“I am a Better Mom than Every Other Mom in the World” and other popular myths

by Melody on May 13, 2012

“YOU did not make homemade cupcakes for my playdate!”

Every so often, I read a nice article or post about mothering on a blog or I read something funny about the catastrophe that can be the life of a stay at home mom or what it’s like to be a working mother.  Then I read the comments.  Oh, the comments.  This is when seemingly well-meaning parents feel the need to criticize and bash the choices that other parents have made for their children and their families.

It makes me tired.  Your choice is your choice.  My choice is my choice.  Some people don’t have a choice.  I have two kids and a blog, parents that live pretty close by and a super supportive husband.  You have four kids and no blog, you work outside the home and your husband works out of town.  How in the world could we EVER compare our lives to each other?

I don’t care if you have been on both sides of the coin, stay at home AND working mom.  While you may have a little more insight into the daily workings of both roles, you still can’t compare your life to someone else.  Every kid is different, every spouse is different, every family parents differently, everyone has different expectations and priorities for how the day should go.

I think the majority of us try very hard to lift each other up, but somehow the anonymity of the Internet makes people have the “courage” to say things that are hurtful all wrapped up in a “well-meaning” little package.

Instead of telling a stay at home mom that she has 40+ extra hours to clean her house than a working mom (WHAT?), how about we just embrace and uplift each other?  This job is hard, no matter how you slice it.  How about instead of saying “Here’s what I do and here’s what you should do”, let’s say something like:

“How can I help you?”

“I’m here to listen, what’s going on?”

“I’m going to bring you dinner, clean your house, watch your kids, insert any other helpful thing you could do without being asked here”

Being a mom can be very isolating, especially if you are living in a new town and don’t know many people yet, if you have a colicky baby and feel like nobody understands what you are going through, if you are struggling with post-partum depression or are just having a rough Wednesday.  What we don’t need in those moments is to read or hear something condescending, hurtful or just plain rude.  We need to read or hear that others are going through the same thing, that we are not alone.

I have two challenges for each and every one of you:

  • Find a Mom this week in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, at a restaurant, anywhere.  Tell her how cute her kids are, how well-behaved they are, how nice her hair looks, how it looks like she is doing an amazing job at this business of Mothering.  If you see a Mom who looks frazzled, offer to help her unload her groceries, hold the door for her, just offer her a smile.
  • My second challenge for you is for yourself.  If you start to feel down on yourself or feel guilty or start comparing yourself with the Mom next door who seems to always have her hair washed and actually brushed every day, stop.  Stop your thoughts and tell yourself two good things you have done that day for your babes.  Did you read a story at naptime?  Did your kids actually brush their teeth today?  Did you play outside with your kids, even for 10 minutes?  Did you lay on the floor and put together a puzzle?  Did your kids eat a piece of fruit this morning?  Did you somehow manage a shower in the middle of the chaos?  Did you take a little personal time?  Anything.  Derail those negative thoughts with a positive one.

While we may not be perfect 100% of the time, remind yourself of all the things you do well.  What makes you the best Mom that you can be to your children?  If nobody else is singing your praises, darn it sister, do it yourself.

Now tell me.  Right now, tell me two things you do well.  TWO.  Not just one.

Happy Mother’s Day, my friends.  Enjoy this day and every day after.  Get out there and be the Mother that only you can be.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica May 13, 2012 at 8:48 am

Well said! Happy mother’s day.

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Judy May 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

So very very well said!! Bless you for your encouragement to others, and for breaking the “myth”!! Happy Mother’s Day!

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Abbi May 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Amen, sister.

As for my two things? I am an excellent reader of bedtime stories and I make a mean pot of macaroni and cheese. :)

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Annie May 14, 2012 at 6:24 am

Being 19 Weeks pregnant I’ve just started seeing this behavior…but the pregnancy boards are horrible. If they aren’t criticizing you…they are complaining about someone else! I’m trying hard to keep a positive look on everything in general. When I can’t…I allow myself a small piece of chocolate if it will help ;)

Kelle Hampton has an amazing parenting blog (she’s most known for her writings of her second child who was unexpectedly born with downs) she has a beautiful way of conquering the negative thoughts and doing what she believes is right for north her babies.

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sara anderson May 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

Love this! It is so easy to sit and compare ourselves to every other mom out there but so important to embrace the things we DO with/for our children.

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christi May 14, 2012 at 7:39 am

Crazy that I get up this morning and read this blog and you have this message.

As I was in bed this morning I started to think of a young mother in my neighborhood that I had silently judged on several levels. I looked down on my high horse without walking in her shoes. Her 3 kids went to live with their father on Saturday and I weighed heavily on my heart that she had spent mothers day without her kids. I had planned to go over today and talk to her. Offer her support and kindness and then I wake up and read your blog.

I feel like you confirmed my inner decision to go talk to her. Thank you for this beautiful blog!!

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JB May 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

I am a great giver of choices and hugs.

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Chelsea May 14, 2012 at 8:20 am

well said Mel, I have been that mom with the two screaming boys and a nerves sweat starting to grace my forehead and nothing to do but plug ahead and apologize as you try to drag your bags full of food and screaming kids out of the crowd of staring onlookers. I make it a point to not judge and say a silent prayer for the mother’s / fathers going through the same thing, that the screaming fit passes as quickly as it started. I can make a mean cupcake, and always snuggle my babies in the morning before the crazy begins and tell them how proud I am of them and how much I love them.

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Angela May 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

So good! I just shared with my Mops group. Mine: I am excellent at planning and executing fun outings & exposing my child to new people.

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Miss Jay May 14, 2012 at 9:06 am

I grew up with lots of extended family, and spent a lot of time babysitting. I thought I had a pretty decent idea of what to expect from kids and how I would raise mine. Then I got mine. I now do things daily that I swore no ‘good’ mom could possibly ever do. I try really hard to remember that I don’t know the circumstances when I see other parents doing things differently that I do. Sometimes I succeed.

One thing I do well is to make my kids a priority each and every day.

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Melody May 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Thanks for all the great comments! And Christi, I knew I wrote this post for a reason. Here’s to one more Momma who maybe got the encouragement she needed this week!

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