We had a baby shower for my sister-in-law last week. She is having her first baby and it’s a girl! Here is the cute name banner my other SIL and I made for the baby’s nursery. Picture the letters hung with lace and toole and ribbon:
And here is another cute banner made from her nursery fabric scraps.
I digress. Anyway, at the shower we had all the guests share advice on motherhood.
Here is a longer version of what I said:
Motherhood is a very judgmental job. You’d think we would all be in this together, but in fact the most judgement comes from other mothers. We judge each other from the get go. Why isn’t she having kids? She is having too many kids! She is having them too close together. She is having them too far apart. And that is before the baby even gets here.
Then there are the debates over…
Epidural vs. Natural (don’t even get me started on us C-section gals)
Classic Names vs. Unique Names
Breast Feeding vs. Bottle Feeding
Binkis vs. No Binkis
Scheduled Feedings vs. On Demand
And we haven’t even left the hospital yet. I could go on and on about all the debates and schools of thought out there about parenting. Including “An arsenal of hair accessories for every outfit” vs. “I am just a baby who wants to sleep” (you see where I am on this issue.)
But the truth is, outside of abuse and neglect, there is not one right way to parent. I would dare say that most mothers’ motives are pure. They are doing the best they can with what they know and with what they believe. They just might believe something different than you.
And what works for one child doesn’t work for another. One baby might eat every 4 hours and another one might be screaming for more milk at the 1 hr 45 min mark (just ask Elle). And if you think you’ve got any part of parenting down and have all the answers, either, just wait, or thank God that He took it easy on you.
Children are unique individuals that require a variety of techniques and parenting methods.
Allow mothers space to honor that uniqueness.
So long story short, my advice was to withhold judgement. Be kind and gentle with other mothers, and the universe will be kinder and gentler with you when your kid takes a bite out of an apple straight from the produce shelf while your back is turned (oh wait, that was my kid.)