Hey, ma. You love your kid, right? You care about whether your child is sad, sick, hungry, happy, well-behaved, mannerly, respectful, treated right by others ... right? I know there are trying times, but your love and protection is always there. I think that's swell and I want you to know it.
I've read a few blog posts over the last few months that talk about mom "types" and they're bringing me down. It comes to my mind even more after all the TIME magazine cover hubbub about "attachment parenting." I've also heard a lot about "helicopter moms" and of course there's always the ever-present and anger-causing divide between "working moms" and "stay-at-home moms."
- This blog post talks about "judgmental moms" then goes on to judge other moms by asking at the end, "Which parent type do you not like?"
- This blog post labels all the different moms seen at the school - some are spoken highly of, some are questioned.
- This one goes so far to talk about how much she doesn't like moms who cut their children's food in fun shapes but then concludes that she doesn't like when other moms judge her.
Why are we so mean to each other? Why do we group people like this? Because it helps us relate in some way? To know our place? I can understand that there will be other people we don't get along with or whose company we don't necessarily enjoy, but are these moms endangering their children's lives in some way? Are they demeaning, neglectful or abusive? Is she killing her child's spirit? If that's the case, I feel it's a different thing because then she is hurting her child, not just offending others with her mom style. It seems to me the acts that the labels describe are not harmful to their children, just their mom esteem.
I am guilty of having a gut reaction to some of the parenting styles I see. I've actually written about it before: It's Just Sad to Me and It Takes a Village and All That. In these cases, I feel like the parents are putting their children in direct risk of harm and I struggle with my feelings about it. I know I've done plenty of things that would get a head shake or a clicked tongue by some moms.
I let my kids watch tv - even in the car. They play video games. It takes me days to put away their laundry. Sometimes, they eat fast food and don't get enough veggie servings in a day. I attempted breastfeeding for as long as I could but didn't make myself - or my child - miserable when my body said no more. I co-slept with them. I let them cry themselves to sleep. I've raised my voice to them. I've disciplined harshly. I've questioned a low grade on a test and reviewed it with them to teach them. I've over-praised and bragged on them. I've loved intensely, letting their moods and feelings heavily affect mine. I've wondered how the heck to be a mom.
All of those things came from caring about them and about whether I was being a good mom to them, as I'm sure many of the labeled moms are trying to do. My kids seem to love and respect me - and generally think I'm ok, so far. (In fact, Nia just told me I'm the "best" and she didn't ask for a treat after it.) Is there a mom type for that?