We live in a whole new world now, ladies.
This world, ruled by social media and “click-to-connect” relationships has superseded all of the organic connections we once had. And in that, we’ve fallen increased a phenomenon I would like to call the “If-Culture”.
No, this isn’t new. It’s not something we haven’t experienced in decades past. But it’s taken on a new, and much more intense form in these days of internet access and lack of community.
We’ve all heard it.
“If you do this, then your baby will sleep.”
“If you do this, then your baby won’t cry.”
“If you don’t do this, your baby won’t develop properly.”
Seems like everyone has something to say about the way we’re parenting.
Honestly, this brutal culture of social media makes me nauseous sometimes. I watch young mothers post on Facebook, sharing about their sweet babies. They post something, potentially misinformed or even just against the grain of what everyone else is doing, and the battalion shows up with a battering ram ready to take them down. Opinions fly, unkind words are shot like flaming arrows, and the poor mom is left weeping, all without any thought to her emotional well-being.
Okay, I understand that this isn’t always how it goes. But I’ve watched encounters just like that more times than I can count.
Like I said, this goes beyond just social media. There’s no one more vulnerable to unsolicited advice than a mother. As a mom with three boys, I’ve fallen prey to it many times, often just strolling through the grocery store with my brood. And anywhere we go, if we are doing something with our children that someone doesn’t agree with, it’s pretty likely we’re going to hear about it.
“If you don’t breastfeed, your baby won’t have the best start.”
“If you don’t let your baby cry, they will never learn to soothe themselves.”
“If you give your baby a pacifier, you are going to ruin their teeth for the rest of their life.”
“If you don’t give your baby tummy time, they will never learn to crawl.”
Here’s a thought…
Unless it’s a safety issue… What if we just let moms figure it out?
Are we really so arrogant to think that we have mothering all figured out for ourselves?
Can we all just agree that maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer?
We hear all the time that all babies are different, all children are different… can’t that mean that all moms are different too?
We are all uniquely, fearfully, and wonderfully made. And within that creation, within this body that I know God made specifically to mother the children that He has given me, I know that He has given me the creativity and will to raise my children to know and love Him, to keep them safe and healthy, and to teach them what it means to live in this world.
But the way that I do that, the methods I use, the tricks I implement… that’s up to me.
Let’s give moms a little bit of room to use their mothering wings. Let them use their own creativity for their own children, for goodness’ sakes.
I know how easy it is to give unwanted advice. I’ve done it and have stuck my foot in my mouth on many occasions. But in doing so, we are robbing mothers of the opportunity to grow as well as robbing them of their confidence. If they ask for help, then answer in a kind, encouraging, and understanding manner.
If not? Then consider keeping your words to yourself.
I know there are exceptions to rule, as I stated above with safety issues and things like that. But I think in general we can all agree that as mothers, we really just want those around us to have some confidence and belief in us. We want to feel loved and encouraged. We want to know that those in our circle of influence are in our corner and are fighting for us and not fighting with us.
We want to know that God did the good and right thing in giving us the children that we have.
So moms, if no one has told you that before, listen to me:
And maybe, if you’re someone who is reading this who feels challenged by what I’ve said, please consider your words going forward. You never know the impact you could have on one mom’s life by not saying anything at all.
Much love, moms. You’re doing the best good and hard work there is.