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February 8, 2017

Guest Blogger: The Village <insert question mark>

 

My name is Danette and I met Katie in a June Mommy Group on FB. Funny I should mention a private social media group, as I'll be further discussing them later in this blog. I was and still am so grateful for her friendship. We were shoulders for each other to cry on during our difficult pregnancies and we continue to be a source of companionship and support as we deal with the everyday of motherhood.

As a mother of three, I should be able to sit here and say "Been there, done that!" or "This is a walk in the park!" but the truth of the matter is, that couldn't be further from the truth. Just as every single one of us is unique and different, so is every single pregnancy and every single child. Motherhood. is. HARD! There, I said it! I can almost hear the gasps coming from my social media "friends" and followers. "What does she mean 'it's hard'? She always seems to have it all together?" NOPE! N-O-P-E! Just like every other person on FB and Twitter, my posts and pictures are snapshots of my life. S-n-a-p-s-h-o-t-s...snippets of the whole picture. Of course I'm giving thorough consideration over every single post and picture I make public. "Why?" you ask...because social media has become nothing but a judgment zone. From a mother's perspective, posting to these sites are very similar to being thrown out in the middle of the Colosseum in Rome, just awaiting the moment we're ripped apart by savage beasts. When did motherhood become something judged and criticized, rather than supported by those who love you? 

So I'm apart of several FB groups and I've witnessed this following scenario happen to several individuals over the course of the last few months and it truly tears me apart. Again, what happened to supporting each other as parents and women? Why is it that we feel better tearing each other down than building each other up?

Women go to these private groups to vent about their SO or to get advice about something regarding their child and random individuals will screenshot these posts and send them out to these said SO's or to family members associated with the person having made the post or, even worse, to Child Protective Services and in turn destroying relationships/trust and even destroying families. Isn't that half of the problem of being a mom? Needing someone or somewhere to turn to when you've hit rock bottom and all you want to do is cry? There should be safe places to turn to where others will support you and guide you in the right direction instead of looking to tear you down even more. We need to do a better job of being "that village" that it takes to raise our children. I truthfully think twice about EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I. POST. because you never know who will report you or throw you under the bus for being honest and for being the best mother to your kids that you can possibly be. 

Everywhere I turn these days, it's bottle vs breast milk, immunizing vs non-immunizing, disposable diapers vs cloth diapers, co-sleeping vs CIO, organic vs non-organic, homemade vs fast food, baby carriers vs strollers, circumcision vs intact and EVERYTHING is a competition! Who's getting pregnant the fastest? Who has the most kids? Whose baby is walking/talking/crawling first? Whose report card is better? Whose school is better? Whose child is apart of the most activities? Please just stop! It's literally disgusting what parenting children in this day and age is truly like. It makes me so sad and it's utterly exhausting being made to feel like you have to keep up with the Joneses! But believe me, the Joneses are human too.

Absolutely NOTHING about raising my children is a competition and absolutely none of mine or my husband's choices, for our own babies, make us any better than the rest you. Why can't we all get off of the high horses we're currently on and instead become that "village" that each of us so desperately needs? It truthfully takes a village to raise children and sometimes all that means is knowing you have people in your life who love you and support you and know that you're doing the best job that you can possibly do. You're cloth diapering? Fantastic!!! Obviously, that's the best choice for you and your family! You're choosing not to immunize your little ones? Fantastic!!! Obviously, that's the best choice for you and your family! 

Please know that as your friend, family member, or even as a stranger walking down the street, I am in no place to judge the decisions you've made for you and your family. I'm here to say, I'm so happy you're in my life. I'm so blessed to know you. I support you and am here for you! 

I am the furthest thing from perfect. Sometimes my children devour the fruit I bring home before I even have a chance to wash it...<gasp>....sometimes the video monitor dies in the middle of the night and I awake at 6:30 unsure whether my baby fussed for me during the night...<gasp>...sometimes my children go days without a bath...<gasp>...that's right! I'm human, just like the Joneses, but I can guarantee you that no matter what the decisions are that you make for your family, whether they be similar or very different from my own, that we can, as mothers, agree on one thing:

We're doing the best we can! Our babies are fed, our babies are healthy, our babies are prospering, our babies are loved, our babies are happy!

Great work mommas!

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