Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Define BAD for me, because I'm having a hard time understanding you. BAD parent.

I am always amazed by the "mommy wars" out there. How easily the "bad parenting" gets thrown out there. On forums. On blogs. General conversations out there just surfing the internet.

I know, I know, I'm not preaching anything new around her. Judgements. Criticism. Varying viewpoints and negative undertones. Just saying the word "mommy wars," gets people all sorts of fired up. It's something you hear about all the time. Will it go away? No. Am I covering anything new here? Probably not.

But, I just cannot help but notice. People are quick to judge. Women are quick to judge. I raise my hand. I've been there. I'm guilty of it. Sometimes we are guilty and don't even know it. The flaw of human nature. But I'm not talking about just judging the mom who is smoking around her children. Or the mom who leaves her 2 year old at home alone to go party. Or the mom who turns her head, knowing her child is being assaulted in some sort of way. Better yet, the mom who hurts her own children herself.

To me, bad parenting is well... bad parenting. There is no grey area. You either love, protect, and try your very best. Or you don't. Period. Whether one makes some decisions that others may not agree upon or not, doesn't necessarily constitute them as bad. It's the intent that is behind the action that counts. And counts the most. Being a mom who doesn't know all the right answers at all the right times isn't bad. It means we have room for growth and learn in this wonderful experience of motherhood. At the end of the day, we are all just humans. 

You see, to me....

The mom who gave her child a fry, ice cream, or any other treat? Is a mom who understands that you can't keep children away from everything out there, and even if she fed her child fruits and vegetables every other meal of the week, you wouldn't know it because one does not have the ability to see into other people's lives. So how do you exactly know how a parent feeds their child? And further, what right do we have to assume what is best for another person?

The mom who comes up with all these pintastic great ideas for crafts and birthday parties and then takes pictures of them?  Is a mom who is engaging with her children. Period. She may enjoy this. I bet the kids enjoy it too. And making memories in the process. One does not know the time or money that it took to create that party or craft, and one cannot assume what is or isn't not important on the list of things moms do for their children. So if she wants to great a v-day craft from pinterest versus buying it from the store? Then bravo! That's worth celebrating.

Speaking of that mom that takes ten million pictures? She's a mom who loves to document. She may be artistic. She may have a passion for photography. She may even, gasp, love her children so much that she wants to remember them at each and every stage. You don't know how long it took for her to take those pictures. Whether or not she was actually participating or not. But guess what you do know... she was there. And that means more to that child than all those children who's mothers aren't there, don't engage, and have never participated in any kind of activity with them. Think about that one.

The mom who participates in crazy holiday traditions, any and every one known to man kind? She's not showing off. She's not trying to make you look bad. And she most definitely is not a bad mom. She loves to see the smile on her children's faces. She lives for moments like this. And guess what? She can because it's her life, her family, her children. She's not thinking about you, believe it or not.

The mom who chose not to breastfeed. She is a mom who has that right to make that choice. That it's her choice to make and no one elses. Although I'd love to know that every mom out there put their best effort in trying, I cannot tell you what each woman went through in the process. I would never think that a mom is bad for choosing not to, and the most important part about this is that their children will not know any different either.  That's the key.

To the mom who makes her children the center of the world. She is worth applauding and congratulating. The focus is put in the wrong place here. Lets not focus on the ones who's life revolves around their children... worry about the ones that could care less about theirs. Those children beg for their mother's attention, love, and affection. Do you think a child has ever complained about a mom loving them too much?

To the mom who lost her patience in public. She's a mom who's been where we all have at one point or another. Whether we remember it or not. You never know what someone has going on in their lives. You never know how that child is. The struggles within that family. Or just the off day that one may be having.. You may just not know.

The mom who had her child buckled in wrong in the car seat. Is a mom who most likely just didn't know. So, send a nice message. Private message. Don't try to humiliate her or make her feel bad for not knowing. Be kind and informative. Passive aggressive doesn't get the child in the seat safely. Tweeting to your friends how annoyed you are with all the wrong car seat pictures is not actually getting those children in the car seat safely, now is it.

