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Mom guilt is this ugly dragon that jumps out from behind every bush and tree and car when you least expect it. Its not even a surprise anymore. You can’t walk five feet in today’s society without someone judging you:
Not feeding organic versus only feeding organic.
Not going to the playground enough versus spending too much time at the playground.
Cloth diapers versus disposable diapers.
Homemade baby food versus store bought baby food.
Breast milk versus formula.
You can’t please everyone. And truthfully you shouldn’t. If you’re happy with how you are raising your children that should generally be enough. (Exceptions being hurting children of course).
So why does the guilt keep coming?
Society has created these illusions of what motherhood and parenting should look like. The ironic part is there is no ‘one illusion’ so the ideal parent depends entirely on who you ask.
Lets talk about the recent (toxic) definitions of what type of mother you are:
- Crunchy: mama’s who prefer natural and home births, will only breastfeed their child, baby-wear and co-sleep.
- Silky: mama’s who prefer medicated hospital birth, disposable diapers and use things such as cribs and strollers.
- Scrunchy: mama’s who make choices best for their family and tend to fall in both categories.
Um ew. These are labels intent on segregating people into groups of similar ideas so people who “disagree” don’t have to be offended by the other persons’ presence.
No, that’s not dramatic. That’s the truth. Perhaps its one thing if you need some specific advice and only someone well versed in that can answer it. But where does the line get drawn? When does it stop being an answer from an expert (sort-of-speak), and more just an answer you can be happy with because it fits your preconceived notions? What makes your idea King (or Queen) of all? What makes your idea of parenting gospel but mine a false god? Nothing but judgement.
These labels are toxic to mothers everywhere, toxic to their families, and most importantly to their children.
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The Truth of Segregation
When you isolate yourself from people who think differently than you, you’re not protecting yourself from “wrong” ideas. Your protecting your beliefs from other ideas. Closing your mind to anything else sets you up for failure. And having a conversation with someone with a different idea doesn’t mean they are judging you or that it should become a boxing match, it simply means you disagree and move on.
America has worked so hard to end racial segregation, and there is good reason for it. Segregation keeps ideas contained, good and bad ones. It keeps ideas from being shared, destroys learning and growing opportunities and impairs people from evolving (to say the least of course). Imagine how different this world could be if two people could bring their good (and very different) ideas together to form a GREAT idea.
Toxic mommy labels bring back a form of segregation that destroys that capability. It takes a village to raise a children right? If your village is full of people who think, talk and act like you, then you’ve successfully raised a clone, who will probably go on to raise more clones because that’s all they know. A village full of variety (good and bad) helps someone become more rounded, open minded, and an actual asset to the community who will help grow and evolve the human race.
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Toxic Mommy Labels and Mommy Guilt
So here’s the truth, the guilt monster should only rear its ugly head during one of two situations :
- You’re doing something wrong and you know it (IE: hurting a child etc.)
- You’re judging someone else for their actions or ideas
I know, I know -you’re about to go mama hulk on me, I get it. But if you’re being defensive then this article was written for you. I promise nothing is coming from a place of judgement or hate. If you want to be a crunchy mom – go you! And if you want to be a silky mom – rock on sister! There is no right or wrong answer, that’s the whole point! Only what works for you, your family, and your lifestyle. If you’re feeling guilt and neither of the above apply to you – then stop because you don’t deserve it!
Society has put so much pressure on people to be certain ways, to do certain things. Recently in a mom group a woman reached out for advice because her two year old requested a banana instead of a cake for their birthday party. This lady was in a panic because her friends would judge her daughter and she was so embarrassed that her child wasn’t “normal”.
Hold the phone. Why is eating cake “normal” but not liking cake “not normal”? Why is something as trivial as the choice dessert request a topic of prosecution or embarrassment? Who came up with this disgusting idea?
Reaffirming this awful concept, majority of the responses were along the line of forcing the child to choose a banana based dessert such banana cream pie or banana flavored cake. Why can’t society just appreciate a child preferring fruit over sugar? Or the fact that a two year old has a strong opinion with a positive consequence? Why must we push a two year old to conform to societies expectations ABOUT BIRTHDAY DESSERT?!
To some this may feel like an extreme example, but anyone in a mom group can attest to similar discussions on a daily occurance.
- Daughter doesn’t like dresses now they can’t get Easter pictures done.
- Son likes to play with dolls, now I have to pull him out of Kindergarten.
- Had an emergency C-section, now I’ll never be a mom.
- My child was diagnosed with ASD, I’m sad they’ll never play sports.
The list goes on and on. All around us society is pushing us to fit into this tiny box that makes zero sense so they can label us deeper and deeper driving a wedge in our villages.
How to Stop the Endless Cycle of [UNNECESSARY] Mom Guilt
Rip off those labels. Burn the box! Be proud of the mother you are. Offer your advice when requested, and agree to disagree when necessary. You are amazing the way you are WITHOUT THE LABELS. No one needs to know “what type of mom” you are except you. Don’t ever let someone guilt you for doing your thing. You are raising beautiful children your way.
But just as much as not letting the mom guilt hit you, be equally open minded. If someone has a differing response, listen to it. Perhaps you’ll learn something new, or at the very least learn why you don’t agree and both are priceless opportunities you have been awarded that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Not only do you deserve that, but your children do as well.