Mompetitors. I’m not sure where I heard this term, but it makes me laugh. The sad part is, that it makes me laugh because there is truth in this made up word. Moms are getting so caught up in what the ‘right’ way is to raise a child that they alienate other moms who don’t share their views.
A few days ago I was at a park with my girls. They were crawling around my feet while I sat there feeding them a banana. Another mom walked over and the first thing she said to me was:
“I thought they were wearing cloth! You must be a crunchy momma like me.”
For the next ten minutes she proceeded to regal me with tales of how her son’s pediatrican had wanted him drinking out of a cup at 15 months and how her breast milk had more calories than cows’ milk so she didn’t understand what his issue was. And about prefolds, and Blueberry diapers and a few other diaper terms (which I wasn’t altogether familiar with). Meanwhile her 3 year old son is off wrecking havoc on the playground by trying to take a living dog from another little girl. And I can’t get in a word edgewise. Finally, I’m able to say that I only cloth diaper because I’m cheap and prefer to save the two grand a year we would have spent on diapering twins. She looks at me aghast and more or less looses interest in me.
And I sighed a sigh of relief
Suddenly mothering has all these labels. Crunchy and Silky. Attachment parenting and Baby-wise parent. Co-sleepers and crib sleepers. Spankers and positive reinforcement only. It’s a crazy world to be thrown into and it all starts when you birth a child (or two).
Now if someone were to give me a label it would probably be “Chewy” or the coin word for somewhere between crunchy and silky. I’d get that label because I do things on both sides of the parenting fence.
I didn’t do formal sleep training, but I did cry it out.
I use cloth diapers, but I don’t object to disposables.
I make my own baby food, but I buy local and non-organic.
I use corporal punishment for direct disobedience, but I prefer to use positive reinforcement most often.
I love and sort of ascribed to the idea of baby-led weaning as far as finger food goes, but I did spoon feed and I am the one initiating the end of the breastfeeding relationship.
I vaccinate my children, but I do so selectively.
But the truth of the matter is that none of that matters. None of it. But most of us moms don’t see that and get caught up in this mom-competitive world.
I actually had a long conversation about this with a good friend. Despite my merciless way of telling people like it is (when I know them well enough), I am pretty sensitive. My feelings get hurt easily and I tire of insinuations that because I’m not doing what you’re doing then I’m doing something wrong.
Now, understand me, I know there are solid absolute truths when parenting children. Most of these truths are recorded in scripture and come to life with the gospel. Parenting requires teaching the Law through the teaching of obedience and the application of discipline. But like the gospel, healthy doses of grace should be sprinkled throughout our lessons.
However, the choice to let my children chew on a rock because I know no ultimate harm will come from it is not wrong. Perhaps it’s different that the choice you would make, but that’s okay. I’ve chosen to allow my children to explore nature and that does not make me negligent. It was a choice. It was my choice to make.
And the truth is, if we all made the same choices (were all crunchy or silky or chewy or whatever) there would be no diversity.
And without diversity there would be no one to learn from.
So what I’m learning is to let stuff go. To ignore comments that seem judgmental (or maybe really are) and to keep my tongue from making similar comments. Because the truth is none of it matters in the grand scheme of things.
What matters is that we all have the same goal: to bring our children to the foot of the throne of Jesus Christ.