I have been a mom for 3 1/2 years, if you dont count the time Averi was in utero. It is by far the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I love it. I would not change it. It is what I have wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. Before we welcomed our sweet Averi in to our lives I pictured so much support and love from other moms. I have found that in some women. But in many others, including others who I know are believers I have found a lot of judgement.
I want to say 1st that this is going to be a rant, please just accept that and stop reading now if you want. It all started at the beginning, in the hospital really, when I made the choice to breast feed Averi. It wasn't an easy choice as no one in either Kevins family or mine had really breastfed so there was not always a lot of support. The 1st 2 weeks of her life were spent nursing, pumping and then feeding it to her EVERY 3 hours. It was a lot of work but something Kevin and I had committed to doing. I enjoyed breastfeeding her, and I enjoyed breastfeeding Reiter and Sofie. It makes me sad when the time comes to wean them. BUT this DOES NOT make me a superior mother. This DOES NOT mean I am more bonded to them then those who have chosen formula.
I also work in the Newborn Nursery, and have witnessed countless moms struggle with immense guilt as breastfeeding is not going well and they consider formula. I will always promote breastfeeding, I will always think it is the most ideal option for mom and baby, BUT that is in the most ideal of situation. NO mom should EVER feel she has failed or is being judged because she has chosen to bottle feed her baby.
I hate that we as women LOVE to make others feel rotten. Instead lets extend some grace, especially when it comes to things like breastfeeding. 1. if you bottle feed/fed your babies PLEASE dont act like my breastfeeding is gross or that I am emotionally scarring my 6 month old SON because he still nurses. 2. If you have chosen to breast feed your babies. PLEASE recognize that you are not superior. PLEASE dont make those who for WHATEVER reason feel like rotten moms because they have not made that same choice.
The 2nd trial we faced was when we felt God had led me to work full time for a year so Kevin could finish his degree. This was not an easy choice. This was not what I saw myself doing. And the amount of criticism I took for it was out of this world. I got to the point where I felt like I could not talk about work, or post on our blog /facebook because other moms felt the need to say things like "don't you miss your kids?" Well NO DUH I do, but I worked 3 12s a week which still gave me a lot of flexibility to be with them, and I did what I believed God had called me to do. It was a HUGE sacrifice for me but it also finally allowed kev to finish his degree and it was short lived.
BUT even if it hadn't been short lived and we chose for me to permanently work full time that would be our choice and snide remarks like "well I just cant imagine being away so much" that you know you are saying because you want to feel better about yourself and make someone else feel worse or comments like "well we choose to take the financial cut for me to stay home because it is worth it" because once again you want to feel better about yourself are unnecessary. 1. you do not know any one elses finances, you don't pay their bills or know if they could take the financial cut for that mom to stay home. 2. Some women sincerely love their jobs and can't imagine not working, they can have a ministry there and in their homes, imagine that! 3. Being a stay at home mom is a priveledge that many women don't get, so recognize that, focus on your own babies and stop focusing on what others are doing so "wrong".
The 10 months I spent working full time were hard. But I learned more about myself then I ever had. I fell in love with tiny NICU babies, and it made my passion and appreciation for my own children so much deeper then it ever would have been had I not had that experience. It shaped new goals and new desires in to my heart. For now I love being home with my kids and only working 1 day a week (and I refuse to feel guilt for that 1 day I am gone) but someday I would love to finish my degree and work full time again, I refuse to feel guilt for that too!
The most recent trial we have faced is whether to home school or send Averi to public/private school. We have decided to send her to public school. The schools in our area are highly ranked and we live in a safe community so we feel she will do well. There are 2 sides to this trial... side 1 the home schooling mom who thinks she is doing it all right and loves her kids more because she is making the sacrifice. It is a sacrifice, I recognize that! I applaud those who make this choice and do a good job with it, I truly do! But you are still not a better mom because of it. You are doing what works best for your family and I think that is great but don't make snide remarks about others who choose different venues, just because a child attends public school 8 hours a day does not mean they are not learning about God and that their parents aren't consistantly teaching them Gods word and pointing their young hearts towards our heavenly Father! Side 2... the public school mom who thinks home schooled kids are anti social nerds. Also WRONG, I have friends who home school with excellence. Who work hard to make sure their kids are not only getting solid, God centered educations, but are also getting different outlets that allow them to experience different social situations... some that kids who are in school 8 hours a day do not get!
So what is my point! HAVE SOME GRACE ALREADY! Recognize that you, You aren't perfect. Whether you stay at home, breast feed, and home school. Or whether you work full time, give your baby a bottle and your child attends public school...or you do a combination! You are a mom trying to do your best just like the mom next to you. So the next time you want to make your little comment to pat yourself on the back instead think what you can say to encourage that mom, thats what God wants from us, to lift one another up, to encourage each other in our faith!Not to constantly cut one another down! I pray that is what we, as women and as mothers will start to do!