Saturday, October 24, 2009

There's no wrong way to mother your child.

Perhaps you've perused the Blogopshere lately and noticed there are lots of "mommy blogs" out there. Moms that work, moms that stay home; moms that are conservative, moms that are liberal; moms that are "crunchy" and moms that are ... not.

Mostly, a lot of these moms like to make blog posts about how they mother their children and why it's the best way. I've never felt inclined to write a post like this before; I kind of feel like one's parenting style is personal and can't be categorized. And sometimes, the "right" answer for one mom might be the wrong answer for another. That's just how it is, I say.

I try not to care, but I must be honest. These preachy posts ruffle my feathers a little. Maybe they ruffle yours, too.

Here are some of the sentiments I've come across recently. They're not direct quotes, but they are real nonetheless:

C-sections are terrible, evil, money-sucking ventures which deprive a mother and baby from the healthy bond that occurs after a normal, vaginal birth.

Delivering a baby at home is the most irresponsible thing a mother could possibly do.

Breastfeeding is the only proper way to feed a child. If you don't breastfeed, you must not really love your baby.

Breastfeeding is a waste of time and only spoils babies. Formula is a wonderful modern invention, so you might as well use it!

If your kid sleeps in a crib, you are a terrible mother. Why won't you let your baby snuggle with you in your bed, you soulless monster?

If your kid sleeps in the bed with you, he's never going to learn to be independent. Plus, your sex life is probably rotten.

Staying at home is the best way to raise a child. Day care is pure evil. And working moms are so selfish!

If you don't go to work, you're going to turn into a brainless zombie. You're not doing anything to encourage women's rights, slaving away all day. You're basically just a nanny.

And so forth.

Did any of those tick you off? Probably. But, that's what some of the other moms out there are saying. True story.

I have a theory as to why women say these types of things. We're competitive. We always say men are the competitive ones, having arm-wrestling matches all the time and talking about their "sweet rides" and such. But we're just as bad when it comes to mothering. We like to be the ones with all the right answers. It's like this: My baby is happy and I am happy. So, I must have done something right, and I want to share my success story with the whole world!

Yes, you did do something right. You did what was right -- for you. But ... it might not work for other moms. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you about all the mothering choices I made. Why? It's pointless. I'm not you and my baby isn't your baby. You've all got your own babies (or you will have your own babies someday). And when they're born, they don't come with instructions. They are basically darling little devices which cry at random intervals, and it's your job to stop the crying through various means. And you know what? You figure it out. You guess and check. You cut different wires until the bomb stops ticking. And the best part is, there's no wrong way to do it! As long as your baby is healthy and happy, you've done your job.

So, ladies ... don't worry about how other moms are doing the "mom thing." Motherhood is a journey. We're all on different paths, with different maps and different passengers in our minivans. And it's OK.

I challenge you moms out there not to criticize others for doing things differently than you did/do/plan to do. We mommas got to stick together! No more nitpicking and preaching. Just support each other! Motherhood doesn't need to be a battle of ideologies. We're all going to the same place, just by different routes.


  1. Very great post Jenna! You are completely right we as women are so critical of each other. I think this generally happens because we fear we aren't good enough. i really enjoyed reading this post :)

  2. Thanks you for saying this. And you are so right! You just never really know what someone is going through, what their child is like, etc.. so what is right for you might be completely wrong for someone else. I agree, if people ask for ideas or suggestions, then sure share what you know or what has worked for you.. otherwise keep your mouth shut.

  3. dude. this post is LEGIT. i totally feel this way about FASHION BLOGS... i haaaate when girls tell you "what to wear" or "what NOT to wear" because honestly its different for EVERYONE. i mean, there are the general rules like, dont wear mom jeans, white after labor day, and avoid camel toe pants at all costs, etc etc, but still! do you know what i mean? people are weird. but i would like to thank you, jenna, right now for NOT being weird. hurray!

  4. I have really been feeling that way lately. Thanks for the post. :)

  5. Jenna,
    This post I think may be one of the answers to one of my prayers! I've been contemplating quitting nursing for a variety of reasons but have been afraid about things people might say to me if I do. Your post has given me the courage to make my decision regardless of what others will think - I can make my decision based on what is right for me and Macee. Thank you for posting this!

  6. I completely agree! Have you ever read "I was a good mom before I had kids" It is a wonderful book all about how moms all deal differently, and it encourages mothers to stop being so judgmental of other moms... we all do things differently, we all make mistakes, we all love our children... It's a great read, and really funny...

    (BTW- I'm on BBC LDS board... and thought I'd check out your blog. I like it. :) )

  7. Aaaaaaaaaaaaamen! The only wrong way to parent your children is when it causes harm to them. As long as they are fed, watered and happy, who cares!

  8. 100% spot on. Really, I think it's so sad when mothers condemn other mothers for their ideas and choices in raising their children. Don't you think we'd all be better off if we could just be there to support each other?

  9. yes thank you! I had a c-setion but only because it was an emerancy! but he's my baby i love him and as long as he has a smile on his face and he's healthy i know i'm doing a good job! What works for you is great but it may not be what i want. Awesome

  10. AMEN!!! A post like this has been spinning in my head for awhile now, but I haven't gotten up the nerve to sit down and right it, let alone post it! My advice to all new moms (and old ones!) is to find what works for you and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Motherhood is NOT a competition!"

  11. Love your post! I agree, Being a mom is not a competition!

  12. I agree, EXCEPT for the liberal part... nothing good can come of that! ;)

  13. okay seriously i stalk your blog alot, and im so glad that you came up with this post! i delivered both my children via c-seciton (one emergency, one repeat) and my babies are fine! I nursed one, and not the other; still my babies are healthy, and happy as can be! You are right, everybaby is different and that goes for the mother as well. We all need to leave everyone else alone because the rude and obnoxious comments get really annoying! :-D he he


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