There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that made me stop and think about how I feel about motherhood and whether I make decisions as a mother based on what I think is right or based on what others tell me is the right thing to do.
Spend every moment with your child? Make your own baby food and use cloth diapers? Erica Jong wonders how motherhood became such a prison for modern women. Full Article
It is distressing to me that this woman feels like she's in a prison. This article suggests that by doing what we feel is best for our children we are somehow slaves to modern society. If I choose to make my own baby food because I find it more efficient and less expensive and my best friend chooses to buy jarred baby food because she finds it more efficient, am I really in a prison? And is my friend a better or worse mother than I am? If I let my child cry it out and my best friend judged me because she was co-sleeping and felt that was a 'better' way of parenting, I tell you what, I'd find a new best friend.
I do agree with the last line the author uses : "Do the best you can. There are no rules". With all of the information out there about how to parent we, as parents, have a lot of choice about how to run our families. What I need is support, not judgement. At the end of the day, if my child is happy and safe and being raised by loving caregivers, then they are going to be just fine.
I do think there is a support issue out there and we as moms need to be less judgmental and more supportive of our peers. Its easy to fall into the trap of thinking my way is the best way and I would handle situations differently than my friends do. But it is important to realize that everyone is doing their best, and today they may be having a discipline issue but you know what, next time we get together it will be me that has the issue. The one thing that seems constant in parenthood is that things are always changing. Just as you think you have everything under control your daughter starts pulling out all of her hair (yes, that is happening to me right now).
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Can I recommend that if you are reading this because you do feel like motherhood is a prison that you do something to change that feeling today. Moms need support and not always just in the verbal sense, but trying to do everything on your own can be way too much. You need to take time for yourself; you will be a better parent and a happier person. Parenting is hard, but it shouldn't be a prison.
So let me congratulate you for doing an awesome job with your kids today. Pass it on…