A switch goes off when you become pregnant. Mama Bear mode goes into full effect, and you search endlessly for the right information, products and people to create the perfect environment to welcome that perfect baby of yours into.
But as we all logically know, what’s perfect for you is not perfect for everyone. Not even that bestie you thought you had every single thing in common with until she decided to have a home birth and you decided to have an epidural.
It begins that early, the mommy judging you’ve heard such nightmare stories about. And it sucks. It sucks being judged. And it sucks when you realize that you’re the one judging. Even if you fully intend on entering motherhood as the most open-minded mama that ever walked this earth (and you probably are), at one point or another, there’s a good chance you’ll be in a situation where you find that heat in your chest rise, and you feel an invisible defensive shield surround you…prompted by nothing else, but the simple sound of another mother’s words that are different than yours.
Because here’s the thing: motherhood is personal. All of it. Every decision, every feeding, every embrace…even every poop for crying out loud. And it should be. So “not taking it personally” doesn’t apply here. Motherhood is the most personal thing you’ll ever do.
But it’s also the most personal thing that mother you’re thinking of judging will ever do. And I bet she’s doing her thing out of the same heart-bursting love that’s motivating you to do yours.
You may not agree with the way one mom nurses her child in public or the way another naps her child on-the-go, but our different parenting styles are what make us all individuals and what makes our world a more colorful place.
And we need each other. How wonderful would it be if by talking to a mom you thought was “wrong” in her parenting decision you realized, “hey, that just might work for me.” Being open to other perspectives is what got you so far in life pre-baby, isn’t it? Why stop now?
Especially when you know that only another mother that can empathize with those tiny moments of misery like a sleepless night of teething. And only another mother can share the moments of pure joy like successfully weaning off of a binky.
So take it personally. Be confident in your parenting because you know what is best for your family. But trust that the mom sitting next to you also knows what is best for hers. Fight that moment of judgement, and turn it into a moment of celebration. A celebration of you being so damn open-minded that you don’t have to hang out with mothers that do it the same as you. Celebrate that mama for trying to do the best for her family. Then celebrate you again for always taking motherhood personally.
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