MOR Monday ~ Choices
Since becoming a mother I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. We Mom’s, we take things personally. If I am talking to another Mom and say something like “My daughter just loves Dora!” (that’s a TV show character for those without toddlers.), and this other Mom responds with something like “Oh, my kids don’t watch any TV.”. I feel deflated. I feel judged. I feel like a loser mom. Now, this “Other Mom” didn’t say “Wow! That’s horrible! I can’t believe you let your daughter watch TV! You’re rotting her brain!”, she simply stated a fact. And it’s a very appropriate thing to say since it explains why her child wouldn’t know who Dora is, right?
And it works both ways. My husband & I chose not to circumcise our son. This decision was based on our own research and discussion that this was the best thing for him. It was difficult for some friends & family to understand and at first I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized that it is a lot like the TV incident. The logic goes like this:
I did not circumcise my son -àI believe circumcision to be unnecessary and possibly even wrong -àYou did circumcise your son à I believe YOU ARE WRONG.
And this is why it’s hard to be friends with parents if your parenting choices are really different. The same thing goes for choices about vaccines (we do), spanking (we don’t), organic food (a little), and all of the other difficult choices parents have to make every single day. There is a part of me that believes we should live and let live. As long as you are making these choices based on your love for your kids and what you believe to be the best thing for your family then it’s none of my business.
Now I might still think that there is an ideal, or that the way I am choosing to do something is better than what another Mom has chosen. But I might be wrong. The reality though is that as much as I don’t want the choices I make for my family to be a judgment of anyone else, it kind of is. That “Other Mom” doesn’t let her kids watch TV because she believes it’s bad, or a waste of time, or harmful to them…so she disagrees with my choice. What I am working on, what I think we all need to work on, is separating our choices as parents from who we are as people. It is possible that I am making a bad choice. That does not define me as mother, or a woman.
My hope is that I can convey that to my mommy friends. That I would be a friend who is compassionate, encouraging, and willing to hash things out when big decisions need to be made, even if we don’t agree in the end. And it’s okay to disagree, because it needs to be okay for me to think your choice to spank is wrong and it needs to be okay for you to think my choice to let my kids watch TV is wrong. Because this is my new motto:
I am more than sum total of the choices I make. I am wonderfully & fearfully made, and am grateful that my children have a heavenly Father who loves them more dearly than I ever could.