Being a mother of two young children, I am realizing there are so many approaches and styles to parenting. I have an undergraduate degree in Child Development and work in the pediatric field. I, of course felt I had a good grasp on all the ins and outs of raising a child based on the books I had read and my experiences at my workplace. I have since realized, there is a lot more to parenting than I had previously thought!
One thing I was not ready for were the “Mommy Cliques.” By mommy cliques, I am referring to the various groups of mommies who I categorize based on their approach or style of parenting. There are the working moms, stay at home moms, homeschooling moms, moms who breastfeed, moms who formula feed, baby wearing mommies, mommies who use strollers, mommies who co-sleep and the list goes on and on.
With today’s resources and social media, there is a plethora of information and knowledge to be gathered by a new mom. I am going to compare this to the first time I registered for baby items before my daughter was born. I was given a list of “must haves” and a bar code scanner. Then, my husband and I were sent to create a list of what we needed for our unborn baby. I was incredibly pregnant, which meant hormones were raging, and neither myself, nor my husband knew what we would really need. To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement! It can be exhausting to try to decipher through these groups to figure out the “best” way to help my baby.
After subscribing to groups on social media, I saw so much discrimination, disrespect and judgment for varying views of parenting. Not only did I have to sort through all of the information friends, family and colleagues were providing, I also had to sift through Facebook groups, Instagram posts, internet questions, celebrity points of view, etc. It seemed as though everyone had a different opinion. The one thing that held true, was that when a mom didn’t agree with a choice of another mommy, no one held back on telling the other why she was wrong and how her own opinion was the RIGHT one.
I am definitely a proponent for encouraging safety, especially when a new baby is involved. If there is something a mommy is doing that may be unsafe for either her or the baby, by all means, politely and kindly offer suggestions to ensure the safety of everyone. However, if you notice a mommy pull out a bottle of formula rather than breast-feed her baby, please do not judge that mommy. The same goes for the mommy who chooses to breast feed rather than formula feed; please do not judge that mommy.
This is simply one of the “mommy cliques” I have noticed in my very short 3 years of being a mommy myself. Before I make any judgments, I need to first try to put myself in the other parent’s shoes. I do not know all of the facts. I am not aware of the background of the child or the parent. It is so complicated to navigate through life at times. It would be so much easier if we, as moms, could guarantee the support of one another.
New moms have so much going through their minds and should not have to worry about who is judging them for their personal choices on how to raise their most precious blessing. Most of the “mommy cliques” I listed are just that, personal choices the mommy (and daddy) get to make.
Rather than breaking one another down for not having your same views, let’s lift each other up and encourage one another, as Paul discusses in 1 Thessalonians 5. There are many times when a new mommy may need help. Try to show each other love and compassion. Maybe a new mommy has never heard of wearing her baby before, so she chooses to push her baby in a stroller instead. The way the mommy chooses to get her baby around does not change the unconditional love she feels for her child.
Many if not most nights, I wake up to both of my children in our bed. Lets face it, we purchased a king size bed because both my husband and I were falling off both sides of our bed as our children made themselves comfortable. I have heard both discouraging and encouraging remarks regarding how we choose to sleep. Both of our children have their own beds, but they end up in ours at some point during the night. It feels so much better to hear someone encourage me for my choice rather than provide me with negative insight to why it is the incorrect way to raise my children.
I am not saying that I need to constantly be reassured that I am doing something correctly; but sometimes it’s nice to hear a positive response rather than a negative one.
Raising my two babies is turning out to be the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life; but it is also the most rewarding as well. My hope is that everyone can feel comfortable with the choices they make as a parent. I will make mistakes. I make mistakes every day! The important thing is that I am trying to do the best I can to love my children and make the best choices for us. And I believe you are too!
How do you navigate the Mommy Cliques?