One thing I've learned as a mom is to check my judgments at the door. What might work for one mom doesn't necessarily go well for another and that's totally OK. And there are definitely plenty of parenting styles to choose from when rearing your kids. When the best interest of your kid is your main goal, there is no one best way of parenting them. But even still, moms tend to find ways to judge one another and even gang up on each other for doing things they might disapprove of or do differently.
You know the typical go-to realms of inter-mommy judgment: Breastfeeding is the only way to go because formula feeding is awful; Cloth diapers are just so much better for babies' bottoms and better for the environment too; "We only eat organic. Do you know the kinds of hormones in that chicken you're giving your toddler?" And working moms? Don't they know that they're missing out on so much? Even the more seasoned of moms can be subjected to judgments and to judging others themselves.
I could go on, but really, it's exhausting thinking about all of the ways that we as moms pit ourselves against each other. Because it really doesn't have to be an "us against them" scenario every time more than one stance is available when it comes to raising our kids. We're all in this together, aren't we? Or rather, we're all not in this together, so why the hell do we feel like we need everyone to agree with our choices.
Even (and sometimes especially) those people who don't even have kids of their own like to take it upon themselves to lecture working moms about how everything they're doing is pretty much wrong and about how much they'll regret it. Because you know, that's exactly what moms need to hear while they struggle with their own internal battle of whether or not they're doing the right thing.
The little ways in which people work-shame moms often come in conversation and in "advice" that seems to mean well but falls so flat.
1. "Aren't You Worried You'll Miss Out On Awesome Moments With Your Kids?"
Yes, of course there is always the fear of missing out on seeing my kid for the majority of the day, but there is also the promise of seeing them at the end of the day with an excited hug to envelope each other in. Plus, everyone is always missing out on something when they choose to do something else. That's just the way life is.
2. "Trust Me, You Won't Even Want To Go Back To Work. Mark My Words."
And I didn't want to, right away. That was true enough. But eventually, it felt like the right thing for me to do and I did it. And guess what? We're both totally fine and alive and my son even knows who I am. Shocker!
3. "Do You Even Get To See Your Kid During The Week Now?"
If the question is if I get to see my kid between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., then the answer is no, I usually do not. But on those days, I'm there when he wakes up and I'm there when he goes to bed and even before bed, and that's a give-and-take that I'm pretty content with.
4. "I Stayed Home Until My Kids Started School, At Least."
I'll say it again: What works for some may not work for others. If I can live with that, then surely some of these over-sharing moms can learn to deal with it too, right?
5. "Do You Ever Feel Bad?"
There are some days when I wish I could just spend all of my time holed up with my son, lost in Pixar movies, sippy cups, and Goldfish crackers. But then I realize that our routine has helped shape him into a well-rounded little toddler who isn't afraid to say goodbye to his mom or let her use the bathroom alone. There's nothing sad about that.
6. "Has She Ever Called The Babysitter Mommy?"
Recently, I did hear about my son calling his home daycare caregiver "Mommy." And calling her mother "Mommy." And I've witnessed him calling every brunette model on every poster in Target "Mommy." So does it offend me? Not at all. I'm pretty sure that even though I work away from home some days per week, my son still knows who I am.
7. "What If You Miss His First Steps?"
This sort of ignorant comment can be applied to pretty much any time I leave the house at all, right? If I were to head out to the store, couldn't he take his first steps then? Or if I slept in one Saturday, he could have very well taken them without me there to witness it. But please, make me feel hella guilt over having a job that pays for the floor he's walking on, thanks.
8. "I Felt Too Selfish Going Back To Work, So I Didn't."
I will admit that, at first, working away from home left a bad taste in my mouth. It was new and different with a baby at home; there was a real adjustment period. But I never felt selfish, and I still don't. And no amount of guilt from others will make me feel guilty for earning a living for my kid and my family.