapy later in life because that one time you left them at the grocery store, you are not alone!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing ladies. Enjoy that one special day out of the year that we all pause to pay tribute to the incredible women who have helped mold and shape our lives!

13 comments :

  1. I have dear friends who are expecting their first child any day now. They are reading all the books and I try to remind them that there is no way to do this thing called parenting. And there is no book that can tell you how to parent YOUR child. Every day I learn something new.

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    1. Oh boy, those books are dangerous. They leave you with a false sense of confidence. One that usually dissipates within the first month. With all the money that I spent on those books, I could have saved it for a vacation to the beach...

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  2. Well said and I agree with the previous poster. Each child and each family are unique. It's a learn as you go process that crazy wonderful some days and crazy exhausting the next, but is completely worth it. Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

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    1. Yes Sarah! We always talk about how unique we are as individuals, I'm not sure why we think that babies or small children will be any different. I've lost some friends in the last few years over this silly judgement game. I just decided I don't have time for it. It's not worth it.

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  3. I love this! Whenever I see a child acting out in public, I give a "been there" smile at the mom. We all have. Those who offer unsolicited advice, or give disapproving looks...I guarantee your kids weren't perfect either! Reese, I hope you will link this up with us at the Ladies Only Blog Share!

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    1. It's even more annoying when the naysayers are childless. I know it's wrong, but a very large part of me can't wait until they have children. Let's see how well that "iron fist" works of for you. Like I said, I know it's wrong, but still, karma is real...

      I will definitely stop by the Ladies Only Blog Share. I'm admittedly horrible with Link-ups, but this one sounds like a fun one!

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  4. The TRUTH is so freeing. My Mom is not at all hesitant to talk about how much she loves being a Mom and how proud she is of all of us...but she'll also tell the stories about having 3 kids 3 and under at the grocery store and not having enough arms to keep a hold of all of us--don't forget or hide the "bad"--it's part of life!

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    1. Once again, your mom sound like an awesome lady! I'm convinced that you will make a wonderful mother one day should you and Angel decided to have a little one :) Especially with that positive attitude!

      And yes, the bad is a part of life that needs to be shared. Otherwise, we end up with a false sense of reality.

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  5. And Happy Mother's Day to you too, Reese! Glad to be reading you now! You're absolutely right. Motherhood is hard enough with all the challenges and puzzles we have to solve sans manuals and guide books on how to deal with each and every type of child possible. We really don't need to compound it with judgment and competition. :-)

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  6. Happy Mother's Day, Reese! Thank you so much for linking up your post at the "Let's Talk Motherhood" link-up! I was nodding my head "yes" throughout your entire post - I'm always telling my husband, "If moms only knew how much we could strengthen each other by being supportive instead of critical or judgmental!" Goodness knows most of us are hard enough on ourselves as it is! thanks for the great reminders!

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  7. HUgs to you, Reese. I'm happy to be stopping by from Sole Searching Mama.
    Motherhood IS hard, yet the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. Everything else pales in comparison.

    I'm looking forward to reading more here. ;) Happy Mother's Day!

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  8. I'm for grateful those moms who haven't forgotten what parenting is like and offer me smiles and words of encouragement when my kids have public meltdowns. Raising kids is hard enough and getting million and one judgemental looks when your kid isn't on their best behavior doesn't help. I know there's probably a few thing I'm doing wrong, but I'm convinced there's more that I'm doing right!

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  9. I absolutely love this post. I love it because I can relate. My step-daughter is 15, my son is 4, and my daughter is 1. They fall out and have tantrums in their own ways...and you're right; no one ever really knows the "why" behind it like we do. Thank you for being so transparent! I'm sure it has helped so many.

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