Guys, we are sitting here worrying about the children that need not be worried about. Worried about the parents that do not need your worrying. Worried about the choices that people are making that are not harming anyone, especially you or your family. Why? What is one accomplishing by worrying about such people. Better yet, what is one accomplishing by talking about those specific parenting styles. Why not worry about the children who are physically, emotionally, and verbally abused. Worry about the child who is starving. Worry about the child that doesn't have a warm roof over their head. Worry about the children who were left by the people that brought them into this world and have no one to tell them that they are special in this world. And if you are truly worried, and if you are concerned for the well being of a child, then ask yourself what exactly are you doing about it.

Does anyone truly think that moms who take pictures of their kids, do cute little crafts with them, give them ice cream for breakfast, place them in front of the TV from time to time, and coddle them are actually "bad?" Do we? Do we think those children should be taken away or deserve a new mother? Do we?

I bet the answer is no.

I ask you this. What do we say to a loved one, family or friend, who happens to admit to doing the opposite of what you may be passionate about---such as breastfeeding, or not crying it out? Often times we say, "Yes, but I know you are a great mom." And we believe it. Because we see the love that the person has for their children. Now, I ask you this.... why not also see the good in a complete stranger as well. Instead of automatically seeing the bad {or what is "bad" in our eyes}. Why not just give them the benefit of the doubt. How do we trust that our family and friends are doing the right thing, but someone we barely even know is not?

It sounds silly when you think about it.    

You know, I just think all of this sounds silly and it is amazing that it is even one of the hottest topics out there. Parenting. To me, before we go throwing out absurd statements on bad parenting, before we go spreading all this hatred on the internet about people we don't even know, before we assume what their life looks like 100% of the time, we need to think really hard about what those words actually mean.

Bad parenting to me is plain and simple: Harming children, not loving those children, and endangering children {on purpose}. Bad parenting.

Good parenting? Showing them love, spending time with them, teaching them, and allowing them to grow.

The rest? Is just a difference in parenting. And like you and I are genetically different and will never be the same, the same could be said about parenting. No one person is better than the other, no one style of parenting is better than the other. And believe it or not, there is no such thing as the perfect way. When you and I figure that little secret out?

We may start to become better human beings.


  1. I love this. So much. I'm not a parent yet but many friends are. And they lash out moms who dare do anything differently than they do/did. My favorite is the mom who complains about moms taking too many p pictures (is there such a thing?!). Yet, as you said, she's PRESENT. This mom complains that by taking photos, she's missing moments. Now, this is all coming from the mom who tweets every 15 minutes and responds to every other tweet, FB status, IG photo, and blog. So tell me, Miss Judgey McJudgerson, how present are YOU if you're always on social media??? Hi pot, meet kettle. I think most mom war culprits don't realize how hateful and hypocritical they are.

  2. Thanks for this, Becky. I'm not a mom yet, but I know many who are, and the whole "mommy war" thing has gotten out of control. I love that we can take the principles you wrote about today and apply them to our non-mommy lives, too. We need to quit judging and let the little things go. You're exactly right - we DON'T KNOW others' situations!

  3. so so true great post friend!!!!

  4. Well put. I think the thing I'm judge on the most is making my son the center of my universe. I don't do moms night out. I've never spent a night away from him. I'm not rushing to put him in preschool. I think he has a healthy attachment. But like you said will he complain about being loved too much? Especially with his time as an only child super limited.

  5. I love this!! My mentality is "whatever works for your family... works!" People need to mind their business and handle their own lives! :)

  6. PERFECT!!! I needed to here this because I feel so criticized as a mom...thanks for a great attitude and perspective

  7. Love this post. I've been made fun of for the thousand plus photos I take each month of my daughter. I just can't think of a better subject!

  8. This is such a great post, I couldn't agree more with this. Being a mom is hard, hard work, and it's made even harder by all the other moms who judge.


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