It’s a strange thing, this motherhood business. No two children are exactly alike, so creating a guidebook is impossible. What works for one mother may be exactly opposite of what works for another. And, as helpful caring mothers, we’re often quick to lend advice about ‘what works’ even before we’re asked.
The problem with lending unsolicited advice about motherhood is we don’t know that mother’s child the way she does. We don’t know what special needs the child may have, what kind of struggles the child may be facing at school, if a sick family member’s needs have affected the normal routine, or even if the mother herself may be struggling with something beyond her control.
Below are some StrongMoms Empower stories that have touched me this week and I hope they touch you too, and remind us all to support one another in the most amazing, most rewarding and the hardest season of our lives: Motherhood.
Special Needs Does Not Have a Look – 7 On a Shoestring
When I read this post by Staci I was so touched and so convicted at the same time. My children do not have special needs, but many of my friends have children who do and I know how these women are judged when their children do not behave the way someone else’s children may. I’ve also been guilty of assuming a home lacked any form of discipline when I saw a child acting terribly in a public place. Staci reminds us that not every child with special needs has physical indicators and many times what we perceive to be a bratty child may in fact be a hurting or confused child, out of their comfort zone or in need of special attention. These children and their parents need our support, not judgement.
StrongMoms Empower: A Tale About Breastfeeding and Judgement – 504 Main by Holly Lefevre
Breastfeeding is one of the most commonly disagreed upon aspects of motherhood. And you know what? Not every mother gets to make the choice to breastfeed. There are women like Holly who want to desperately, but can’t and the judgement of other moms who think she didn’t try hard enough, or maybe she didn’t try at all, are all wrong and ever so hurtful. I’ve seen it happen so many times to so many women and it’s time to stop. Whatever you believe about breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, keep it to yourself unless you’re asked.
When a Breastfeeding Mom Isn’t – Untrained Housewife
Remember that line about not knowing what a mother may be going through that’s totally out of her control? This is what happened to Angela when her body practically shut down due to gall bladder issues. And you know what a fellow breastfeeding mom did? She accused Angela of ‘selling out’ because she needed to feed her baby formula. Sometimes, life throws us lemons and we don’t get to do the things we really want to. We don’t need make it harder by telling her she’s not trying hard enough or that she doesn’t really care as much as she says she does. Instead, let’s show our support; ask if there’s anything we can do to help, and then love on that mother. She needs it.
Stop Judging and Start Empowering by Becca of Our Crazy Boys
As a work at home mom, I really connected with Becca’s post. When she talks about having to be online a lot for work, and how it may sometimes look like she’s missing out on special moments, my heart says ‘yes! me too!’. The thing that people don’t see, and Becca explains so well, is that this job we’ve chosen not only pays our bills, but allows us to be there for our children in some very meaningful ways that other parents may not have the privilege of. Does that make us better? No. It just makes our lifestyles and parenting methods a little different and that’s ok!
Encouraging Women & Other Moms – Our Love Nest
“I want to compare myself less, and value the person I am more.” Oh, Pamela. We’ve never met, but I want to hug you right now for this bit of wisdom. As a mother-to-be you sure have a great outlook and making this decision now to not only stop judging other women, but to value yourself is a major step. You see, mom judgement isn’t just something we hand out, it’s also something we do to ourselves, and often times, it’s even more detrimental that the judgement we receive from others. Becoming a mother changes your life. The things you’ve witnessed and swore you’d never do come back to haunt you as you find yourself navigating the role of motherhood. So moms, let’s pledge to stop this nonsense of comparing ourselves to one another, or beating ourselves up over the ‘things we’d never do’ and value ourselves more.
Being a StrongMom is what my girls need – Funny Things are Everywhere AKA MapsMom
Do you ever stop to think about how your reaction to something affects your children? Wendy says she made the decision to stop judging moms partly because it’s a good example to her girls. I love that! By setting this example as a parent, we’re teaching our children not to judge one another. In a world full of bullying, teasing and mean-girl attitudes nothing is more refreshing than to see a mom modeling a kind and supportive attitude.
Take the StrongMoms Empowerment Pledge
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Then, share your stories of “mom empowerment” or “mom judgment” and follow the conversation on Twitter at #StrongMomsEmpower.