I’m starting a campaign. It’s a “Say Something Nice to a Mom” campaign. And I seriously think that we need it.
I’ve been up on my soapbox about formula-feeding these days, but I haven’t lost perspective. I know that breast-feeding moms are judged just as harshly (and sometimes more so) than formula-feeding moms. Yesterday I was having a discussion on Facebook with a mom friend of mine who was dismayed when someone in an online forum compared breast-feeding in public with defecating in public. The day before, I was in an online forum where people were comparing moms who breast-feed to term (until their baby is 1 year old or older) to pedophiles.
Judgement isn’t just confined to the arena of infant feeding. Any possible decision that we can make as parents will be judged, and harshly. And I mean every decision. From where your baby sleeps to what he wears to whether you vaccinate to how many kids you have to what toys you buy…it’s pervasive, and it’s exhausting.
Look. None of us really know what we’re doing. We each have our own set of values, morals, and ideas that we base our decisions around. What works for me might not work for you, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that either of our children will be better or worse off. There is no “right” way to be a parent. Putting down my choices doesn’t make yours any more valid. The fact that I am doing something differently doesn’t mean that you can’t parent the way that you want to. I don’t know about you, but I’m so busy trying to make sure I don’t screw up my own kid that I couldn’t possibly take on the responsibility of making sure that the rest of the world is doing what I think is right.
Being a parent is like treading water in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by people in lifeboats who are all yelling at you that you’re not trying to keep afloat correctly. Let’s start helping each other out, okay?
Here is my idea and new mission: every day, say one nice thing to a mom. That’s it. Simple, huh? But I think it will make a huge difference. I can guarantee that she will remember what you said and appreciate it more than you could know.
When I went to Chicago to introduce baby P. to my partner’s family, one of his friends said to me that I was a good mom. To this day I still remember how good it felt just to hear those words. It’s not something that we hear often.
So let’s give it a try. When you talk to one of your mom friends, compliment her on something that you admire. Make sure it’s sincere. Maybe she’s always dressed nicely, or she helps her kids with their homework every night, or she has a close relationship with her teenager. Whatever it is, let her know that you noticed and that you think she’s great. Call your own mom and thank her for all of her hard work and the kick-ass job she did in raising you. And don’t forget to compliment yourself as well! Think of something that you’ve done that you’re proud of and give yourself a pat on the back.
There is your mission. Go out, share this post, spread the message, and say something nice to a mom today!