***I originally wrote this post on Dec 18, 2011. I don’t even remember it, but after taking a HUGE blogging break I just recently have felt like I needed to come back and do it again. Browsing through my past posts it is interesting to see how much of my life and perspectives have changed. I don’t know why I hesitated to push the publish button on this post almost 4 years ago, but I’m going to go ahead and do it now. It isn’t perfect, and I didn’t go through and edit it, but I think it still might speak to someone.***
You know what I’ve noticed?
Other moms are crazy.
And extremely judgmental.
And generally wrong about most things.
But so am I.
It is a vicious circle too. For instance, when you first announce that you are expecting, you get bombarded. It is a lot like trying to fit a four-year degree in “Mommy-hood Preparedness” into nine months. Especially for those of us that weren’t planning to start a family so soon, we didn’t get the opportunity to study ahead of time. At first you are all ears, taking down notes, and trying your hardest to do everything that every ‘teacher’ tells you. But soon you start to wonder.
Are they really who I should get advice from? I mean, this ‘All-Knowing Parenting-without-Fail Book’ says the exact opposite of what they are telling me. Not to mention, I would never be okay with my child acting like that. Obviously more discipline and consistency on our part as soon-to-be parents would eliminate this behavior. They seem to have taken the easy way out. I would never do that.
I would never do that. Famous last words if I have ever heard them.
Then your baby is born and a weird thing happens.
You never sleep again.
It is amazing how a sleep deprived state can cause you to come up with perfectly logical excuses for why it is okay that you don’t do all of the things that you set out to do as a fully rested/functioning adult who could still read and comprehend books above the pre-school reading level. Maybe those moms weren’t so crazy after all.
But then, it happens again. You get past a growth spurt and suddenly your baby is the happiest, calmest, most amazing baby there ever was. Too bad those new moms won’t listen to you, you have all the answers. Plus, they absolutely should not be listening to the moms of the babies older than yours, those kids are TERRORS. My child will never act like that.
But than they do, but now instead of the cause being bad parenting you attribute it to a phase that your little one is going through. Totally out of your control, right? But at the same time you might start to sympathize with the other mothers that tried to warn you and you try to warn the newer moms of what is coming. However, like you they just don’t get it.
Do you see the pattern too?
In simple terms, to me, the cycle looks like this.
1. Incident — Something that another mother or her child does that bothers you.
2. Denial — This includes thoughts like: “I would never do that as a mother!” or “My child will never be allowed to behave like that.”
3. Bliss – “See, I know what I am doing, that other mother had it all wrong! Maybe she should take a lesson or two from me! AKA Wonder-Mom!”
4. Tragedy – The tables turn and out of desperation you do the thing that you swore you would never do or your child does the thing that they were never supposed to be allowed to do.
5. Understanding — The Ah-Ha! moment. You realize that the other mom may have been onto something. Or at the very least you begin to understand where they were coming from when the incident occurred. Part of this phase is being judged by other moms, to whom the normal response is: “Oh, you just wait! This will happen to you/your child eventually.” Or sometimes, just a knowing smile. (Of course they are now going through the denial phase.)
But then you see another mother (or maybe the same one) doing something else you don’t approve of/ think is correct and the cycle repeats itself again. And Again. And Again.
Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but I keep seeing it over and over again with mothers that I know in real life, on the internet, and all too often – to me. It is almost like we can’t help it. Like a part of trying so hard to be the best mothers in the world for our kids is judging others in how they are doing.
I don’t know if there is any way to completely break the cycle, but for me just knowing that I have a tendency to get sucked into it is enough for me to take a step back and give all the mothers around me a chance. To just listen to what they have to say and if nothing else file it away in my mind. As much as I don’t want to have to use it someday, there will more than likely come a time when I am thankful that I listened instead of judged.