The Great Parenting Challenge

We’ve all experienced it in some form & many of us, in multiple forms. A glaring look, a backhanded compliment, a rude comment on Facebook. To make matters worse, all of these come from fellow mommies or daddies. Whether it’s directed at your child’s behavior, the way you’re parenting, what you’re feeding your child or at a decision you’ve made, it stings. It beyond stings. It tears away at that part of your heart where you so deeply long to be a good mommy or daddy- to be a great parent. That part of our hearts already battles feelings of being unprepared, inexperienced, inadequate & sometimes, just plain scared! So those looks & comments are brutal.
Within the first 30 minutes of announcing we were pregnant, my husband & I were abruptly introduced to the harsh, cut throat, judgmental side of the club called, “Being a Parent”. It doesn’t matter if your baby is still inside your womb & looks like a gummy bear or if you’re holding your sweet little bundle in your arms; you’re in the club.
Epidural? No epidural?
Cloth diapers? Disposable diapers?
Vaccinations? No vaccinations?
Traditional? Non-traditional?
Breastfeeding? Formula?
I quickly realized that I was being asked all these questions, not because the other mommies were truly interested in my opinions or thoughts, but because they felt the overwhelming need to tell me why my decisions were wrong…if they weren’t the same as their own.
Good grief. There are enough challenges & decisions to make as a mommy & daddy without tearing each other apart for choosing something we wouldn’t. We are all trying to love & teach & take care ofthe precious lives that God has given us to the best of our ability.
I’m all about sharing good information with each other. I have been abundantly blessed with a circle of mommies that look straight to the heart & are supportive in this journey that we’re on together. They just don’t get caught up on all the details along the way. So the club can be a great one to be a part of too.
I think being educated & well balanced is wonderful. But when you feel that little fire inside of you start rising up because someone isn’t making the same choice for their child as you are for yours, maybe that’s not a good time to talk. Or comment. Or stare.
Sure, there are some things that I am unwilling to negotiate on. There are decisions that my husband & I have made that we believe are the best decisions for our family. But just because we say “yes” to something for our family, doesn’t mean that a “no” is wrong for another family. Every child is different, every situation is different & every parent is different. And so are options & decisions. And that’s ok. Actually, it’s more than ok! It’s wonderful that we are all different! We are all aiming for the same goal: to grow our children into strong, smart & well-rounded little people. Can we step back from the details & support each other for that?

So if you have received “the look” from another mommy on the playground recently, or if you’ve read a hurtful comment on Facebook, can I just encourage you today? You are doing a great job! It’s all right that your kid was the only one screaming & trying to go up the slide the wrong way. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.  If you’re all about cloth diapers, you go girl! If you use disposable diapers, you go girl! It doesn’t matter what your child poops in. You love your child more than life itself; you’re making decisions that work for YOUR family; & that, my dear friend, is not only good, it is admirable & beautiful.
Above my own opinions & ability to parent well, I rely on my God’s grace & direction. And He gives them abundantly & clearly. I declare my God as faithful!

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