Not your monkey, not your circus
It seems these days there is always some war over which parenting style is best — helicopter vs. free range, stay at home versus working mother, mainstream vs. au natural. The list goes on (yawn) and on. Parenting is chock full of approximately 1000 choices a day, all of which should be made by the parents of that child. One way of raising a child is not better than another, because every parent is different and every child has different needs.
Karen Johnson, a mother of three who writes at 21st Century SAHM, is tired of the constant mom wars. She wrote a post on her Facebook page that is resonating with hundreds of thousands of people who are also tired of the constant shaming that goes on between friends, strangers, or found in the comments section of every single parenting related article online.
“My house is never clean. Like ever. I have friends (with kids) whose houses are spotless. Are they better mothers than me? Nope. Am I a better mother than them? Nope,” Johnson begins. “I have a friend who gave birth in a pool in her living room. I pushed mine out in a hospital bed after receiving a gift from the epidural fairy. Both of us are good moms. I drink a beer or glass of wine (sometimes in front of my kids!) on occasion. I’m a good mom. My neighbor and good friend doesn’t drink. Also a good mom.”
Johnson goes on to admit she yells at her kids, swears occasionally and that her kids “sometimes eat popsicles for breakfast. The cheap kind that are 50 for $2.00.” This also doesn’t make her a bad mom.
Judging someone when you don’t know their situation can be a lesson in humility. I heard an old nosey neighbor ask a friend of mine, “When are you guys gonna have kids already?” My friend smiled and said, “I just had my third miscarriage.” The same lesson goes for parenting styles. That ‘helicopter’ mom’s child could be ill. That working mom could be the bread winner of her family or work because it makes her a better mother. A parent’s motivations are driven by choice, circumstance and a million other nuances we know nothing about. So stay in your own lane and raise your own kids.
Johnson tells Scary Mommy she wrote the post because she was tired of all the judgment. “We are all just doing our best. I’ve been blasted online by people who don’t know me for drinking, being a helicopter parent, not watching my kids enough, having a messy house, etc. And my friends who formula feed are put through the ringer. It’s ridiculous. We all want to feel like we are doing a good job, so why not give each other support and grace instead of unfair and unnecessary judgment?”
“Are married moms better than single moms? NO. Can you be a good mom and have a super scheduled summer with lots of planned activities? Yep. What about if your summer is lazy with no plans? Yep,” Johnson continues. “Do good moms let their kids watch TV? Yes. What about if you say no? Also fine. Your choice. You’re the mom. And a good one.”
Johnson suggests instead of being so quick to judge others, we stop being judgmental and just support one another. “Motherhood is hard,” she says. “You’re doing a good job. Raising kids can knock the wind out of a person. You got this.”