Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Have you ever heard that phrase, "Jack of all trades, master of none?" That's me, and that's me in relation to parenting. I'm good at a lot of things, but not great {and I'm really bad at a lot of things, too}. I'm no master at parenting -- and newsflash: no one is. 

In the last month or so, I've had three different encounters with complete strangers telling me how poor of a parent they think I am; what they think I should do better; and insinuating that my parenting skills aren't up to their "master parent" level. I've gotten on Facebook and started looking at a news article posted by a local TV station about seasonal allergies, only to find someone leaving an uneducated, vicious comment about "vile" bottle feeding and how if people wouldn't "give up breastfeeding," their children wouldn't suffer from seasonal allergies. I've heard the rants from my girlfriends and myself alike about the mom at a particular beauty store who said her children would "never act like that" when her boys were playing on the floor in the corner while she was checking out, or the dad at Dairy Queen who told me I needed to "beat my children's {expletives}" for laughing and being silly over an ice cream sundae. 

And to be quite honest, I'm downright sick of it. 

And all of this got me thinking. Why do we, as women -- and sometimes men! -- shame other moms, put them down, and make them feel inferior about their parenting? Why do we make a fellow mom feel bad if her choices aren't the same choices we would make, whether it be breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding; co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping; making homemade baby food vs. buying it from the store; eating organic vs. not; a sleep schedule vs. not; and the list goes on an on forever. Just because you don't agree with them doesn't make them wrong. Aren't we all supposed to be in this together? Whether you work full-time, part-time, from home, are a homemaker or whatever combination you participate in -- you're a mom. And it's the hardest job in the world. And we need to be supporting each other. No one is a master parent -- no one. 

I hear women constantly talking about empowering others and how, we, as women, should break the glass ceiling and be all, "I am woman, hear me roar." But, we do absolutely nothing for our case as women striving to be equal and powerful when we put our fellow women down, making them feel awful and like a bad mother, and acting like children ourselves. 

I'm just going to say it. Apparently some moms out there in this world have just "mastered" the art of mothering and feel the need to let everyone know when others don't live up to their expectations. But why? When did we start thinking it's our right to tell others -- especially complete strangers -- what we think they should do, how they should parent, and what we think they're doing wrong? When did this become a "thing?" 

One of my girlfriends said this, and it really hit home with me: "These situations are exactly the ones that make it so much easier to not get out and do things around other children, just out of fear that one of our children won't be a perfect angel, heaven forbid, and that we'll get crap from it from a fellow mom." 

I have no other point to this post than to say this: we're all moms, and none of us are perfect at it. We sometimes yell, we'll sometimes cry because of how crazy are kids are being, we sometimes pour a glass of wine at 4 p.m. because darn it, we need it that day. On the opposite vein, we'll beam with pride when we see the owners of our kid's school at HomeGoods and they tell us how awesome our kid is at school and how helpful they are to others. We'll clap for joy when they finally recognize their first sight word. But yet still, we'll parent alone when our spouse is traveling. We'll deal with our kids pushing a stranger's kid on the playground. We'll be up at all hours rocking our sick kid, or comforting one who had a nightmare, or feeding one at 2 a.m. when the world is asleep. We truly don't know what another mom is going through, what's happening in her life or in her circle. 

So, just do this for me, will you? The next time you see that mom in the grocery store and her child is throwing a tantrum on the ground, don't look at her with a side-eye and silently think, "My kid would never do that." {Because newsflash: they will. Parenting makes you eat your words more than anything in the world.} But instead, flash her a smile and maybe even say to her, "I've so been there. You're doing a great job." You never know what she may be dealing with that day and your kind words will make her feel like she's doing okay -- not make her cry in her car after struggling to load up her screaming kids and her groceries. 

Let's support each other because, at the end of the day, we're all just a parenting jack of all trades and the master of none. 

*Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie

9 comments:

  1. you are an excellent mom!! You are way better at this mom thing than I am. Those babies are taken care of, fed, clothed, and loved and that is what matters most! I'm so thankful to have you on this mom journey with me. All those days that I can call/text you when I'm about to lose it, or the times we share funny things our kids say! Having you help me through this world of mom-ing makes it so so much easier!

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  2. Amen amen amen. We are all just doing the best we can. There are days when we feel like super mom and days when we feel totally defeated and want to go to bed and start over the next day. If there is one thing I've learned since becoming a mom is there is NO JUDGEMENT in parenting!

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  3. Girl I love this. This is how every single one of us needs to approach motherhood. We need to support each other and not tear down. You hit the nail on the head that motherhood makes you eat your words, it happens to me all of the time!

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  4. I had a psych professor (who was a child psychologist and taught Abnormal Child Psychology, which was a fascinating class) who had the best story about parenting. He and his wife had their first child and were those smug parents. Their daughter was "perfect", slept through the night at one month, never fussy, pleasant, well-behaved. They would see other parents struggling and think that it was their superior parenting that resulted in their kid being an angel.

    Then they had another daughter. And she was the complete opposite (and was an adult at this point, and still gave them concern, was in the middle of a divorce, etc.). He said it was the biggest lesson to him, because, after all, he was a "professional" and still couldn't control his child (it would apparently take two hours to get her ready for school or to go to bed). That story has always stuck with me!

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  5. Amen!! What a well said post!! I seriously can't believe people actually say things to moms.. really, there are a lot of things I would do different with our kids (I'm sure I'll eat those words) than others who are close to me but that doesn't mean it's bad and that definitely doesn't mean I have the right to say anything to them! They are the parent and they're doing the best they can for their family.

    You are doing such a great job, especially with how much Brandon travels - keep it up and don't let these losers get you down:) Also, I was breastfed for a while and I'm currently sitting here with allergies so their claims are false ;)

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  6. Well said! Thank you for sharing this. I can't believe you had multiple comments made by strangers recently. So sorry! Those people either one, don't have kids, or two are out of that stage with their kiddos.

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  7. AMEN!!!! What I've learned from being a mom is that it is HARD. And you do what you need to do to get through sometimes. What works for me, might work for you and it might not. And you know what? Whether you do the same or not, if it works for you ALL THE PRAISE HANDS!!!
    I've also learned that everyone is the perfect mother until they have kids. Ive seen comments from non-moms about things and I'm like "yeah, it's SO easy until it's you".
    People and their opinions are like B-holes...everyone has one. Hopefully people will learn to support instead of judge since it's SUPER easy to judge but apparently harder task to reach out and offer some support

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