April 07, 2015

Lesson 209: Today's Moms are Fine

I'm calling bluff on this whole "incessantly discussing moms on blogs" business.

Seriously, enough is enough.

Moms give their kids too much attention. Moms are ignoring their children. Moms force their kids to watch too much (not enough) television. Moms should throw kids awesome birthday parties. Moms are spoiling their kids with Pinterest ideas. Moms should work. Moms should never work. Moms are stressed because of Pinterest. Moms are bored. Moms are exhausted. Moms these days should remember what it was like in the 1900's, in the 70's, in the 90's, in the future.

Moms this and moms that.

I'll tell you, the amount of blog posts devoted to what today's moms should and shouldn't be doing is enough to fill an entire Babies' R' Us. Not just the reading section, I mean the whole warehouse-like store.

The Huffington Post is the worst.

I've been in the game for almost six and a half years (if you count pregnancy, which I do.)  I began playing before most of my classmates, which means my peer mama friends span a range of ages.  Some are five years younger than me, some are over ten years older than me. I have friends with one child, two children, three, four, five (No sixers that I can think of). I have a friend, whose oldest is in high school and whose youngest is in Samara's class. I have a friend who delivered her third baby, before her first baby's third birthday.

I have homeschooling friends, public schooling friends, private schooling friends, Montessori friends. I know vegans, paleos, glutten-frees, extreme couponers, and couldn't care lessers. I know moms who swaddle, sleep sack, co-sleep, sleep train, rock to sleep, feed to sleep, cry to sleep, car ride to sleep, baby swing to sleep. I know moms who give rice cereal at 4 months, at 6 months, and some who never give it. I know moms who love play group, preschool, story time, music class, and some who prefer to stay at home. I know moms engaged constantly in activity with their children, and moms who let their babies roam free like chickens, whose eggs some mamas insist on buying. I know vaccinators and non-vaccinators. I know constant gifters, 3-gifts (like Jesus received) gifters, and toy takers. I know brand-newers, top-of-the-liners, craigslisters, thrift storers, yard salers and Wal-mart frequenters. I know bloggers, twitterers, instagrammers, facebookers, and social media haters. I know Santa believers, and I even know some Santa ruiners.

If there is a parenting decision that can be made, I probably know someone making it.

So, with all this exposure to this group known as "Today's Moms," I'd like to make two quick observations related to the enormous amount of content commentating on their every move.

First, contrary to popular belief, this is a decisive group of people. Mark thought this was a bit of an arrogant statement, and I apologize if it is, but I can't think of a single mama friend, who is bummed by the parenting decisions she's made. Seriously, I have never heard a friend reflect upon a decision she's made and say, I should have chosen something else.

Similarly, I don't know a single person whose mind has been changed by a blog post. 

The natural birthers are psyched. The epiduralers rave as well. Even c-section survivors champion their deliveries, and come back for more.

Y'all, most NICU moms I know, though they would have never chosen that path for their child, enjoyed their time in the NICU.

If these moms seem content with their decisions (and their kids seem happy and healthy), why are we bombarding them with so much speculation on parenting techniques? Not only is it useless, it's boring. Think of something new to talk about!

Second, these ladies seem to enjoy their lives. I can't think of a single mama friend who does not enjoy the way she spends her time as a mom (except maybe the ones who stay up all night with a crying baby, but that can't always be helped).

Runners still run. Bakers bake. Couponers coupon. Socialites plan tons of play dates. Homebodies stay home. Gardeners garden. Organizers organize. Party planners plan parties. Readers read. Bloggers blog.

I've watched mamas beam with pride over a much-thought-out, meticulously detailed, super cute birthday party. I've heard mamas praise Monkey Joes for their all-inclusive party options. I've seen happy kids and pleased moms at both types of events.

Stop trying to tell mamas that they are (or should be) discontent with the way they spend their time!

Kevin DeYoung recently published a book called Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. He's too busy in life, and he writes the book, not from experience in overcoming busyness, but in hopes of learning how to overcome it.

A mama friend and I were discussing it, both of us about 40 pages in. She has a 20-month old and is expecting her second. She recently moved to a new town and is planning on buying (building) a new house this summer. Her husband's job requires a fair amount of hosting and socializing. She should in theory be the prime target of such a book.

And yet, she said, "I don't know. I don't really feel like my life is crazy or busy. I'm sure other people feel that way, but I don't. I like my days."

I totally agreed with her.

My days are just my days. There are chores, scheduled events, and monotony. There is playtime, mealtime, friend time, and rest time. There are normal weeks and special occasions. Life just is what it is. I make decisions on how to fill my hours, and I'm content with those choices. I don't seek the internet to figure out if I'm following rando-blogger's advice. I don't really care what rando says, whoever she is, no matter how many followers she has.

And what's interesting, is that it seems like my friends do the same.

So seriously, who's reading all this material?

I'm not saying that "Today's Moms" are perfect or that we need God's grace any less than any other generation. We are desperately in need of the Lord's continual guidance, strength, forgiveness, peace, comfort, love, protection, care. We need all of it. And we need a lot of it!

But I am saying, that at least within my circle of mama friends (which spans decades and stretches across the US), people seem to be content with how they are figuring it all out, not perfectly, but hopefully faithfully.

Leave 'em alone.

Lesson Learned: Y'all are doing a great job!

*Linked up at Living Well, Spending Less

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff! I stopped reading parenting books a little over a year ago. I had read so many and was so taken over by deciding where I fell on everything that I couldn't figure out who God had made me as a mama. I couldn't both spank and not spank at the same time, and I couldn't both make my kid sit at the table to finish his veggies and let him get up when he said he was full at the same time. 6+ years of gathering info turned into being overwhelmed and not having my own decisions instead of gathering wisdom in order to make my own decisions.


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