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What Do You Think? Am I Mom Enough?

Being a mom is hard, but it is the best job in the world

Very few decisions made are more important than how you are going to raise your child.  Women spend most of their pregnancy taking exceptional care of themselves, so they can have a healthy baby.  Before the child enters the world, parents begin to discuss how this new addition will be raised.  “Expert opinions” are consulted.  When the baby is born, a plan is in place.  This plan may change with time, but most parents are doing the best they can with the information available.  The end game is pretty much the same for all of us.  We all want to produce happy, healthy, well-adjusted people who contribute positively to the world.  Whether we are “tiger moms” or “attachment parents”, we want the best for our kids.

Why then are different styles of parenting such hot button topics?  I believe that the decision on how to raise your child is a deeply personal choice.  When we encounter someone who is doing something different, or even the opposite of what we are doing, it hits us at our core.  It may shake our beliefs, even if for a moment.  It can cause doubts or make us feel self-conscious.  After that momentary lapse, most people begin to stand firm in their beliefs and this may make them feel even more passionate about their choices.  The research we did and our children’s success should assuage us of any doubts, but we get this nagging feeling to prove we are right.  Worse yet, we begin to feel like we need prove others wrong!  These strong feelings cause division between mothers.  The rift runs deep and this is when mothers begin attacking mothers.

Because we are so passionate about this topic, it makes us extremely vulnerable to exploitation by the media.  All they need to do is introduce a new parenting strategy endorsed by some celebrity and the fireworks begin.  So many of us fall into the trap and begin to vocally defend our choices and worse yet, bash others.  Coffee shops are all abuzz and Facebook becomes flooded with pictures and comments.  They sell more magazines and get intense media coverage for a few days and make more money.  Where do we end up?  Further divided and for the most part no better off than we were before.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t research childhood development.  Raising children is hard, and new advice and techniques are appreciated.  We need to rise above the manipulation when reading these articles.  Don’t overreact when you see a picture of a woman nursing her 4 year old son.  Digest the information and take it or leave it.  Children are individuals and there is no one size fits all approach.  We need to do the best we can with the new information and adjust for the uniqueness of our children and family.  And more importantly, we need to respect other’s choices.  We all need to learn how to listen more and criticize less.

So if you want to nurse your child until age 6, sleep in a family bed, pick up your child at every cry, and feed on demand, more power to you.  If you want to keep your baby on a feeding schedule and allow them to “cry it out”, there’s nothing wrong with you.  Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  Am I mom enough?  God, I hope so.

Happy Mother’s Day

 

2 Responses to “What Do You Think? Am I Mom Enough?”

  1. Blythe O'Donnell says:

    We don’t all choose the same clothes, meals off a menu, locations to reside, or partners (what a disaster that would be). I’ve never understood why any of us think that methods of parenting are any different. I may not choose to mimic your choices, but I respect your feelings.

    • Courtneyadunn says:

      Great points Blythe. I wish we could all share our parenting experiences and learn by listening to each other instead of closing our minds and judging.

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